The onion poultice is a very old fashioned remedy that has so many modern applications. It’s a basic and frequently used tool in our home remedy arsenal for all sorts of complaints. The word poultice is very old fashioned, and it’s fitting…this is a timeless remedy. I have a special place in my heart (and my pantry) for these sorts of old fashioned and time tested remedies.
There are three key factors that make me reach for a warmed onion half as a soothing remedy:
- pain (usually from inflammation)
- chest congestion
- bladder infection
Sure, it’s a little…fragrant. But it’s warm, soothing, and it really works! Want to know more about the science behind it? I wrote a short referenced post here outlining onion nutrition and why its been used since ancient times as a remedy.
And it couldn’t be easier to make. Simply slice an onion into halves or thick slices. Warm in a skillet until a comfortable skin temperature. They heat quickly so be careful not to get them too hot! I like to test for young children on my inner wrist area to make sure it’s not too warm.
Arrange the slices, warm side down, onto a soft cotton cloth or bandana. This is an old cloth diaper that’s SO soft and perfect for this application. Then apply your warm compress to the area of inflammation or pain. Gather up the extra fabric, and apply the warm onion side down to the area needing treatment. I sometimes top with a hot water bottle to extend the heating time.
Classic onion compress areas are the chest, but we’ve also done just under the ears, on the throat area, over the bladder, or even on the back.
Last summer, my girl got a cold that settled into the connective tissue between her ribs. It hurt her every time she moved or took in a breath. We turned to warm onion poultices, and it was her saving grace. She felt relief very quickly and was able to sleep and recover in days instead of weeks.
Have you ever used onions as home remedies? What’s your favorite onion remedy? (Here are some more of mine!)