Drugs A - Z

Onion (Allium cepa)

treats Alopecia areata, Scar prevention, Allergies, Diabetes, and Hypertension

Generic Name: Allium

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Allium cepa, Allium cepa L., allium vegetables, botanicals, Liliaceae (family), onion extract, onion juice, pickling onions, white onion.

Background

Onion (Allium cepa L.) is a widely used around the world as a food product and has also been used for medicinal applications.

Most of the available research has focused on scar prevention, but the results are mixed in this area. Onion has been used in the treatment of diabetes and alopecia areata (hair loss).

As onion is a commonly consumed food, it is considered likely safe in smaller amounts, although there are reports of skin rash and gastrointestinal problems in sensitive individuals.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Allergies : Early study suggests that application of an alcoholic onion extract on the skin may reduce allergic responses, such as wheals ("hives") and flares. More research is needed in this area.
Grade: C

Alopecia areata (hair loss): Study using topical onion juice increased hair regrowth in alopecia areata (hair loss) patients, especially women. More research is needed in this area to confirm these results.
Grade: C

Diabetes : One clinical trial found that fresh onion significantly decreased serum glucose (blood sugar) levels in diabetics. More research is needed in this area to confirm these results.
Grade: C

Hypertension (high blood pressure): Onion-olive oil capsules may help lower blood pressure, although additional research is needed to make a firm recommendation.
Grade: C

Scar prevention : Several trials have been conducted using combination products that include an onion extract. These studies have investigated onion's potential role in scar healing in adults and children, specifically due to injuries from laser tattoo removal or surgery. The overall results are mixed, and more research is needed to make a strong recommendation.
Grade: C

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiplatelet (blood thinning), arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cancer, cardiovascular (heart) disease, cataract, chilblains (inflammation of the hands and feet caused by exposure to cold and moisture), coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), insecticidal, lung cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, prebiotic, splinters, stomach cancer, thrombosis (blood clot).

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

There is no proven effective medicinal dose of onion in adults. However, Mederma® (Merz Pharmaceuticals, Greensboro, NC, USA) has been applied to the skin three times daily for eight weeks. A topical onion gel extract applied three times a day for one month has also been used.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective medicinal dose of onion in children.

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