Today, I received a lengthy forwarded email touting the amazing medicinal properties of the presence of onions. No, not an examination of the vitamin and mineral profile of the tear-jerking vegetable, but a fantastical telling of the curative function of onion slices placed near a sick person. (It would have been entirely appropriate for the email to have commenced with “Once upon a time…”) The purpose of the email, as far as I could gather, was to aid the reader in combatting this winter’s outbreak of the H1N1 virus.

This email was sent with good intentions; I love the sender dearly and am certain that the feeling is mutual. However, this is medical advice befitting the Dark Ages. While it may seem harmless on its own (besides resulting in a few stinky sick rooms), what happens if someone reads the email and decides to do the onion cure in lieu of vaccination or proper medical care? What happens if they die as a result?

I have become extremely irritable towards speculative conjecture attempting to solve real problems. Imaginative solutions are entirely appropriate for existential matters, but are dangerous and subversive when posing as evidenced truths. This is exactly the sort of lunacy for which children of fundamentalists die when their parents refuse to seek medical care because of unsubstantiated fantasy. Unbending reliance upon faith and unexamined beliefs leads to detriment and suffering. Without critical thinking and healthy skepticism, blind acceptance of all information benefits no one.

Here is the full text of the email:

A friend of mine told me a story about how when he was a kid he was in the hospital & near dying. His Italian/African grandmother came to the hospital & told a family member to go buy her a large onion & a new pair of white cotton socks. She sliced the onion open then put a slice on the bottom of each of his feet & put the white cotton socks on him. In the morning when he awoke they removed the socks. The slices of onion were black & his fever was gone. The following story that someone sent to me might have some truth in it & we are going to try it this winter.

In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu. Many of the farmers and their family had contracted it and many died.

The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an UNPEELED onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn’t believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

Now, I heard this story from my hairdresser in AZ. She said that several years ago many of her employees were coming down with the flu and so were many of her customers. The next year she placed several bowls with onions around in her shop. To her surprise, none of her staff got sick. It must work… (And no, she is not in the onion business.)

The moral of the story is, buy some onions and place them in bowls around your home. If you work at a desk, place one or two in your office or under your desk or even on top somewhere. Try it and see what happens. We did it last year and we never got the flu.

If this helps you and your loved ones from getting sick, all the better. If you do get the flu, it just might be a mild case. Whatever, what have you to lose? Just a few bucks on onions!

Now there is a P. S. to this for I sent it to a friend in Oregon who regularly contributes material to me on health issues. She replied with this most interesting experience about onions: I don’t know about the farmer’s story… but, I do know that I contacted pneumonia and needless to say I was very ill. I came across an article that said to cut both ends off an onion put one end on a fork and then place the forked end into an empty jar, placing the jar next to the sick patient at night. It said the onion would be black in the morning from the germs. Sure enough it happened just like that… the onion was a mess and I began to feel better. Another thing I read in the article was that onions and garlic placed around the room saved many from the black plague years ago. They have powerful antibacterial, antiseptic properties

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