One of the most versatile herbs I know of is onion. Most of the time we think of onion as a food, not an herb. (My eldest teenager thinks of onion as a poison, but that’s a matter of personal aversion.) It is an herb and a vegetable- one of the oldest vegetables known. I love the smell of onions frying. I think that if you want to make someone think that you are a kitchen goddess and that your home is a paradise, just fry some onion once in a while. I think the reason so many southerners in the old days were able to eat high fat meals and still live a long life was due, in part, to eating lots of onions- onions can prevent high cholesterol and lowers blood sugar. They may even help prevent cancer. When I was a kid, we’d often eat raw slices of onion as a side dish, especially with beans. Chopped onions were cooked into just about every meat dish and went into jars of pickled foods.
Besides being good for your blood- onions clear congestion. So that makes it a good remedy for colds and other sinus conditions. For a simple cold/flu remedy, chop up some onions and add it to salsa and eat it with chips or add extra onions to a soup, especially chicken soup but extra onion-ey tomato soup is good too.
Onion is also good for your nails, hair, and eyes. If you have a bruise or an insect bite, cut off a slice of fresh onion and tape it onto the affected area- I’m not kidding! You can even keep your body free of parasites, fungi and harmful bacteria by eating lots of onions in your diet.
It’s no wonder that the ancient Egyptians worshipped the onion. Not only for it’s medicinal properties, though, but because the onion’s circular shape and concentric rings symbolize eternal life. Onions, bread, and beer were the mainstays of the ancient Egyptian diet. Interestingly, onion got it’s name from the Latin “unio”, which means “large pearl, or oneness and unity”.
I’ve heard that in the Middle Ages, people sometimes paid their rent with onions. Onions used to braided into strands and hung in doorways and windows to ward off evil much like garlic was (and is today). There’s an old wart cure that tells you to rub the wart with a piece of onion and throw it over your right shoulder and walk away, but I think you might have better luck with duct tape. They say if you burn onion peelings instead of throwing them out, you’ll gain prosperity.