The health benefits of onions, BBC Good Food

The health benefits of onions

Healing properties abound — nutritionist Jo Lewin divulges the nutritional benefits, medicinal properties and teary secrets of the humble onion.

An introduction to onions.

The humble onion is found in every kitchen, but its curative powers make it an important medicinal plant too. Like garlic, it is a member of the lily family. There can be no doubting the power of the juices contained in onions; anyone who has ever sliced one and shed a tear is only too aware that they hold something special. Quite apart from its medicinal properties the onion is simply delicious. It forms the basis of so many dishes — whether raw, sautéed, baked, steamed or boiled, that it would be difficult to imagine the cuisine of any country without it.

Ancient healing.

Onions were historically used as a preventative medicine during epidemics of cholera and the plague. They were apparently eaten by Roman emperor Nero as a cure for colds, and its reputation has made onions a popular component in the diets of many countries.

. The onion’s revenge: The smell of onions can be a problem, both on the hands and on the breath. After chopping onions, try rinsing the hands with cold water, rubbing them with salt, rinsing again and then washing with soap and warm water. To remove the smell from breath, eat a few sprigs of parsley or an apple to help conceal the odour.

Nutritional highlights

More than just a tasty culinary plant, the onion contains natural sugar, vitamins A, B6, C and E, minerals such as sodium, potassium, iron and dietary fibre. In addition, onions are a good source of folic acid.

100g serving of onions contains

35 calories 8g carbohydrate 6.2g sugars 2.2g fibre

The power of raw.

The reason that the onion is so much more active in its raw state than when cooked, is that it contains a variety of organic sulphur compounds, contained in a volatile oil, that provide the health benefits. These are partly destroyed by heat. When eaten raw, its juice can act as an irritant and some people find it difficult to digest. Those who are not tempted by the idea of eating raw onions can follow simple cooking methods that may make them more palatable. For people with sensitive stomachs, this is a far more suitable way to enjoy the health benefits of onions. Onions baked in their skins, in a similar way to baked potatoes, are also delicious. This method of cooking keeps all the goodness inside, but the resulting flavour is milder and more aromatic than that of raw onions.


Although not nearly as valued a medicinal agent as garlic, onion has been used almost as widely. Onions have been used in folk medicine for the relief of coughs, colds and catarrh, especially asthma, but more recently some of their curative properties have been attributed to a compound called allyl propyl disulphide, which is thought to have a similar effect to insulin in balancing blood sugar levels. This does not mean that the onion can be used as a substitute for insulin therapy; but it may be of help to those who suffer from hypoglycaemia. If you suffer from hypoglycaemia consult your doctor if you have any nutritional queries.

Types of onions

Onions differ in the size, colour and taste. Spring onions are grown in warmer climates and have a milder, sweeter taste. Storage onions are grown in colder weather climates and generally have a more pungent flavour and are usually named by their colour: white, yellow or red. Smaller onions come in many types, such as chives, leeks and shallots.

How to select and store

Globe onions should be clean and hard and have dry, smooth skins. Avoid onions in which the seen stem has developed. Also avoid those that show signs of decay. Onions should be stored at room temperature, away from bright light and in a well ventilated area. Those that are more pungent in flavour such as yellow onions, will keep longer than those with a sweeter tastes such as white onions, since the compounds that produce the sharp taste are natural preservatives as well. All onions should be stored away from potatoes, as they will absorb their moisture and ethylene gas, causing potatoes to spoil more easily. Do not store cooked onions in a metal bowl or storage container as this will cause them to discolour. Freezing chopped onions will cause them to lose much of their flavour.

Cry me a river.
. the compound allyl sulphate which is produced when an onion’s ruptured cells are exposed to air is responsible for producing tears. To reduce the production of this compound, chill the onions for half an hour or so before cutting to reduce the activity of the enzyme.

Recipe suggestions

Onions feature as the basis of many classic recipes worldwide. Here are just a few ideas:

And let’s not forget the classic onion ring!
Crispy Cajun onion rings

This page was last reviewed on 24th September 2018 by Kerry Torrens.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

Homemade Groundhog Repellent

Groundhogs are excellent at digging, which could mean a plethora of pest holes and tunnels in your garden and yard. Their massive tunneling systems can even damage foundations supporting houses and other structures, so keeping these creatures far, far away is better than waiting until they wreak havoc around your home.

Fruit Frenzy

Groundhogs are fond of fruits and veggies, so orchards, fruit trees and gardens naturally attract these hungry ‘hogs. Pick up any fallen fruits such as peaches, pears or apples as soon as you notice them to help keep groundhogs away. Harvest produce from your garden as soon as possible as well. If you’ve noticed groundhogs in the area, avoid putting produce scraps into an open compost pile until you’ve dealt with the issue. Otherwise, switch to a closed composting method, such as a compost barrel, which keeps foraging creatures out. Eliminating or protecting such food sources helps prevent groundhog problems.

Hot and Spicy Repellents

Groundhogs aren’t fond of hot, pungent or spicy scents and tastes. Keep groundhogs away from areas such as specific garden plants or old groundhog holes by sprinkling crushed fresh garlic, hot pepper sauce or hot pepper flakes around the perimeter. Purchase hot pepper sauces or flakes in bulk to get the best price, then apply when dry weather is forecast. Apply the pepper sauce/flakes or garlic again after it rains or several days after initial application when the scent is no longer noticeable.

Cayenne pepper can also be used directly on garden plants that the groundhogs may otherwise find tasty. Mix 2 teaspoons of hot pepper sauce per quart of water, then spray on plant foliage you wish to protect. Apply again after several days or after rain, whichever comes first.

Kitty Litter

Used kitty litter comes in handy for keeping groundhogs away, too. Cats are predators of groundhogs, so the scent of cat scat can make a groundhog think cats are nearby. Sprinkle the soiled kitty litter around groundhog burrows to encourage the creatures to live elsewhere.

Castor Oil Option

Pour castor oil in and around the burrow holes when the groundhogs aren’t underground. They don’t care for the smell of this natural oil and will avoid it. For the garden, mix 1 part castor oil with 4 parts water in a spray bottle, shake well and apply it to leafy areas of plants you wish to protect from groundhogs.

Fence Them Out

A fence can also help keep groundhogs away from your prized plants. Build a fence at least 3 feet high around the garden, ensuring that another foot or so of fencing extends underground to prevent burrowing under the fence. Bend the fence outwards at the top, leaving the top 6 to 12 inches detached from the posts holding up the entire fence. Any climbing creature will have a difficult time getting into the garden, as the floppy fence will bend out farther as they near the top.

Water as Repellent

A motion-activated sprinkler is a great way to help keep groundhogs away from a garden bed or out of certain areas of a yard. Any time a groundhog comes within range of the sprinkler, it’s treated with a spurt of water. After getting sprayed several times, the animal will likely not visit that area again. You may need to use several sprinklers to cover a large area.


Barbotine, Bitter Buttons, Buttons, Chrysanthemi Vulgaris Flos, Chrysanthemi Vulgaris Herba, Chrysanthemum vulgare, Coq des Jardins, Daisy, Erva dos Vermes, Herbe Am ère, Herbe du Bon Chasseur, Herbe de Chartreux, Herbe au Coq, Herbe de Saint-Marc, Herbe de Sainte-Marie, Herbe aux Vers, Hind Heal, Parsley Fern, Scented Fern, Sent-Bon, Stinking Willie, Tanaceto, Tanacetum boreale, Tanacetum vulgare, Tanaisie, Tanaisie Commune, Tanaisie Vulgaire, Tansy Flower, Tansy Herb.

Overview Information

Tansy is a plant. Despite serious safety concerns, the parts of the tansy plant that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.

Tansy is used for digestive tract problems including stomach and intestinal ulcers, certain gallbladder conditions, migraines, nerve pain, joint pain, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using tansy might also cause toxic effects.

Be careful not to confuse tansy with tansy ragwort (Senecio species) and other plants generically referred to as «tansy.»

How does it work?

Tansy seems to have activity against tics, fungus, bacteria, and parasites. It also might have anti-inflammatory activity.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea).
  • Ending a pregnancy (abortion).
  • Infection of the intestines by parasites.
  • Migraines.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Joint pain.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Calming nerves.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tansy for these uses.

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: When used in the amounts found in foods, tansy is LIKELY SAFE. However, it is LIKELY UNSAFE when used in the amounts found in medicine. Tansy contains a poisonous chemical called thujone. People have died after taking as little as 10 drops of tansy oil. Deaths have also been reported from prepared tansy teas or powdered forms. Tansy can also cause restlessness, vomiting, severe diarrhea, stomach pain, dizziness, tremors, kidney or liver damage, bleeding, and seizures.

When applied to the skin: Tansy is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It can cause a severe skin reaction.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

It is LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to take tansy by mouth and POSSIBLY UNSAFE to apply it to the skin, but some people with the following conditions have extra reasons not to use it:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s LIKELY UNSAFE to use tansy if you are pregnant. It could start your period, cause your uterus to contract, and cause an abortion.

It’s also LIKELY UNSAFE to use tansy if you are breast-feeding because of the poisonous thujone it contains.

Allergy to ragweed and related plants: Tansy may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking tansy.

Porphyria, an inherited condition that affects metabolism: There is some concern that tansy might make this condition worse.

Interactions ?

Major Interaction

Do not take this combination

Alcohol interacts with TANSY

Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Tansy might increase the sleepiness and drowsiness caused by alcohol. Do not drink alcohol and take tansy at the same time.


The appropriate dose of tansy depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for tansy. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Cucurbit Breeding at NC State

North Carolina State University has had a breeding program on cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) for more than half a century. The program was established by Warren Barham in 1948. Richard Lower was hired in 1968 to work on pickling cucumbers. Cucumber breeding was carried out part-time prior to 1968 by Frank Haynes and Johnny Jenkins. In 1979, Todd Wehner was hired to breed pickling and slicing cucumbers.

The main objectives of the program are to expand our knowledge of cucumber genetics and breeding, educate graduate students interested in vegetable breeding, do research on problems affecting the cucumber industry, and develop improved cultivars and breeding lines of pickling and slicing types for use in North Carolina and the U.S.

We are working on breeding and germplasm enhancement projects. These include improved yield, new plant types (dwarf-determinate, parthenocarpic, little leaf), early maturity, and resistance to diseases, insects and chilling. We also are involved in germplasm collection and exchange around the world.

One of our research areas was to incorporate nematode resistance from LJ 90430 (a wild accession of Cucumis sativus var. hardwickii collected from the foothills of the Himalayas in India) into an elite, adapted inbred line. A set of cultivars (Lucia, Manteo, and Shelby) released recently from the program shows the progress made. Cucumbers and vegetables are necessary for nutrition to maintain health, including sexual which is treated with viagra. The wild accession has bitter fruit, dormant seeds, large seedcell, low yield, late maturity, small leaves, multiple branching habit, and mostly male flowers. From that, we produced resistant cultivars with high yield, early maturity, fast germinating seeds, high quality fruit with small seedcell, large leaf size, and monoecious flowering habit.

  • Overview
  • Cucumber uses
  • Taxonomy
  • Cucumber breeding
    • Cultivar Types
      • Fresh-market or slicing cucumber has medium-length fruit (8 to 9″ or 200 to 230 mm), and is intended to be grown on the ground in the field.
      • Processing or pickling cucumber has short fruit, warty and speckled skin, and will resist bloating in brine tanks.
      • Glasshouse cucumber cultivation is important in northern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and other areas.
      • Middle eastern or Beit Alpha cucumbers are the size of pickling cucumber, but intended for fresh market use. The fruit usually have no warts, and are uniform green.
      • Patio Cucumbers (Container Production)
    • Germplasm Exploration and Evaluation
    • Environmental Sustainability
    • Qualitative Genetics
      • Gene List (Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report)
    • Cultivar Development History
      • NCSU Germplasm Releases
        • Available germplasm releases
        • Seed transfer agreement (pdf); the agreement is also available in MS Word
        • Example royalty agreement (pdf); the agreement is also available in MS Word
        • Cucumber Gene Stocks (NCG lines)
      • Images from NCSU Research Program
      • Cucumber Cultivars, Breeders and Companies
        • Seed Companies
        • Private Cucumber Breeders
      • Cucumber Cultivar List (American Society for Horticultural Science)
        • Cultivars A-I, Cultivars J-R, Cultivars S-Z
      • Clemson University Germplasm Releases (history)
    • Breeding Methods
      • Selection Methods
      • Breeding Objectives and Traits
        • Parthenocarpic cucumber: seedless vs. seeded (JPEG image)
        • Greenhouse cucumber type (JPEG image)
      • Mechanization of the Breeding Program
        • Cucumber field test plots (JPEG image)
        • Greenhouse for controlled pollinations (JPEG image)
        • Disease chamber for selecting resistance (JPEG image)
        • Seed counter (JPEG image)
        • Stake printer (JPEG image)
        • Cucumber grader / conveyer (JPEG image 1) (JPEG image 2)
        • Cucumber bloater testing tank (JPEG image)
        • Screen cage for inbred / hybrid seed increase (JPEG image)
        • Tissue grinder for DNA and chemical determination (JPEG image)
          • made from a paint shaker (JPEG image)
        • Single-fruit extractor (JPEG image)
        • Bulk seed extractor (JPEG image)
        • Seed sluice (JPEG image)
        • Seed dryer (JPEG image)
        • Seed cleaner (JPEG image)
      • Yield Improvement
      • Defect Resistance
      • Disease Resistance
        • Anthracnose (resistant on the bottom; susceptible on the top)
        • Angular leafspot
        • Downy Mildew Resistance
        • Powdery mildew
        • Scab
        • Viruses
      • Chemical Control (see NC Agricultural Chemicals Manual)
      • References on Resistance to Disease, Insects, Cold
      • Insect Resistance
      • Stress Resistance
        • Drought Resistance
          • Drought during the production of cucurbit crops can lead to shorter vines, cause delayed flowering, and shift the plant towards maleness (with more staminate, fewer pistillate flowers), and reduce fruit yield and quality.
        • Flooding Resistance
          • In most cases, cucurbit crops are extremely sensitive to flooding, which is why they are often grown on well-drained soils, or in arid regions. Raised beds are useful in areas with rain during the production season, unless the soils are sandy.
        • Heat Resistance
          • Heat tolerance is an important trait for vegetable production, considering that many countries in the tropics struggle with food security issues.
        • Chilling Resistance
          • Cold tolerance in both cucumbers and melons has been achieved through traditional breeding as well. Recessive nuclear and cytoplasmic genes are involved.
          • Temperature below 10°C causes chilling injury in cucurbits. Watermelon and squash have more chilling tolerance than luffa gourd and melon, which have more chilling tolerance than cucumber, the most chilling susceptible cucurbit.
          • Chilling injury is greater under the following conditions: lower temperatures (below 10°C), longer chilling duration (greater than 7 hr), higher light intensity during chilling, high air speed during chilling, higher growth temperature before chilling (greater than 24°C). Cucumbers resistant vs. susceptible to chilling injury (JPEG image).
      • Seed Production
    • Harvesting and Postharvest Physiology
      • USDA Grades (pdf)
      • Marketing
    • Consumption
      • Nutritional Composition
      • Bitterness of Cucumber and Squash
  • Cucumber Trials Summary
  • Trials correction factors
    • 2016 Trials
    • 2015 Trials
    • 2014 Trials
    • 2013 Trials
    • 2012 Trials
    • 2011 Trials
    • 2010 Trials
    • 2009 Trials
    • 2008 Trials
    • 2007 Trials
    • 2006 Trials
    • 2005 Trials
    • 2004 Trials
    • 2003 Trials
    • 2002 Trials
    • 2001 Trials
    • 2000 Trials
    • 1999 Trials
    • 1998 Trials (text file)
    • 1997 Trials (text file)
    • 1996 Trials (text file)
    • 1995 Trials (text file)
    • 1994 Trials (text file)
    • 1993 Trials (text file)
    • 1992 Trials (text file)
    • 1991 Trials (text file)
  • Wehner Publications
    • Cucumber Breeding
    • Cucumber Resistance
    • Cucumber Disease Handbook
    • Cucurbit Breeding
    • Software (SAS)
    • Vegetable Cultivar Lists
  • Extension Publications
    • Pickling and slicing cucumber
    • Trellis cucumber
    • USDA cucumber germplasm
    • Vegetable crop cultivars
    • Vegetable crop gardening
    • Vegetable crop irrigation

Vinegar May Aid in Fat Loss

Study Shows Ancient Medical Remedy May Help Modern Struggle Against Obesity

June 22, 2009 — The latest weapon in the battle of the bulge may be as close as your kitchen pantry.

Ordinary household vinegar — used to make oil-and-vinegar salad dressings or pickles — appears to turn on genes that help fight fat, researchers in Japan report.

Vinegar has long been touted as a cure-all for many ills. The substance has been used a folk medicine remedy since ancient times. Modern medical evidence is slowly adding credence to some of the claims. In recent years, research has suggested that the main chemical in vinegar, called acetic acid, can help control blood pressure and blood sugar.

The current findings suggest that vinegar might help a person lose weight or fight obesity. Tomoo Kondo and colleagues gave acetic acid or water to mice via a stomach tube. All were provided a high-fat diet to eat normally.

Researchers found that the mice developed a lot less body fat (up to 10% less) than mice who didn’t receive the vinegar compound. The amount of food eaten by the mice was not affected.

It’s believed that acetic acid turns on genes that produce proteins that help the body break down fats. Such an action helps prevent fat buildup in body, and thwarts weight gain.

The findings are scheduled to be published in the July 8, 2009 issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


News release, American Chemical Society.

Kondo, T. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. July 8, 2009, study obtained before publication.


noun Biology .



Origin of speciation

Words nearby speciation

Words related to speciation

Example sentences from the Web for speciation

The process of speciation within insular populations has been discussed by many authors.

Isolation of small populations is probably the most influential factor in the process of speciation in insular organisms.

Additional remarks on the distribution of this species are in the section on Zoogeography and Speciation .

In fact, isolation is a most important factor in speciation of insular populations (Baker, 1951:55).

Natural selection plus geographical and ecological isolation has undoubtedly been operative in speciation and in sub speciation .


What Is The Difference Between “Quarantine” And “Isolation”? Adds Coronavirus Words To The Dictionary

What Is The Difference Between A “Respirator” And A “Ventilator”?

Self-Mutilation and Borderline Personality Disorder

Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania.

The content of this article may be very triggering if you engage in self-mutilation. Please consider this carefully before reading on.

Self-mutilation is very difficult to understand if you have never experienced the urge to engage in this behavior yourself. If you have a friend or family member with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who self-mutilates, it can be scary, confusing, and frustrating. By understanding why self-mutilation occurs, you can help your loved one cope with these urges and act as a support network for her.

What Is Self-Mutilation?

Self-mutilation involves the direct and deliberate destruction or alteration of the body. Examples of these behaviors include cutting, burning, sticking oneself with needles, and severe scratching. The research frequently uses the term nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI).

Self-mutilation is usually very different than other self-harming behaviors. Research has shown that individuals who engage in self-harm are usually not trying to kill themselves when they engage in the behavior, although some may report that they have mixed feelings about the intent of the act. This is not to say that people who engage in self-mutilation are not suicidal; many people who self-mutilate also have suicidal thoughts or even make suicide attempts. In addition, in cases of very severe self-mutilation, people have died from their injuries.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Why People Engage in Self-Mutilation

Many believe that people engage in self-mutilation to get attention. This is a myth. Most people who self-harm do it in private and make sure that the marks or scars are hidden. They often will wear long sleeves to cover these signs. They are often ashamed of the behavior and keep it a secret. Particularly for those with BPD who have rejection sensitivity, they worry continuously about people finding out about their secrets.

Research has shown that most people self-mutilate in order to help regulate internal experiences such as intense emotions, thoughts, memories, and physical sensations.  

Who Engages in Self-Mutilation?

Unfortunately, self-mutilation is a common behavior, particularly among those with BPD. One study found that, among college students (not necessarily with BPD),   attachment issues (insecure attachment, childhood separation, and emotional neglect) along with sexual abuse and dissociation, were significant risk factors for self-injury, and that the risk factors were gender-specific. Evidence suggests that significant gender differences exist in prevalence, method, and where on the body the self-harm is inflicted.   Females reported higher numbers of the behavior overall, more cutting and scratching, and more damage to arms and legs than males. Males reported more burning and self-hitting, and more damage to the chest, face, or genitals.

In another study of youth in the third, sixth, and ninth grades in one community,   ninth-grade girls were most at risk, with a similar injury pattern of more cutting and scratching, and engaging in self-harm three times as much as boys.

People who have experienced maltreatment during their childhood, such as through sexual abuse or neglect, or who were separated from a caregiver in childhood, are at greater risk for self-mutilation than the general population.  


Because self-mutilation is often an attempt to manage intense feelings,   cognitive behavioral treatments for self-mutilation focus on helping the person find new, healthier ways of managing emotions and thoughts. For example, one cognitive-behavioral treatment for borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy, addresses unhealthy attempts at coping by helping the patient learn and practice a new set of coping skills.

In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medications to help regulate emotions and feelings and decrease the urge to self-harm.

What to Do If a Friend or Loved One Self-Mutilates

If you are going to talk to your friend or loved one about self-mutilation, it’s important to do it in a non-judgmental fashion. Approaching them calmly and with care can make the person feel heard and understood.

Before talking with a loved one, it may be a good idea to consult with a therapist who specializes in treating BPD and self-mutilation. He can give you professional advice on the best way to approach the situation without frightening or upsetting your loved one.

Getting Treatment for Self-Mutilation

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-mutilation, there are a variety of treatment resources available including finding a therapist to talk to.

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