Four Myths About Onions You Shouldn't Believe

Onions are common and popular veggies, so myths about onions are common, too. Here are four you should ignore

They’re among the world’s most popular vegetables, so popular myths about onions are quite common. Mythologies, too. For example, the ancient Egyptians believed onions to be sacred. Archaeologists have found mummified pharaohs with onions in their eye sockets.

And according to the Turks, onions and garlic grew wherever Lucifer stepped after God tossed him out of Heaven, so at least there was a silver lining to that.

But let’s take a look at some everyday onion myths, and see how they fare.

Myth #1: Onions Protect You From the Flu

This tidbit linking onions and the flu has been passed around by email for years, and by chain letters before that. Supposedly, during an epidemic, a doctor discovered that in houses where people didn’t get sick, the residents had placed dishes of sliced onions in every room.

A microscopic examination of the onions showed that they had drawn in the bacteria that caused the flu, so the microbes didn’t infect the people living there.

Sorry, completely false. First of all, a virus, not a bacterium, causes the flu; and second, no one has ever demonstrated that onions can attract microbes like vegetable magnets, though onion juice may in fact have minor antiseptic qualities.

Myth #2: Cut Onions Quickly Become Poisonous

Like Myth #1, this one’s based on the concept that cut, raw onions somehow vacuum up microorganisms from the air. They don’t, but bacteria can infect an exposed onion. Still, you’re no more likely to sustain food poisoning from eating an onion than from eating any other tainted vegetable.

Myth #3: Onions Cure Headaches, Coughs, Asthma, Baldness, Etc.

All old wives’ tales, sadly. Onions are very good for you, providing high concentrations of antioxidants and a nice range of vitamins, but there’s no proven medical use for them… and if you rub a cut onion on your head, it’s certainly not going to make the hair grow back “thick as thistles,” as colorful as that sounds.

If you believe that, you might as well believe the one about how if a girl writes the names of her suitors on onions and puts them in a dark place, the first one that sprouts will name her future husband.

Onions aren’t good aphrodisiacs, either, by the way.

Myth #4: Onion Juice Will Keep Your Car’s Windshield from Freezing Up

The idea here is that rubbing a cut onion on your windshield will keep the glass frost-free. Your Humble Writer can attest that this isn’t the case, having tried it himself several times. How nice it would be if this myth about onions were true… but it turns out that it’s just a waste of perfectly good onions.