Onion and garlic belongs to same family i.e. allium family. These two herbs apart from its use in cooking, they are also famous for its therapeutic benefits. Onion and garlic have high amount of flavonoid which helps them to fight against high blood pressure.
What is Onion and Benefits?
Onion is the Bulb of the plant called as Allium cepa belonging to the family Amaryllidaceae. It is cultivated as a vegetable in many parts of the world. Speaking of its morphological characteristics, onion bulb is the short, modified, underground stem that is surrounded by the modified leaves containing of stored food. The dried bulbs of the plant are separated and then onion utilised for cooking purpose.
The chopped onions are used as the main ingredient in the cooking of many vegetable curries. Many dishes also prepared by the onions itself. Common onions are available in three colours yellow, red and white. Among the three the Asian white onion has the more eye irritating chemical reactions. The raw onion is also used in garnishing and to increase the flavour. The fresh raw onion is having pungent taste.
Benefit of Onion
The raw onions are highly nutritious. The 100 grams of raw onion consists of 40 kcal of energy, 9.34 grams of carbohydrates, 4.24 grams of sugars, 1.7 grams of dietary fibre and 1.1 grams of proteins. In addition to this onions also contain many types of Vitamins (Vit. A, B, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, C, E, K), Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc.
Medicinal values of Onion
The onion is famous for its high medicinal values. It helps in curing many diseases. It is used to treat many stomach and gall bladder disorders. The onions are even found to be useful in treatment of Whooping cough, Asthma, Dehydration and Diabetes. Several heart problems can be cured with the help of onion consumption.
Small red onions are used in the treatment of cough with plum. The onions are cut into small pieces, which are then soaked in pure honey for 2-3 days and taking this soaked onions helps to relieve cough.
The medicinal value of onions is due to the presence of a flavonoid component known as Quecertin. Quecertin helps in the treatment of Heart diseases and Cancer. The onions are even rich in oregano-sulphur compounds, which help in reducing the Blood pressure and cholesterol. Onion also acts as an antiviral agent.
Mechanism of action of onion for blood pressure
Onion and high blood pressure are strongly inter-related. It consists of several chemical compounds that help in treatment of high blood pressure. As mentioned above the presence of Quecertin in onion, makes onion effective in the treatment of high blood pressure. Therefore the link between onion and high blood pressure is due to presence of flavonoid. Flavonoids act as an anti-oxidant agent which further contributes in lowering of elevated blood pressure. Daily intake of around 730 mg of flavonoid present in onion is proved to be effective in treatment of high blood pressure.
The next important component of onion is sulphur compounds and allicin. This two constituent are very essential for the treatment of high blood pressure and cancer. However mechanism of action behind them is still unknown. Note that allicin and sulphur compounds are very sensitive to heat and gets destroyed on heating. Therefore, no beneficial effect would be observed when onions are fried while cooking which means that raw onion has greater medicinal value than cooked ones.
Side effects of Onion
Onion should be taken in the limited amounts. High amount of onion can lead to several side effects. It is safe to take up around 35mg of onion ingredient diphenylamine per day. High intake of onion should be avoided by pregnant and Breast-feeding women. Even people suffering from diabetes should consume onion in moderate amounts. If you are continuing with any sort of allopathic treatment, the amount of onion consumption should be low as they are chances of interaction between them.
Onions also causes allergic reactions. The direct contact of onion causes some allergic reaction and this may lead to reddening of the skin, oral swelling, and difficulty in breathing and drop in blood pressure. Onions also causes intestinal gas and heart burn.