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What Is Onion Tea?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Onion tea is a type of fusion beverage that is prepared using some type of onion as the base, along with hot water. The basic recipe calls for finely chopping the onion, then placing the pieces into hot water. The pieces are allowed to steep for several minutes and are then removed from tea using a strainer. There are several benefits associated with onion tea, with most having to do with easing the symptoms of the common cold or flu.

The medicinal uses of onion are well documented in folk medicine, with onions being used to alleviate nasal congestion and ease breathing difficulties due to congestion in the chest. The benefits of onion tea are closely related to helping to unclog blocked nasal passages while also helping to reduce fever and ease the pain of coughing due to congestion in the throat and lungs. In addition there are some claims related to the consumption of onion tea and the reduction of bad cholesterol, although the evidence for this particular benefit remains anecdotal.

Beyond the basic recipe of chopping the onion and steeping the pieces in hot water, there are many different ways to prepare onion tea. One process calls for pressing the onion to extract the juice AND mixing that juice with hot water. Other approaches call for combining the onion with various herbs as a way to make the tea more pleasant to the taste and to boost the nutritional content of the beverage. A common combination for treating cold symptoms involves adding ginger root to the mix, creating a pleasant-tasting onion and ginger tea.

Other variations of onion tea call for using something other than plain water in the recipe. Usage of some sort of vinegar, including apple cider vinegar is said to boost the effectiveness of the beverage. Other approaches call for using some sort of fresh fruit juice, especially if the patient is having difficulty consuming solid foods. Adding vegetable juices prepared using a juicer is also sometimes recommended, along with adding herbs and spices that are known to help with colds and flu, such as cayenne pepper and garlic.

Just about any type of onion may be used to brew onion tea. Various types of white, yellow, and purple onions are commonly utilized as the base ingredient for the hot beverage. There are some claims that the nutritional content is enhanced by using green onions, taking care to finely chop the green part and allow the pieces to steep for at least five minutes before straining.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon996969 — On Oct 31, 2016

Yes! Use honey and lemon in your tea.

By SteamLouis — On Jun 21, 2014

Onion tea is also a common remedy used in India. My grandmother used to make this tea whenever I had a stomach upset. I'm not sure how onion helps but it does.

By candyquilt — On Jun 20, 2014

@literally45-- You must try onion tea, especially if you have a cough. Onions are great for coughs, onion tea is like a natural cough syrup. It will soothe your throat and relieve congestion.

You can try to improve the taste of onion tea with some herbs and spices like mint or basil, some cloves, some ginger or cinnamon. Unfortunately, it's not the best tasting tea but it's mostly reserved for cold and flu. So if you're suffering with cold symptoms, I think the onion tea is worth it. You could also squeeze some lemon in it or perhaps put an orange rind as well.

By literally45 — On Jun 19, 2014

I have a terrible cold and I'm trying all the remedies and herbal teas I can find. Onion tea sounds great for the symptoms I have, but I hate onions! I don't think I could drink anything with onion in it. Unless of course there is a way to mask the onion scent and flavor completely. Will honey or lemon mask the onion flavor?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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