Now is the season when midwife tales will run riot in attempts to ward off winter bugs. Sometimes, though, there’s significant anecdotal ‘evidence’ to make you wonder if some of the cures are real. A sliced brown onion for coughs is one such curiosity that many swear by–but is it legit?
In a lot of cases, what we perceive to be the magic pill for a malady isn’t actually behind our recovery—we are usually on our way to getting better already but attribute the improvement to some crazy intervention.
According to Dr Philippa Kaye, there can however be a grain of truth in folklore medicine—which is why it survives—but one of the most popular, a sliced brown onion in your child’s bedroom to cure coughs, has no scientific basis:
“Both onions and garlic have been used around the world in medications for centuries, but unfortunately there isn’t evidence for a chopped onion in the room curing a cough, though it is unlikely to do any harm!”
And while Dr Kaye acknowledges the evidence related to health benefits of another pungent root—garlic—she doesn’t think you’d find it too easy to get your kids to chug down garlic water…