Onion tea has been used as a folk remedy for the common cold, flu and cough. Onion contains nutrients to help fight a cold, and herbal teas provide you with a relaxing effect during recovery. Although there is no cure for the common cold, and research does not show conclusive results for the beneficial effects of onion tea, onions contain substances that may boost your immune system. Check with your doctor for medical advice if you're concerned about your cold or cough.
Onions contain quercetin, which increases the overall antioxidant activity in blood, researchers from Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland, reported in the February 1999 issue of the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Antioxidants protect you against free radicals that cause cell damage and disease. Onions also are also rich in vitamin C. Although vitamin C does not prevent colds, the vitamin may shorten the duration of symptoms when taken at the onset of the cold, according to MayoClinic.com. Consuming fruits and vegetables, including onions, helps strengthen your body's immune response.
When you have a cold, you should avoid alcohol, which can weaken your immune system, and caffeine, which may increase congestion and dehydration, according to Princeton University's Health Services. Some people choose to drink warm tea for a cold, but caffeinated tea may worsen symptoms. Herbal teas, such as onion tea, contain no caffeine and may even help you feel better. The vitamin C content and antioxidant effects from the onion juice may add protection against the common cold.
Making an onion tea can be as simple as cutting an onion, boiling it and drinking the juice to make a quick remedy for your cold. You can add ingredients to an herbal tea for a better taste also. EnjoyingTea.com recommends ginger and onion tea for the common cold. Wash and cut five slices of ginger and two small pieces of spring onion. Put the ginger, onion, a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of green tea into a teapot. Pour boiling water into the pot and allow the tea to steep for three to four minutes.
Onion is part of a well-balanced diet that should include plenty of fruits, vegetables and grains to help strengthen your immune system when you have cold or flu. Get plenty of rest and drink at least 8 ounces of clear fluids every two hours, along with your onion tea, to soothe your throat and relieve nasal congestion, suggests Princeton University's Health Services.