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VEGETABLES : ONION

Charaka maintains that the onion promotes kapha and cures vata but not pitta. The Harita Samhita disagrees, stating that onion reduces both vata and kapha, and other authorities aver that onion reduces both pitta and kapha. Which of these effects an onion will produces depends upon its variety (red onions are generally hotter and therefore more pitta-producing than either yellow or white onions) and its condition (cooked onions lose most of their pungency and are more kapha-promoting).

Everyone agrees, however, that the onion is strengthening, heavy and appetising. Onions are sweet and pungent (raw) or sweet (cooked) in taste, hot in potency, and sweet in post-digestive effect. They stimulate the heart, promote bile production, reduce blood sugar and relieve intestinal gas and colic. Fresh onion juice is moderately bactericidal and makes a good heart tonic when given with honey or aged (more than seven years) jaggery. The onion is a reputed aphrodisiac, especially when mixed with honey, ginger juice and ghee; it is one of those substances, like honey and ghee, that are said to immediately increase semen when eaten. One of its Sanskrit names, kandarpa, is also a name for Kamadeva, the Indian Eros.

Innumerable popular recipes make onion a trusted home remedy. Its juice is instilled into the eyes (with honey, for pain and cataract), nose (for runny nose and nosebleeds, and for loss of consciousness) and ears (for earache). A paste of onion on the soles of the feet is said to cure headache, as is the smelling of a crushed onion, which is also prescribed for nausea and vomiting. Used in food, it is said to protect one's teeth, and in various combinations it has been employed to treat alopecia, asthma, laryngitis, diarrhoea, dysentery, urinary stone, retention of urine, haemorrhoids, amenorrhoea, mammary abscess, heat stroke and rheumatism.

References:
Ayurveda Life Health and Longevity by Robert E. Svoboda - Penguin Books.

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