Q. When my brother was young he took a drink from a bottle of pop not realizing there was a wasp inside the bottle. It stung him far down his throat, which quickly began swelling up.

We had a general store at the time. My dad grabbed a raw onion and made my brother eat it. Luckily, the swelling went down almost immediately. I think it probably saved his life, as his throat was closing up. He always loved raw onion after that.

A. Such an emergency requires immediate medical attention rather than a home remedy. That said, we are glad eating a raw onion counteracted the swelling from the sting.

Freshly cut onion has been used to soothe bee or wasp stings for a long time. According to one reader, Swiss farmers have been using this remedy for centuries. A study of 301 Turkish beekeepers found that two-thirds use cut onion or garlic on stings (International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology, July, 2014).

Years ago, world-renowned onion chemist Eric Block, PhD, told us the enzymes in fresh-cut onion break down the inflammatory compounds in a sting. We do hope no one else will need to use this remedy for the same purpose your brother did!

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  1. Susie Wilson
    Reply

    I use onions on mosquito bites and sometimes a dab of mustard. Onions must have some kind of wonderful properties because they work on a lot of insect bite reactions!

  2. LJL
    Reply

    I wonder if an onion would work for a jellyfish sting?

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