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!