cut onions, raw onion

You may have simple ingredients in your kitchen cupboard that can ease pain in an emergency. Perhaps you have read about using soy sauce or yellow mustard to cool the pain of a burn. No doubt you are aware that baking soda can be used as a quick antacid. Maybe you have even tried pouring ground black pepper on a cut to make it stop bleeding. But what about a sting? Have you tried raw onion on a bee or wasp sting to stop the pain fast?

Raw Onion for Insect Stings:

Q. My daughter was pulling weeds and vines from around a tree when something flew up and stung her. I remembered reading about raw onion for stings. It immediately seemed to help. Thank you for writing about this!

A. We have heard from numerous readers who have applied raw onion to a bee or wasp sting and gotten relief. Decades ago, we spoke with Dr. Eric Block of the State University of New York. This world-renowned chemist told us that fresh-cut onions have ingredients that can break down the chemical in insect venom that causes pain and inflammation.

Not all stings respond to onion, although it seems to work pretty well on bee and wasp stings. Try it out if you have the unfortunate occasion to do so. Let us know how it works for you.

NB: A serious sting reaction requires immediate medical attention since sting allergies can be deadly.

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  1. Jean
    Chesterfield Va

    I was stung on my big toe by a wasp not long ago. I quickly looked up wasp sting in a medical info source and read that wasp stings are caused by the wasp injecting histamine at the site. Fortunately I had an antihistamine pill handy.. I broke the pill in half and swallowed half of the pill with water. At the same time I dissolved the other half in a drop or two of water and put that directly onto the sting site on my toe. Result: all pain and swelling gone in about 20 seconds or less.

  2. Laura

    20 years ago while living in Germany my son was stung by something. German neighbor ran inside cut an onion in half and applied to where my son was stung. He was noticeably more comfortable.

  3. Teri
    Upper Saddle River, NJ

    My experience with raw onions came about with the recommendation from a friend that the onion will get rid of the itch of mosquito bites. Having been to a doctor for a mosquito bite that had spread a serious infection from a bite on the top of my hand, he recommended a prescription that cost over $90.00. It turned out that I was allergic to the venom of the mosquito, the more I scratched, the more the infection spread.

    It was terrible, I practically scratched the skin off the top of my hand…until my friend recommend the onion. I liberally rubbed the juice from the slices on the infected area. I suggest using pieces of the slices…the more juice from the slices the more relief! Throw what you have used on your itch away and use fresh onion slices everytime, sometimes every hour to get rid of the itch on the inflamed area!

    Repeat rubbing the onion slices on the infected or itching areas every hour if necessary & then throw them away, do not reuse! Save extra onion pieces in plastic bags in the refrig. ready for use. The coolness can only add to a major relief. After 3-4 days the bite & the swelling is practically gone! I have been told by others that it will also help other kinds of itchiness that may be attributed to insect bites. Let me know!

  4. Iney
    Charlottesville, VA

    A long time ago I staid with a friend up in the mountains of NC and stepped on a wasp that was lazying around in the shower stall. It was horribly painful, but my friend put a paste made from little bit of water and meat tenderizer on the sting. I could feel the odd sensation of the meat tenderizer “going to work” and within 10 minutes the pain and swelling was totally gone. I now don’t go anywhere in the summer without having a small vial of the stuff with me and believe me it’s come in handy more than once, especially if I drive with the window open. Just use a pinch of it, use your spit to make a paste and feel it do it’s magic. It’s never failed, even for a .bumble bee sting

  5. Ann

    I’ve used onion several times for my children. Recently my 11 year-old son was stung on the top of his ear!! No way to keep the onion in place, and it was already swelling so I made a slurry of activated charcoal. Not only did the pain stop, it actually reversed the swelling (when I applied it,it looked like my finger was sitting on top of his ear from the swelling). Definitely one to file in the back of my mind for future.

  6. Jennifer

    I use raw onion on burns. I have also grated it and mixed with aloe vera for a painless relief solution.
    It is also helpful in the healing process. My experience with onion has been healing with no scars for small kitchen burns.

    • Pat

      For a burn from something hot on your skin such as a hot oven, use vanilla extract.

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