The People's Perspective on Medicine

Fresh Onion Juice for Kitchen Burns

Q. While I was working at a restaurant, one of our chefs was burned badly by a fryer. I happened to be in the kitchen when it happened, and the manager screamed, “get me a fresh onion out of the walk-in refrigerator.”

I didn’t ask questions; I just got it. He asked me to cut it in half and give it to him, which I did. He squeezed the fresh onion juice on the chef’s burn. What was amazing is not only that it calmed the awful pain, but also that the burned skin NEVER BLISTERED!

The manager later explained to me that it must be a fresh-cut onion. I proved that later when, in another restaurant, I got burned and I reached for onions that were cut up that morning. That didn’t work, so then I had to cut a fresh onion. Seconds count when it comes to a burn.

That happened back in the 80s and I have sworn by it every time. It always works! Something about the chemical of the onion juice works wonders.

A. Thank you for sharing your experience. We have heard of using cut onion on wasp or bee stings, but not on a burn. First aid for a burn is soaking it in cold water immediately. After that, if the skin is intact, a home remedy such as cut onion might be worth a try. Soy sauce is another kitchen remedy for burns. Obviously, a severe burn requires medical attention.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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While I am definitely NOT a dermatologist, and would never prescribe this to anyone who has any onion allergy, I want to share a ” fresh-cut onion juice” cure for a very despicable rash on my hand.

Actually this was on my left hand upper palm area. Itch, and very irritating persistent burn followed by more of the same. I was in the kitchen, slicing an onion for some ground beef to saute. I was curious about the onion, and how Aloe Vera can be a positive treatment for some burns, so I thought: (take a fresh-cut onion slice and rub the juice onto the site) WOW ! AMAZING ! Total Cure for itch, burn, rash. It worked perfectly, no scars or traces of the problem now. It worked.
It was not toxic. Natural. Relief. I am a believer!

p.s. I don’t know if this will work with all onions out there. I used what was once called ” A brown-skin” or a “Spanish onion” supermarkets don’t use that name anymore. Maybe a legal issue ?

I’m actually a scientist that teaches anatomy to medical students and heard about this from a physician friend about 10 years ago. I didn’t believe it would work, but tried it once and was absolutely convinced! Since then our family has used this remedy many times on all types of burns and we’ve never been disappointed. (This includes my physician wife, who was also skeptical.)

Just last week I got a pretty severe 2nd degree burn (with blistering) on my little finger at my work/lab. It hurt like mad (it was a pretty bad burn). I didn’t have an onion handy, so kept ice on the burn until I returned home (about 5 hours later). I then cut an onion in half, roughed up the surface of the onion with my finger nail (to get some good onion juice on the cut surface) and kept the onion/juice on the burned area for about 30 minutes. Within an hour the blistering had resolved and the pain had gone away! A week later the only evidence of the burn is a hardened patch of skin where the burn was, and this will fall off on its own in about another week, leaving no evidence of the burn or the blister.

For treating the burned area, cut a fresh onion in half (either direction). If the onion is juicy and has liquid on the cut surface, just place it directly on the burned area. If the onion doesn’t have much juice apparent on the cut surface, rough up the surface with the knife or your finger nail to make some juice before putting it on the burn. At our house we typically keep the onion on the burned area for 5-15 minutes, longer for more severe burns.

In my experience typically the blister and the pain resolve within 1-2 hours after onion treatment. After this you will be left with what appears to be normal skin covering the burn site. About a week after the burn the skin over the burned area will begin to harden a bit (but will be firmly attached to the skin below it, not like a blister). About a week after that, the hardened skin will flake off. You will be left without a trace of the burn (no red area, no scar, nothing).

I have no idea how this actually works (and being a scientist I’ve tried to figure it out), but it’s truly AMAZING!!!

It worked!

My mother told me about this when I was younger and I haven’t tried it out. Another way to stop the blistering and pain is using toothpaste so I’ve heard.

The onion must be applied immediately (yes, you can just apply a piece of onion) to avoid blisters. Actually, is a very old remedy.

While researching a family bleeding problem I came across some info on onions that may contribute to its effect on the burn at that lists onion in two categories: botanicals that contain salicylate and/or have antiplatelet properties, as well as botanicals with fibrinolytic properties

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