Not only in the west, but even in parts of Asia, putting onions in socks was believed to naturally cleanse the body, fight ailments, infections and boost immunity. That said, there have not been any scientific studies that have looked at this specifically. Most articles online that recommend onion in a sock as a cure for colds and flu do not cite any scientific evidence.
The nerves in the feet have been a focal point of Eastern medicine for thousands of years and are thought to act as access points to the internal organs. Meanwhile, Dr. Ruth MacDonald, chair and professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at Iowa State University, concurs with Schwarcz’s theory, stating, “Onions do not absorb bacteria. The idea that a vegetable would attract and suck into itself bacteria from the air is not even logical. The onion may turn black because it would eventually rot from both cell breakdown events and bacterial contamination if you left it out, not because it absorbs germs. Eating these vegetables provides antioxidants that can have health benefits, but they are unlikely to prevent or cure disease.”
Nowadays, the supposed healing power of onions is being thought of in an entirely different way than in the 1500s. The growing popularity of Traditional Chinese Medicine has many believing that the body is made up of meridians, which are pathways from certain access points on the body to your internal organs. There is a vast amount of nerve endings in the soles of the feet, which serve as does boric acid kill good bacteria pathways to vital organs. According to traditional medicine, these connection points are called meridians. They act as a powerful electrical circuit that, when stimulated, provides access to the rest of the body. Because of this, it is believed that, by sleeping with onions on the soles of your feet, you can transfer all the beneficial properties of the onions to the rest of the body.
Despite these opinions and many similar thoughts from experts in the medical field, the onions in socks theory still has plenty of support, with thousands of everyday people lauding the veggie’s healing effects. Whether or not it’s simply a placebo effect remains to be confirmed. And that might make a wannabe believer cry more than slicing on onion.
It is also worth noting that there is little evidence to support reflexology as an effective treatment for illness. This 2011 review concludes that clinical evidence fails to demonstrate that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition. If you have the flu and are willing to try anything to bounce back, the good news is that putting onions in your socks is unlikely to hurt you. “There is some evidence about the health benefits of garlic for heart problems and other conditions but, again, not to treat a cough. The WHO points to four scientific articles over the years in which onions were found to kill pathogens related to food poisoning, a claim that the National Onion Association makes as well. So it’s fairly simple, here are the two steps to purify your blood, and kill germs and bacteria.
Warts, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. The site says that “long before germs were discovered, the dominate belief was contagious diseases were spread by miasma, or ‘noxious air,’” that onions absorbed. The miasma theory was rendered obsolete in the 1800s, when germ theory replaced it. But remnants of the onion’s legacy remain today, one being that the mighty vegetable really does have “cure-all” powers. It is a remedy that has been around for thousands of years. The downstream products are a complex mixture of [sulfur-based compounds].
Research has been done to assess the ancient practice of foot reflexology, which connects to the claim that putting onions on the feet could help relieve illness. A review of foot reflexology studies showed little evidence that foot reflexology is an effective practice for treating most medical conditions. Some research shows that it could actually make some conditions worse. However, the overall quality of research on reflexology is very low overall. While there is no scientific evidence that this is true, many believe that the purifying effect onions have on the air can make it more breathable. Onions are air purifiers and when in contact with the skin they kill germs and bacteria.