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They may make you sneeze, but no scientific proof that onions clear a blocked nose

“Your child has a cold and having trouble sleeping at night? Place a fresh onion close to his head not far from the nose,” reads a December 2019 Facebook post.

“The child will sleep better,” it adds. “The onions decongest the nose.”

Onions belong to the allium family of plants. They vary in size, shape, colour and flavour. The most common types are red, yellow, and white onions. 

Not medically approved

“It has to undergo a clinical process and medical approval before we can say it is effective. Certain scientific processes have to be done,” Maxwell Anah, a professor of paediatrics in the faculty of medicine at Nigeria’s University of Calabar, told Africa Check.

“We can possibly say it works due to the fact that onions is an irritant to the nose and contains menthol. Smelling it can lead to sneezing and that can help with nasal decongestion. But it can not be prescribed in orthodox medicine.” – Jennifer Ojugbeli


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