Onions to the Rescue - I can breathe again!

in Natural Medicine7 months ago (edited)

Not being able to breathe is one of the scariest health issues I've ever experienced, but something I've been spared ever since getting my acid reflux (GERD) condition under control.

I know many will ask what excess stomach acidity has to do with chest congestion but the problem arises when stomach acids enter the esophagus because the sphincter which should be stopping this is not doing its job. The stomach acids are then breathed into the airways causing upper respiratory inflammation.

I used Siberian Pine Nut Oil very successfully for my reflux for about three years, but somehow it stopped working so I had to resort to taking prescription meds as chronic bronchitis and asthma was something I really do not want!

I tend to be an emotional sponge; yep, cannot help it!
Seeing what is happening to our world at the moment has been causing me some distress and of course this exacerbates reflux so the upper respiratory inflammation has quietly made its way back!


Naturally the thought What if I’m be infected with this horrid virus popped into my head, but I have none of those symptoms and I have been ultra-careful as I really do not ever want to experience uncontrolled asthma ever again!

A friend told me about an amazing remedy she learned about recently, so here I am to share it with you.

However, do not let this stop you from going to your doctor, but if you need immediate relief from chest congestion, I highly recommend that you try this as you have nothing to lose, in fact this age old proven remedy is said to work better and faster than antibiotics! Never mind the smell of onions, it really is not so bad when tied up in that bag and warmed in the microwave and I much prefer the smell of onions to not being able to breathe and having to rely on an asthma pump!
Onion poultice1.jpg


Applying a warm onion poultice externally twice a day certainly alleviates chest congestion and make for easier breathing giving you a restful healing sleep at night.
I had relief after just one treatment and did not have need of my asthma pump after the first treatment!

Onions have expectorant properties such as sulfur that draws out mucus and fluids in body.

For the poultice, one can also add ginger or garlic for additional therapeutic effects; raw garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties and ginger on the other hand fight many strains of bacteria.
How to make an onion poultice:
Peel and dice half an onion and wrap in a clean kitchen towel, tie up or place a couple of loose stitches to hold together.
Heat in microwave for about 20 seconds, pound it a little to release the juices then place on chest area and cover with a heated bean bag. Leave on for 20-30 minutes.

Note: If your baby has a stuffy nose and cough, in addition to the meds you get from your doctor or pediatrician, leaving sliced onions in a saucer next to the crib is super helpful; never mind the smell it leaves in the room!


Honey has potent antibacterial and antiviral properties and helps with loosening mucus, so I will share two of nature’s cough syrups with you.

An instant cough syrup can be made by grating raw ginger and mixing it with warm honey and the juice of a lemon.

Another age-old cough remedy uses onions again - finely peel an onion, layer it with honey and let it stand for a couple of hours. Strain the liquid off and use it as a cough syrup.


Crushed Garlic & Ginger
Nasturtium leaves & flowers, diced
Fresh Thyme
Lemon, quartered & juice squeezed out
Let it steep for about an hour in a tea pot, strain and drink throughout the day when ill, or once a day as a maintenance dose.

Hot air humidifier

As dry air worsens a cough, it’s really worthwhile investing in a hot air humidifier that comes fitted with an essential oil diffuser.

The moisture and oils help dilute the mucus making it easier to expel it by coughing; it is vital not to allow the mucus to build up.

Essential Oils to loosen mucus:

  • Peppermint contains methanol which relaxes and protects the airways thus easing the breathing of someone with asthma.
  • Lavender has natural anti-inflammatory properties and could aid healing inflammation in the airways when inhaled.
  • Eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Tea tree oil has been known to reduce allergic reactions therefore it could be beneficial if asthma is triggered due to an allergic reaction as it will reduce inflammation.

Having a humidifier in the bedroom at night also makes for better sleep so your body can heal itself.


Inhaling steam is really super for loosening mucus and is very soothing.

Very simply pour very hot water into a bowl, add a few drops of Essential oil, place a towel over your head and inhale the vapors for as long as you’re comfortable.


Ginger, Honey & Turmeric tea with Lemon slices, Lemon Water, a little Apple Cider Vinegar in lukewarm water, Rooibos tea, Herbal teas, Green Tea or black Coffee all helps with thinning mucus and soothing the airways.
Chicken Soup like Grandma made is said to be really beneficial especially when you have influenza.


A traditional old remedy is gargling with warm salt water which not only helps with reducing the viscosity of mucus but also soothes a sore inflamed throat.


These all are tried and tested remedies which have helped me personally keep the doctor away; the onion poultice being one I only discovered now and being the most amazing help, but...
Please look at them as aids in helping you get better sooner, and do not let it stop you from visiting you doctor or alternative healer when you're unwell.
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 7 months ago 

An amazing post! I remember you speaking about that pine nut oil - sorry to see it stopped working, but look at you adapting and finding things that work! Onion poultices are such an old remedy, but so easy, practical and accessible for people! I love that syrup/tea too - I've been inspired by @artemislives' syrup too - like her, I suffer from lung issues. I definitely have found daily ginge r- lots of it - to help! I hate using the pump as well, so the more I don't, the better. I also do a lot of pranyama as us asthmatics are known to shallow breath!

 7 months ago 

My daily shots of home made congestion have cut my lung steroid use by 75% in 2 weeks! I'm breathing MUCH better. 1 shot morning and night, and also taking some andrographis with it - and using magnesium religiously under my feet before sleep. Comorbidities? LOL... not me!! ❤️

I must really do pranyama more often, forget about it so thank you for that @riverflows AND meditate regularly!!! I'm shouting at myself there;)
I had used onion cough syrups before but never heard of the poultice, it's amazingly helpful! I must check out @artemislives' syrup.
Thank you so much for the wonderfully helpful feedback, many have commented here about their own folk remedies, it's really so interesting and I'm sure many of these syrups are much much more beneficial than the cough syrups one buys from the pharmacies.
Thank you also for the @ocd feature, such a lovely surprise!

 7 months ago 

This is such a detailed & helpful post!! I too, suffer from chest congestion, almost always triggered by emotion and stress. Everything you've suggested resonates and is easy and doable for most people. I also find applying Magnesium Chloride spray to my chest-neck area and rubbed in with a few drops of a Breathe-Easy home made essential oil blend gives almost instant relief. The muscle relaxing properties of magnesium are well documented and it's a front line treatment in major hospital ERs to give intravenous magnesium for respiratory distress.

Liked the way you brought in the onions - they are soooo misunderstood and underloved as a powerful natural medicine. 😍

Wow thank you for this information @artemislives, really useful! I've never heard of the Magnesium Chloride spray, will definitely try to find some. I hate having to use the asthma pump!
Really appreciate your wonderful and valuable feedback!
Stay safe.

 7 months ago 

Hope you find some natural relief, @lizelle. ❤️

 7 months ago (edited)

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Will do that, thank you for getting these remedies out!

 7 months ago 

Hello @lizelle, this is @notconvinced on behalf of Natural Medicine.

You given so much great information here. It's all great, not only because of the season, but because of the current virus, with many of the symptoms you address.

Very timely and necessary knowledge. I've known about honey and ginger, but never thought about using onions for respiratory issues. Thanks for teaching me something new today.


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Thank you so much for the curation @naturalmedicine and @notconvinced, really appreciate it!

Hey ya Lizelle! Thanks for a really timely remedy. I love onions generally, so the smell really doesn't bother me :)

My mom made a cough syrup using Mullen Weed and Honey (and probably a little whiskey, truth be known) when we were kids. She got it from her Grandmother when whooping cough was still a thing. She also would burn the dried head of the weed and we'd breathe in the smoke to relieve chest congestion. Then a nice warm poultice of Vicks Vapo Rub and you could breathe and sleep.

I get the sniffles and chest congestion about this time every year. I've got the nose part now, when I get the congestion I'll try the onion poultice.

Thanks Lizelle.

So interesting, I much prefer the folk remedies to some of the meds! I was curious about your Mom's cough syrup, it seems many people still use it today. This onion poultice is keeping this respiratory inflammation at bay, I would usually have been taking antibiotics by now but still be battling to breathe so I'm very thankful my friend told me about it. Hopefully will help others too, keep well @bigtom13!

You are a genius @lizelle! I'm so sorry to hear the Siberian Pine OIl stopped working for you! I have mentioned this to so many of my friends and family members. I'll be saving this wonderful post for future reference as you shared so many amazing tips for common issues. This is indeed a stressful time, I've been thinking about you and your family, hope you're staying safe and healthy. No guests around I hope, although I know that is just another stressor in your life. Please do take care, we need to get back in the kitchen sharing our tasty treats with the world. My world is topsy turvy right now with my daughter and toddler here, hubby with a new job 9 hours away. Crazy times for everyone. Blessings to you! xx

I was also sorry to have to revert back to reflux meds again but still have to be careful about what I eat and of course not eat late at night!
We're in a 5 week lockdown so had to close the bnb, good and bad thing, but so far there are not too many cases here. They're doing a study that our decades long BCG (for TB) vaccination program is possibly protecting South Africans and that may be the reason we've been spared, but then we were also in summer and the virus doesn't like heat, winter's on its way though. Just praying it stops but sounds like it could go on for quite some time. The Spanish flu of 1918 lasted 2 years!
Gosh I can just imagine the change in your home with a toddler!
We're all going through real crazy times, our youngest son left his job and came back home for a sabbatical but then went to Orenburg in Russia for a working holiday. Their city doesn't have many cases but he's flying home, hopefully, early May and will be at Moscow airport for a long stopover, very worried as that city has many cases! His original flight was cancelled!
You're right, we're living in crazy times!
Take care my friend;)

Old tested remedies I still use, never heard of the onion trick hope this helps permanently. Sometimes the body does become accustomed, take a break for 6 months and try your Pine nut oil again.

I never go to bed without my special mootie glass (old mustard jar with plastic lid) mixture of Borsdruppels, lemon and honey. Half filled with honey, about a teaspoon of Borsdruppels and fresh lemons for the other half, stir well, jar lasts about a week, one sip after glass of water every morning as I get up, my magic charm!

I think you're so right, I've had to increase my reflux meds now & also wondered about trying the Siberian Pine Nut Oil again, I also believe the body gets used to the things we take.
My Mom also makes a mixture with Borsdruppels, I must try yours! That onion poultice is magic, not a sign of any respiratory inflammation now, it was getting very uncomfortable last week!
Thank you for the advise Joan.

Glad your homemade remedy did the trick to get you feeling better! Always happy to add more tips to my own repertoire should the need arise, as well. We've always got onions handy, though might have to fight the boyfriend as he does love to eat them up! ;)

My hubby also loves eating raw onions with everything! This is a really useful remedy, you keep well @plantstoplanks:)

I was going to say that you just have to stop smoking, as that is what they always say to me hahaha. But you are not on the smoking bus.
Thank you for the tips here my friend.

Incidentally, I finished one of Marian's concoctions tonight and my ears are still burning. Garlic, ginger, cayenne (much), thyme, black pepper corns, honey, lemon, a Corenza C (Paracetamol) and rounded off with a Rooibos teabag of all things!

She just listed all the ingredients of her experiment for me.

So now I feel like a walking Fynbos (on fire) Lol.

Blessings and bookmarked.

Marian's concoction sounds great, I always forget about how valuable Cayenne pepper is, I can just imagine your mouth must have been on fire with all of that, but it's all good ingredients, I must try this next time one of us is not well. Some of our smoking pals are complaining about not having bought enough stock for lockdown!
Take care, blessings to you and your lovely lady!

Yeah! Cayenne pepper certainly fixed me up overnight my friend.
But I also think that all of ingredients assisted.
Hope that you guys have a great Friday (under the circumstances Lol)

I may just have to start referring to you as Dr. Lizelle, this is a great post with very good advise. Thanks for sharing with us.
Could very well be useful in our house as the wife and girls have chest/ breathing issues pretty regularly in the fall and winter.
Thanks, Doc!

Oh no these are just tried & tested folk remedies so can't replace the doc but certainly will help ease breathing and possibly avoid a visit to the doc;)
Thanks for the visit Sult, hope you're all keeping well!

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Thank you so very much @oldmans, really appreciate this:)

You are so welcome! Always enjoy reading about natural remedies to help supplement other medicines. Very informative. :)

These are some wonderful home remedies. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you @katrina-ariel, hope you're keeping well!

This is fascinating! I suffer from asthma myself so this is very good to know!

I had no idea, wow! I will definitely remember this in case I face this problem. Such a simple thing to try, and much cheaper than any medicine in the pharmacy (which certainly doesn't always work) thank you for sharing and I'm glad you had such a quick relief from this!

i have (had) the same problem with you, visited a thousand doctors (almost), and the best thing they told me, which works for me btw, is to put a lot of pillows under my mattress
it inclines the mattress, so reflux is harder

Thank you so much for the advice @koskl, I try to sleep on two high pillows, tried putting blocks under bed base at top but felt weird, will try your suggestion of pillows under mattress sounds better, will certainly try that!

These old remedies are great! I knew some of them. Thanks for the rest! I prefer using these than taking meds.

This is awesome!!! Only sad I missed upvoting it~!!


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