Last night an onion saved my life {OK, mind}


It’s funny how you forget something until you are back into it again right? Like those contractions that you forgot until DEAR LORD I REMEMBER THIS. Or when Kevin Rudd was put back in place as Prime Minister. Or for me yesterday, when Harper’s asthma was induced by Spring which has started to spring around these parts. I remembered instantly my dismay of September/October when Harp had an asthma cough for what seemed (and actually was) for months.

Last night after she had been coughing for 5 or so hours every 3.5 seconds and we were a cough vomit down and we had administered Vicks on the soles of her feet and chest and there seemed like NOTHING else we could do, I went into the kitchen, found a dodgy onion at the bottom of the pantry, cut that bastard in two and left it right next to where she was sleeping.

And you know what? She slept! For four hours straight! With just a few little coughs in between. She may have been exhausted, sure, but who cares? She slept. And I will be able to half function today. And with a little airing of the bedroom, our room will stop smelling like an Italian pizzeria. Thank you Nikki for suggesting this, and a few other people who may have, I don’t know why I waited this long.

Did you know an onion could do so much?
Have any other home remedies I should know about?
And for anyone out there with asthma or kids with asthma, I feel your pain. Get better! x


  1. Jodi Wilson says

    Oh that’s so good to hear. If you want to go one step further with the au natural remedies try a natural eucalyptus balm on the feet instead of vicks (it’s got some nasty stuff in it). Any colds this year are more of a cleanse – the body is getting rid of excess mucous from the winter to start afresh for spring…but no doubt Harper’s asthma is the major issue for her, poor little thing. Hope you get out in the sun today xxx

  2. I am totally going to try that tonight. I read it on your feed last night and wondered if it would work. I have an asthmatic three year old too, and his coughing is making me slowly, but surely, lose my mind. It’s the gagging noise that gets me. cough cough cough gag. cough cough cough gag. cough cough cough gag vommie gag. Poor thing. I can only imagine how he’s feeling!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Yes! THAT. All of that. Poor things. I just despair when I first hear that cough, knowing the days that I have ahead of me (and her). Hope it works for you too! And get better x

    • Do please do try rubbing castor oil into his chest. The castor seed is a magic seed. It’s rather messy but well worth it. I suggested this to an elderly asthmatic. She did it and later told me it gave relief and she felt heat go right through and come out her back. The onion is an old folk remedy well known to my generation and respected too. An onion poltice is powerful too. I put half a cut onion in each corner of a freshly painted room and the next morning the onions are all curled up and paint smell hone.

  3. You’ll never be without onions in the house again! Works for snotty noses too x

  4. Chelsea Sutherland says

    Do you know as soon as I read the title on FB I KNEW what you would have done – but do you think I think to do it when I am sick?

  5. my daughter and I sleep with onions. And if the ears get sore on the way to an ear infection wrap and tie a scarf around your head, covering your ears. Pop half an onion over each ear {Princess Leia style} about 20 minutes the pain eases, repeat a few times a day. Onions are amazing!

  6. Meredith Cassar says

    I totally feel your pain Beth. My little Beth goes through the same thing. Two nights ago after much coughing we had a HUGE cough vomit through her bed. Last night I was quick enough to catch it. I was feeling pretty proud of myself, for around 5 seconds before she decided to wet her pants in the bed instead. After 2 nights of no sleep (the first two of many to come) I will certainly be trying the onion trick tonight. Thanks Beth xoxo

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Oh no Meredith! I hope you get some rest today and a much better night tonight. Of course not sending Harper to Preschool has meant she has bounced back and seems fine!!

  7. I have never heard of this. Which I had years and years ago, my poor little sis has suffered all her life, I remember the asthma cough all too well as we always shared a room. I am going to tell her to try an onion tonight

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      I had asthma terribly as a kid too…many a night in the bathroom with the shower running in the middle of the night.

  8. Love it! Onions also are the best for a ear infection, cut in half put on a tissue & lie with it on your ear for 10 mins! My little one had difficulty with croup for years, insert rush to hospital, cough every 3.5 seconds, colds every 3 weeks etc etc. I feel for you xxx Was recommended to take him off dairy, he now is hardly ever sick! Can not believe it! Sending you lots of love & energy x

  9. Hope you and Harper get some sleep. Asthma hit our house hard again yesterday. Hospital trip, all the mega drugs and now a few days at home. Will have to try the onion trick! (Ps.. Is Harper on preventers? Sometimes their meds need changing.. ) all the best!

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Oh no – hope things get better for you! She is on Flixotide which has made a HUGE difference for her this winter…we haven’t had to use repipred once. It’s just the time of year and allergies and all that too I think. Good luck!

      • It is a shocking time of year for asthma. Its great if you can steer clear of the Redipred. Has your doc suggested Singulair? Its not a steroid base, it’s a chewable tablet once daily and helps with seasonal triggers ie pollen, grass etc. Made a heap of difference to my daughters hayfever triggers.

  10. Onions yes I have read this I will need to try it tonight as we all have a virus that we keep sharing hopefully this sunshine will clear up our ills!

  11. Kylie Gardner says

    Wow! News to me, can’t wait to try it. Spring has already started in with the allergies on our poor kid. Rashes ahoy!

  12. I have been asthmatic all my life and never heard of this! Won’t believe it until I try it, but I will try it for sure. We live on the far south coast and asthmatics have been having a bad time here too…its such a bastard of a thing to have!
    I’ve been dairy free for years and it hasn’t stopped my asthma but I definitely think its not as bad. There are so many good dairy free options these days too so your daughter won’t miss out on too many pleasures! My kids love rice milk! And the soy icecream is not so bad either…many will debate that!

  13. Our son has just recently been diagnosed.
    Oh the cough. I now know what you mean. I was going slightly loopy. With a newborn and listening to that darn cough there was no reprive. We have tried everything Vicks on feet, ventolin, steroids and he is now on Flixotide twice a day. All in a matter of 7weeks. Seeing him blue is scary. MUST remember the onion.
    Here’s to easy breathing.

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Oh Tara! You poor thing. That was us last winter. Things have been so much better with the Flixotide…good luck!

  14. The onion trick does work wonders, I tried it when I was pregnant (was trying to avoid any drugs, OTC or otherwise!) and haven’t looked back. Garlic stuck in the ear is also good. And crushed garlic with a bit of olive oil to make a paste on the soles of feet with some socks wacked on them is LIFE SAVING for blocked ears. Try it’s a go-to site for this hippie shit πŸ˜‰

  15. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I know about this cause Nikki at Styling You told me but haven’t had to try it yet! I hope Harper gets better soon x

  16. Seriously. That is amazing. That is incredible. Will try it asap and let you know how I go!

  17. feebeecakes says

    Interesting Beth – last FridayI had a killer sore throat coming on and mouth ulcer. Convinced I was going to spend the weekend in bed. I really craved onion (I never crave onion) so I went with what my body seemed to need and had cheese on toast smothered in onion (like about half an onion on two slices of cheese on toast) for dinner…early bed…woke up next morning with no sore throat and ulcer gone! Magic!!

  18. I did not know about this onion remedy, but have friends who absolutely swear by the big thick slices of onion on the soles of your feet held on with some plastic wrap and covered with socks. This is if you are starting to feel the flu kicking in or it has already grabbed hold. From what I’m reading above I’m convinced this would work. Onions???? Who knew? πŸ™‚

  19. My sister swears by this and I always look at her like she has lost her mind. Actually she tied one to the soles of her feet the other day and says it worked. Funny how now that you (another mum) has tried it I’m willing to give it a go. Just don’t tell my sister! And I totally sympathise with the asthma thing. 8 asthmatics in this wheezing household. Had Miss 4’s Asthma plan done the other day and taking four of the other kids to get their plans done Friday. I feel like a chemist. I just line them up and give them all a puff or two. Doesn’t that sound good.

  20. Can anyone tell me why the works?? I know onions are suposed tobbe able to soak up bacteria or something? My son is sick and non-stop coughing so i have just read this and put an onion cut in half in his room while his resting and I’m praying for help

    • I know this question is now a few months old, but I will answer it anyway, in case anyone else is reading this. I have been using this trick for years, for my two daughters and myself, and it definitely works. There is no science to support it; no one has bothered to conduct such a study as far as I know. But I believe that what makes it work is the vapor that comes out of the onion when you cut it. You know, the stuff that makes you cry when you cut an onion? Instead of irritating your airways like it does with your eyes, it moistens them continuously throughout the night, which curbs the cough. What’s best is to place the cut onion on the night stand right besides your child’s head as they’re sleeping. In the morning, the room will stink, but just air it out and it won’t last.

  21. Hi: I’ve just place an onion next to my 21 YOD bed, my question is: How many days can I leave the onion o do I need to replace it every night ?

    Thank you very much

  22. Micah Marquez says

    Swear by this! My son’s (3-year old) cough and cold lasts usually around 3-4 days only. My remedies are…
    – simmering garlic, lemon, oregano leaves, and honey and putting that mixture in his whole-day water
    – giving him soup in every meal
    – giving him sips of water as often as I can
    – highdosing on vitamin C (ascorbic acid for tough tummies and sodium ascorbate for the sensitive ones)
    – cutting onions in half and putting a slice just in front of his nose when he’s sleeping

    The last one works like magic and is a huge help when his cough disturbs him at night. It silences the barking in as quick as a couple of minutes! Hope these work.

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