All about the amazing Onion...
I have to give a complete post on the onion alone, to stress how important it is to the fall prep. It is vital to healing everything from the common cold to ear infections, and even pneumonia throughout the winter. Especially for kids who get the green goop often, and are prone to bronchitis!
I know most people reading this will know how to cut an onion, but I like to include the basics for our youth who may not know...so, this is the way I cut onions for most medicinal fall prep. I usually use a stock pot and cut bags and bags of onions, but I will just go through the process with one onion to keep it simple...(this is the time to save the skins for dying fabric and wool too)
Cut both ends...
aim for the core when you cut it in half
peel the outer skin off
chop in fairly large chunks, I make the first cut twice on large onions...yes I did take off that sneaky bit of skin :)
Now add to a Stainless pot with 1/4 cup water, per onion
Simmer until the edges begin to get clear...stirring alot, don't let the onions brown at all. If the water cooks out, add a little more. Once the edges get clear, add in about a half cup more of water, per onion.
Continue simmering until the onions get fairly clear, not completely clear because we are prepping not preparing...
Once they look like this, you are ready for step 2...
At this point I would usually can 2/3 of the onions, including the liquid, in 1/2 gallon jars, to store for the winter. When I use them I will be able to heat them and simmer a tiny bit more to make a compress.
Onion Compress Recipe
1/2 gal prepped onions
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
Simmer for around 5-10 minutes (covered well), then cool until they feel Very warm, but do not burn on the skin, I will not give a temp because each person feels heat differently.
I usually strain off half the liquid and set aside...then pour half the onions into a pillow case, fold it over to trap the onions inside (you might want two thick towels, one under the person and one to cover them, over the compress) Place the compress across the chest, and cover them to keep the heat in. This compress stays on for 20 minutes, so keep the other half of the onions warm. (onions will make the skin red, this is normal as they call the circulation into action and stimulate the glands as the lymph nodes absorb the enzymes.)
The second half of the onions, make the pillowcase compress, and as soon as you remove the chest compress, place the second on the soles of their feet, again for 20 minutes. They might need to sit up for the foot compress because by this point the enzymes in the onions should be doing their magic, and the ill person could begin a very productive cough...sometimes expelling globs of phlegm...
You can then add all the onions and the saved liquid back into the pot, and repeat about 2 or 3 times per day. I just put the pot in the fridge overnight. After 3 days, you should break out a new jar of prepped onions.
You see, the enzymes are in the liquid, but we keep the onion fiber because it holds the warmth super well...
This remedy works well for bronchitis (let me tell you I had one daughter who had chronic bronchitis and this literally saved her life one winter when there was no way to get to the hospital), and any chest congestion really. It will also help to heal sinus infections if they can stand a facial compress. Some people love it because it relieves the pain and feels soothing, others cannot stand having anything on their face...just have a big box of tissues handy, because it is amazing how much will drain from the sinuses.
(I also use an essential oil steam for sinus infection, but that will be a later post)
A little History
Before antibiotics, the main cure for pneumonia, was an onion bath. If it was done soon enough, it was completely effective. They would place the patient in a tub, and then had pots and pots of simmering onions...one person scooping the cooled onions out of the tub, back into a pot to reheat, one stirring and keeping the heated onions warm, and a third pouring the newly warmed onions in around the patient.
They would do this in shifts, until the patient's fever broke.
History is good to know if you ever find yourself with a very ill person and no medical assistance available. Though now I would add in teas and tinctures to go along with the onion bath. (again, in a later post, we still have more onion to cover)
Sooo, that other 1/3 of the onions, I strain to save and bottle the liquid. Again in canning jars for the winter, but 4 oz jars this time.
This, is what we are after...if it is a nice milky colour, you know you have the enzymes you need in it.
Now those pesky ear aches and ear infections...
Most often infections occur when there is too much wax in the ears, and it traps bacteria...normally the ears will flush out bacteria in the wax...
We used to see this awesome Dr (when my bronchitis girl was a baby), and he would write prescriptions like this :)
I keep this paper, because I want people to know there are real Doctors out there who are more concerned about health than making money...or at least there were once.
Anyways, this simple remedy Works. Use it, for anyone who has severe wax, or kids who are prone to ear infections or bronchial/sinus (ear, nose, throat issues). Even if the wax has balled up into a hard mass that is blocking their hearing, this works. It will dissolve the wax and clear the ear...as well as kill the infection causing bacteria.
If however there is already an infection it is good to begin with an onion/oil mix. After the pain is relieved, then move on to the good Dr's remedy.
Onion Ear Drops
1 Part (about 1.5 cc) of the onion liquid
3 Parts Sweet Almond Oil
Put these in a small dark glass bottle, cap tightly, and warm in a cup of hot water. Shake, shake, shake...Then with a nifty glass eye dropper, test the warmth on the inside of the wrist, just like a baby bottle. Too cold or too hot will cause extreme pain...then gently add a few drops to each ear. You can do this as many times as the person asks, and with children they ask sometimes every ten minutes because it is soothing. Just give them a clean cloth and show them how to tip each ear to let it drain...
It might take a day or so to heal the infection, but it will clear faster with some echinacea/golden root tea or tincture.
Once the infection has been gone for at least two or three days, then start the vinegar/rubbing alcohol mix. You can alternate with the onion oil mix if they say their ear is getting sore...the alcohol might be uncomfortable in an ear still raw from infection...
Okay, all of that and we have only really covered two uses for our prepped onions...there are more :O...but that is all for today. Once you have your prepped onions and onion liquid stored, the rest is just knowing which ways to use it. They will crop up in later recipes...
NEVER microwave your onions, it will kill off more than half the enzymes you are working so hard to collect!
Always use Stainless Steel or glass for onion prep...there are times for cast iron, but this is not one. (and aluminum is just baaad, almost as bad as teflon. If you have aluminum or teflon pans, now is a good time to toss them ;)...just sayin )
Canning method for onion is pressure...look up your time and pressure according to your altitude and jar size.