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Boost Your Immunity :: DIY Onion Syrup Recipe

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." ~ Hippocrates

Feeling under the weather? Here's a delicious and easy natural remedy to boost immunity and help combat respiratory illnesses like colds and coughs, and you probably already have the ingredients ready and waiting in your kitchen!

Onion syrup is a traditional remedy dating back centuries, revered for its medicinal properties in various cultures around the world.

Despite being commonly used as a culinary ingredient, onions boast surprising medicinal properties that have been recognised for centuries.

Benefits of Onion Syrup:

  1. Immune-Boosting: Onions and honey are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and copper which are essential for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections and keeping the body healthy. Additionally, honey has antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infections and support the body's natural defence mechanisms.

  2. Anti-Inflammatory: Onions contain antioxidant compounds like quercetin, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds help reduce swelling and irritation in the respiratory tract, making onion syrup particularly effective for soothing coughs and sore throats.

  3. Antioxidant-Rich: Honey is packed with antioxidants, such as flavonoids and phenolic acids, which help support the immune system by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.

  4. Reduces Congestion: Onions contain sulphur compounds, known for their natural expectorant qualities and help to alleviate congestion in the respiratory tract. They also have powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties, making them effective in fighting off respiratory illnesses like colds and coughs.

  5. Soothing: The thick consistency of onion syrup coats the throat, providing instant relief from coughs and irritation. This soothing effect helps calm coughing fits and promotes restful sleep, allowing the body to heal more effectively.

This remedy holds a special place in my heart, as my mum would whip up a batch whenever I fell ill as a child, and I loved it. It's a testament to its deliciousness that it was a favourite even among children (though it's important to note that it's not suitable for babies under 1 year old due to the honey content).

Here is the basic recipe and then read on below for other herbs you can add for extra health benefits:

  • 2 red or white onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup of raw, local, or medicinal-grade (eg. Manuka) honey

  • 1 lemon, juiced (optional - for an extra hit of vitamin C)

  1. Place the sliced onions in a clean jar.

  2. Pour honey over the onions until they are completely covered.

  3. Squeeze the lemon juice over the honey and onions.

  4. Stir well to combine.

  5. Let it sit for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight, to allow the onions to release their juices and infuse the mixture.

  6. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Choosing Your Honey:

  1. Raw Honey: Raw honey is unprocessed and unfiltered, meaning it retains all of its natural enzymes, antioxidants, and nutrients. It also contains pollen particles, which can help desensitise allergies and boost immune function. Using raw honey in your syrup ensures that you're getting all the goodness nature has to offer, without any added sugars or preservatives.

  2. Local Honey: Local honey is sourced from bees that collect nectar from flowers in your area. Consuming local honey is believed to help build immunity to local pollen, reducing seasonal allergy symptoms when consumed regularly.

  3. Manuka Honey: Manuka honey is a special type of honey native to New Zealand, produced by bees that pollinate the Manuka bush. It is known for its potent antimicrobial properties, thanks to high levels of methylglyoxal (MGO), a compound with strong antibacterial activity. Manuka honey is often used to support wound healing, fight infections, and soothe sore throats. Incorporating Manuka honey into your onion syrup can provide an extra boost of antimicrobial power and immune support.

Whether you choose raw, local, or Manuka honey, selecting a high-quality honey ensures that you're getting the maximum health benefits from your onion syrup.

Enhancing Your Onion Syrup

While the basic onion syrup recipe is potent on its own, you can supercharge its effectiveness by adding various herbs to address specific symptoms and conditions. Here are some herbs you can incorporate into your syrup to tailor it to your needs:

1. Antimicrobial Herbs:

   - Thyme: Known for its antimicrobial properties, thyme can help fight off bacterial and viral infections in the respiratory tract. It also has expectorant properties, making it useful for clearing congestion and phlegm.

   - Oregano: Rich in compounds like carvacrol and thymol, oregano has strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It can help combat respiratory infections and support immune function.

   - Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, a compound with potent antimicrobial properties. Adding garlic to your syrup can help boost its infection-fighting abilities and promote overall respiratory health.

2. Soothing Demulcents and Anti-inflammatories:

   - Marshmallow Root: With its high mucilage content, marshmallow root soothes and coats the throat, providing relief from dryness and irritation. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling in the respiratory tract.

   - Liquorice Root: Liquorice root is a powerful demulcent that helps soothe sore throats and calm coughs. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the respiratory system.

3. Pain-Relieving Herbs:

   - Ginger: Ginger has natural analgesic properties that can help relieve throat pain and inflammation. It also acts as an expectorant, helping to loosen mucus and ease congestion.

   - Peppermint: Peppermint contains menthol, which has a cooling effect on the throat and helps alleviate pain and discomfort. It also acts as a decongestant, helping to clear nasal passages and relieve sinus pressure.

   - Cloves: Cloves contain eugenol, a compound with natural analgesic properties that can help alleviate pain and discomfort, particularly in the throat and mouth. They also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties to further contribute to easing discomfort and promoting healing.

Simply add 1-2tsp of your chosen herbs to the jar before adding the honey, stir well to combine, and leave overnight to infuse. You can use fresh, dried or powdered herbs, or herbal tinctures or fluid extracts.

By incorporating these herbs into your onion syrup, you can create a potent elixir that not only soothes symptoms but also helps your body fight off infections and heal more quickly. Experiment with different combinations to find the blend that works best for you, and enjoy the benefits of nature's medicine cabinet in your own kitchen.

Homemade onion syrup is a simple yet powerful remedy for respiratory issues like coughs and colds. With its immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich, and soothing properties, onion syrup offers a natural alternative to over-the-counter medications. Give this recipe a try next time you're feeling under the weather and let nature's goodness work its magic!

Stay well, friends! 💚

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