Onion, the queen of vegetables

Onion, the queen of vegetables

In traditional home-cooking, onion is very popular. One food critic once said that “without onions there is no cooking culture”, for this reason onions are known as the Queen vegetable. Onion not only has a beautiful taste when cooked, but also an excellent health benefit in traditional Chinese diet therapy.

1. The Health Benefits of Onion

i) Helping to clear the phlegm
In traditional diet therapy text books, it mentions that onions taste spicy with warm characteristics which work on the lung and lung channels. This can help to clear the phlegm (Chinese medicine diagnosis considers the colour of the phlegm and consistency as they are associated with the cause of the phlegm. Due to the different types of phlegm, there are different principals of treatment for each type). Onion can help clear large amounts of white and loose phlegm.

Many people suffer from white, loose phlegm which can cause tightness in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing. During your treatment I advise you to eat a certain amount of onions as it will help to improve your condition.

ii) Helping to improve cholesterol
In traditional diet therapy text books it is stated that certain constituents in onion can help to dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. Due to this it can help to improve cholesterol by clearing it from the blood vessels. Eating certain amounts of onion can help to prevent and improve stroke, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.

In Australia onions are also very popular in dishes ranging from BBQ to a stew. Not only does onions enhance the flavour and the smell of the dish but also are able to balance the food.

2. Recipe

Onions can be eaten raw (red onion as it has a sweeter taste) or cooked. If you suffer from any of the problems associated above, try using half of a medium sized onion in your cooking two or three times a week to help improve your condition.

3. Precautions

i) Due to onions having warm and spicy characteristics, if you have heat in your lung, liver, intestine or stomach area it is best to avoid eating onion. If someone has heat in the lung, liver, intestine and stomach they may suffer from constipation, heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers in the mouth, cold sore, insomnia or vivid dreams, flatulence, sore throat and very yellow thick phlegm.

ii) If the body feels hot, fever, easy to perspire, red face, rash, itchy skin it is also recommended that you avoid eating onion.

iii) It is best not to eat too much onion in one sitting as it may cause too much heat in the body.

iv) If you are unsure of your bodies constitution. Please see your experienced TCM practitioner to find out.


Dr Ping Wang is the clinic founder and senior practitioner of Ping Ming Health. She has over 30 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine teaching and practice. Dr Ping especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of Chinese medicine through our popular clinic articles, seminars and clinical training of students and practitioners.