Can Onions in Socks Fight Off Flu and Cold Symptoms?

February 28, 2016 Updated: January 16, 2018

There’s a theory out there that placing onions—that’s right, onions—in your socks when you sleep can alleviate cold or flu symptoms.

According to some reflexologists, the foot has nerve endings that connect directly to other organs in the body. Here’s a diagram that supposedly explains the process:

And by putting a piece of onion on the foot, it allegedly stimulates the nerve endings.

But some aren’t convinced.

According to hoax-debunking site Snopes, “There’s no medical magic to placing peeled or cut onions around the home: they don’t act as sponges that soak up whatever viruses or other nasty microbes are in their immediate vicinity.”

And About.com says: “While it’s true that eating onions has some proven health benefits, onions are not, contrary to what’s claimed, ‘germ magnets’ capable of absorbing toxins and bacteria from the body or surrounding environment.”

Some people swear by the treatment.

“I was born in what could be considered a Third World Country where there were no fancy medical facilities and only one very old outdated hospital. I remember that when I got sick my grandmother used to put sliced onions on my feet and sliced potatoes on my forehead. Believe it or not this stuff actually worked. The potatoes were especially good for alleviating severe fevers. We rely too much on popping pills that we quickly forget what our grandparents had to endure when they got very sick. We shouldn’t just disregard these sorts of treatments as “old wives tales” as usually there is truth in them,” one person wrote on Facebook.

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