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Raw Onion to Quell Pain of Sting

Applying the cut surface of a raw onion to the site of a sting can stop the pain quickly and minimize swelling.
Raw Onion to Quell Pain of Sting

You may have simple ingredients in your kitchen cupboard that can ease pain in an emergency. Perhaps you have read about using soy sauce or yellow mustard to cool the pain of a burn. No doubt you are aware that baking soda can be used as a quick antacid. Maybe you have even tried pouring ground black pepper on a cut to make it stop bleeding. But what about a sting? Have you tried raw onion on a bee or wasp sting to stop the pain fast?

Raw Onion for Insect Stings:

Q. My daughter was pulling weeds and vines from around a tree when something flew up and stung her. I remembered reading about raw onion for stings. It immediately seemed to help. Thank you for writing about this!

A. We have heard from numerous readers who have applied raw onion to a bee or wasp sting and gotten relief. Decades ago, we spoke with Dr. Eric Block of the State University of New York. This world-renowned chemist told us that fresh-cut onions have ingredients that can break down the chemical in insect venom that causes pain and inflammation.

Not all stings respond to onion, although it seems to work pretty well on bee and wasp stings. Try it out if you have the unfortunate occasion to do so. Let us know how it works for you.

NB: A serious sting reaction requires immediate medical attention since sting allergies can be deadly.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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