In the world of unconventional remedies, the trend of placing onions in socks to combat cold and flu symptoms has gained attention. 

While home remedies have been a part of traditional medicine, the efficacy of this particular method has sparked curiosity and skepticism. 

Here’s a deep dive into what experts have to say about the use of onions in socks as a cold and flu treatment.

  1. The onion-in-socks trend
  2. Expert opinions
  3. The power of onion compounds


The concept behind this remedy involves placing slices of onion in socks before bedtime, with the idea that the natural properties of onions can purportedly draw toxins out of the body and alleviate symptoms of colds and flu. 

“Onion improves circulation and breaks up thick mucus and congestion, making it a great remedy for colds,” according to an excerpt from “Natural Baby and Childcare” by Dr. Lauren Feder.

Advocates of this remedy say that the feet have numerous pores, making them an ideal absorption point for the onion’s beneficial compounds.

“Onion poultices can also be applied to the feet by way of onion socks. To make one, put the prepared onion in a small pouch and place the securely tied poultice in a sock. Fit the sock on your foot so that the pouch securely stays in place on the sole of the foot. Then, sleep overnight with the onion sock,” Feder said. 


While many people still swear by the onion in the bedroom for coughing, the method has never been proven. 

“Cold and flu viruses are spread by contact, not by floating in the air where the onion can supposedly attract or destroy them,” says The National Onion Association, based in Colorado. 

Experts approach this remedy with caution, as it’s never been proven. 

“There are numerous myths and old wives’ tales about certain remedies for cold and flu symptoms, and putting onions in your socks is definitely one of them. However, onions do help with immunity, and they’re very good for you,” Greg Yielding, chief executive at The National Onion Association, told Fox News Digital. 

While onions indeed possess health benefits, including antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, the specific application of placing them in socks for cold and flu relief lacks scientific backing. 

Onions contain sulfur compounds, quercetin and allicin, which contribute to their potential health effects when consumed, according to the National Institute of Health. 

But their effectiveness through skin absorption remains uncertain.

“When cut, onions release compounds that do not promote pathogen growth. Juice released from cut onion is known to kill or inhibit the growth of several types of microorganisms, including some of those capable of causing food poisoning in humans,” according to the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia. 

The practice of placing onions in socks as a treatment for colds and the flu seems to lean more toward a myth rather than solid scientific endorsement.

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