Don’t Throw That Out! The Healing Power Of Onion Skins

Some onion skin picked on a brown bag background

Something that we usually throw away when we cook, could be more valuable than the actual vegetable. Recent research confirms that the outer skins of onions provide an exceptionally rich source of plant compounds called flavonoids, especially the powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound, quercetin.

Quercetin is under study as an agent for lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, fighting allergies, reducing inflammation, enhancing muscle growth and function, treating depression, some forms of cancer, and other conditions.The substance is also said to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Although the skin is not edible, the benefits can be reaped by adding it to stock. To extract quercetin and other beneficial plant compounds that onions skins might contain, toss a whole onion or two, scales and all, into the pot next time you make soup, put a stew into the crock pot, or cook rice.

RELATED: Three Health Benefits Of Liver And Onions (Seriously!)

Because plants can’t move around, they have to manufacture what they need, not merely to grow, but to defend, protect, and heal themselves. It makes sense that the compounds plants produce in response to stress would help a human under similar circumstances.

It also makes sense that plants would concentrate many of these protective compounds in the outer coverings–skins and peels of various roots and fruits–the point where most environmental assaults would likely occur.

An onion-skin infusion has a long reputation as a softening and smoothing hair rinse. Just run the strained onion-skin broth through freshly washed hair a few times and let it air dry.

There are other vegetable skins and leaves we tend to throw away, but are actually more beneficial to our bodies.

Broccoli leaves are also usually discarded but are full of vitamins A and C. The leaves can be…