Allium cepa L.

DeFilipps, Robert A. & Krupnick, Gary A., 2018, The medicinal plants of Myanmar, PhytoKeys 102, pp. 1-341: 4-5

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Allium cepa L.


Allium cepa L. 


Myanmar: kyet-thun-ni oo-gyi, shakau (Kachin), kaisun (Chin), canone casaun (Mon). English: garden onion, onion.


Original range unknown; now only known in cultivation. Cultivated in all parts of Myanmar with the exception of the extremely cold regions.


Root (Bulb): Used in the treatment of flatulence, dysentery, and as a stimulant, diuretic and expectorant. Sweet and hot with some heating and diuretic properties, the onion is used to control flatulence, phlegm, fever and cough. It is also used to relieve nausea, stimulate the appetite, and fortify semen. Adults eat onion bulbs raw to alleviate urine blockages, but children with the same condition have roasted bulbs applied while still warm over the body area near the bladder. Children also drink onion juice mixed with sugar and chilled as a sherbet drink for diarrhea and infections that cause burning during urination. Mixed with a bit of sugar, half a tablespoon of fresh onion juice is ingested to treat bleeding hemorrhoids. Mixed with a bit of salt, onion juice is applied as eyedrops to alleviate night-blindness. For ear infections, either the warm juice of roasted onions or the juice of unroasted onions are used as eardrops. The milky liquid from cut onions, mixed with edible lime, is applied to scorpion sting to neutralize the venom. The onion is also used in mixtures to treat trembling and weakness in men (illness not specified in Agriculture Corporation 1980), thinness and weakness in women (illness not specified in Agriculture Corporation 1980), pain from flatulence, and illnesses that cause chest pain. Seed: To increase vitality, onion seeds are crushed and ingested.


Medicinal uses of this species in India are discussed in Jain and DeFilipps (1991). Chemical constituents, pharmacological action, and medicinal use of this species in Indian Ayurveda are discussed in detail by Kapoor (1990).

Details of the active chemical compounds, effects, herbal usage and pharmacological literature of this plant are given in Fleming (2000). Toxicity of this species is discussed by Bruneton (1999). Traditional medicinal uses, chemical constituents and pharmacological activity of this species are discussed by Ross (2001). An extract of the dried plant was found to have a potent and prolonged hypoclycemic effect on artificially induced diabetes in rats and rabbits.


Mya Bwin and Sein Gwan (1967), Agricultural Corporation (1980).