Ask A Pixie, Blog, Herbal Recipes, Herbalism, Recipe Box

Ask A Pixie: #1- Onions and Plantain

Amber Shehan February 28, 2014

ask a pixie

Howdy, folks! I’ve been getting lots of reader questions and comments sent to my inbox, and so I’m beginning a new feature called “Ask A Pixie” where I will answer your queries anonymously as a blog post. Got a question?

Now, bear in mind that I am an herbalist, but not licensed to offer medical advice. What I can do is share experiences, open topics for discussion, and hopefully point you in the right direction to learn more about whatever you need help with, okay? Okay.

After reading about making “Recipe Box: Herbal Cough Syrup (Infusion),” D.C. wrote in and said:

When I was a child, we didn’t have much money.  My mom used to make cough syrup out of water, sugar or honey if she had it and believe it or not, onions.  If she only had sugar, she put everything together in a pan and simmered it down.  If she had honey, she simmered the water and onions, then add the honey when it cooled.  If she had any bourbon, she would add some. She also used the wild plant, plantain, for wounds.  She would pick and wash the leaves then mash them up so she could use the moisture of the leaves, but not to a complete mush.  She would then use them as a poultice.  Seemed to work.

Sure enough, D! Thanks for sharing!  It is true, onions make a fantastic cough and cold cure.  I’ve heard of people cutting an onion in half and laying it on a dish on the sick person’s bedside table overnight.  The lore goes that the onion sucks up the sickness and starts to turn black on the plate.  I’m not sure about that, but I know it is used as you said, in syrups, but also as a poultice on the chest for a bad cough.  Has anyone else used onion in that way?

I have also used plantain like your Mom did for you – they make great bandaids if you are outside and cut yourself. Just wad them up and crumble up a fresh leaf to get the juices flowing, and slap it on the boo-boo. Works great! Yarrow does the same thing, too. It used to be called woundwort!

I’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment and share your experiences, or write me with your questions!

Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. Carolina González on March 1, 2014 at 6:34 am

    Onions and plantain? YES! Two of the most powerful medicines of our generous Mother Earth :).

    • amberpixi on March 1, 2014 at 7:53 am

      That’s right, Carolina…poor, stinky ditch weeds are sometimes the most helpful and overlooked allies! <3

  2. Carol Graham Gallardo on March 2, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Yes onions my dad would make a great big kettle of Onion soup and give it to us for a dinner meal with some crackers and with 9 kids we never really got many colds at all hmmmmm it must have worked

    • amberpixi on March 2, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Yummmm…that reminds me, I went all winter without making onion soup. That must be why it’s going to snow tomorrow – I’d best get to cooking! *grin* Thanks for sharing, Carol!

  3. Henrietta Laundreaux on March 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    The onion poultice my grandmother used for cold and she add added mustard to this you warm this in a cloth .. But be sure not to leave on more that 5-10 mins as it will burn the skin . It worked on my little brother when she administered brother was about the age 1yr. Maybe younger I don’t quite recall .

  4. Kathy Huck on March 2, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    When I had bad cold with that horrid cough, my stepmother would boil onions with lemon, pour in a cup and add a splash of bourbon & some honey. I was well enough to go to school the next day every time.

    • amberpixi on March 4, 2014 at 2:50 pm

      Shoot, Kathy…I’d drink that just for fun! *grin* I bet it made you kids sleep really well!

  5. Maria Gale on March 8, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    I have dietbetes, arthritis and high blood pressure, trying to build up my bones and reduce everything else! Please help with any herbal tips thanks Maria

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