Does TikTok's Onion Water Hack Really Work?

TikTok is a place where you can learn about anything. From the latest in news to entertainment to beauty — TikTok allows professionals to deliver fun, well-researched videos directly to their audience. The downside, however, is that anyone with an internet connection can sign up, make videos, and spout off absolute nonsense if they chooseIn fact, 20% of videos that appear in the search include misleading info, according to NewsGuard (via CNN). And while misinformation is never good, it's especially harmful when it revolves around supposed health hacks. 

If you've recently perused the app, you might have noticed the latest health hack gaining traction: onion water, which is supposedly effective in helping to fight off various ailments, including the common cold and the flu. "I have been sick, literally, for the last three weeks, probably for the last month, with a severe sinus infection," shared user @spilling_the_sweet_tea in her video. "Honestly, today — yesterday maybe — was the first time I've felt myself." The user credited drinking onion water, sharing that it alleviated the "severe pressure in her head and ears." However, the video which appears to have fueled the trend's popularity comes from user @earthenchild, where she gives a detailed tutorial on how to cut an onion to prepare the water. "How to make onion water to help you heal from RSV, infections sinus, cough, cold n to stay healthy," she captioned the video.

Now, doctors are chiming in with their opinions about onion water's supposed healing powers.

Doctors say skip the onion water

Given that flu season is in full swing, many doctors have given their professional opinions on using onion water to treat various sicknesses. According to Dr. Kitty O' Hare, senior medical director for pediatrics at Duke Primary Care, who spoke with Today, this TikTok trend isn't all that new. "Onion as a treatment for colds and flus is a home remedy that's been around for centuries actually," shared Dr. O'Hare. However, "There is not a lot of clear science behind it. ... It has been around for a very long time, but there isn't clear research showing that it has a benefit for your average person for coughs, colds and flus." Dr. Jason Nagata, who works at the University of California, San Francisco as an assistant pediatrics professor, echoed similar sentiments. "I'm not aware of any scientifically proven studies that show any kind of benefit for colds or respiratory symptoms," Nagata shared with Today. 

With that said, doctors aren't against consuming onions, which is an extremely healthy food. According to WebMD, onions help lower the chance of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, in addition to providing a great source of fiber and various other nutrients. Just don't place too much stock in TikTok's other supposed onion health hack, which involves cutting up onions and using them as filters to keep germs and viruses at bay. Dana Ellis Hunnes, a clinical dietician and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who spoke with Insider, denounced that claim as well.  

Long story short? Leave the onions for the dinner table.