Listening to a sweet infant cry for hours because of colic can drive parents to try just about anything to relieve the pain. One old wives’ tale for soothing colic (intense, prolonged, unexplainable crying) is adding a spoonful of onion water to the baby’s bottle. The thought is that onion is a good source of vitamins, fiber, nutrition, and aids in the digestion of food — so maybe it soothes the child in some way?
Colic is NOT necessarily due to gas in your baby, but many parents seem to think there’s a connection between digestive issues and irritability. Since onions naturally aid in digestion by providing the gut microbiome with valuable prebiotics, many cultures like to introduce onions to their children as soon as possible. Then, as the child grows, they will naturally want to include onions in their meals out of habit and ease.
Onions are also a good source of bioavailable vitamin C, which is absolutely vital for helping your baby’s body create collagen, combat damaging free radicals, and maintain immunity.
So far, no scientific data has been able to link onion water to the reduction of colic in babies, but there’s really no harm in trying it as a home remedy. Some other popular home remedies for colic include basil leaves boiled in water (for its antispasmodic properties), peppermint oil massaged into the child’s tummy, and gripe water (a blend of chamomile, fennel, ginger, and lemon balm).
Now knowing as much as we do about the gut (and operating under the assumption that colic is tied to digestive problems), it’s probably smarter to add some fermentation to baby’s diet, instead. Try a raw, fermented coconut milk, or an unpasteurized, fermented cow’s milk (if you can find it). And if baby is old enough to eat solid food, you can add a little fermented carrot or cabbage to his/her diet for more regularity and less nausea & indigestion.
So what to do with all that boiled onion water if not use it for colic?
Don’t throw it out! You can wash your hair with it, like rapper Cardi B does for more hydration and shine.
As it turns out, the practice of rinsing onion water through the hair is a longstanding ayurvedic practice. It’s also a generational secret of Dominican women passed down for generations.
William Gaunitz, a certified trichologist (hair and scalp expert), says that many of his hair loss patients have been trying onion water in their hair for years — to pretty good results.
According to Cardi B, she boiled her onions in water (the same as a colic recipe) and then used the infused liquid as a hair rinse for the end of her shower. Other people, Gaunitz said, will blend the onions in a food processor with water to make a type of onion slush. And some folks will even add pieces of onions directly to their shampoo and wash their hair as normal (if that’s the route you choose, you’ll want to wash it a second time with regular shampoo to get the smell out, most likely).
Gaunitz explains why onion water can help both hair and scalp: “Since sulfur is a common OTC treatment for inflammatory skin conditions when applied to the scalp, it works for many people who have inflammatory hair loss issues.”
Let us know on our Instagram page how your foray into onion water goes, either for baby or for bae.