Onion (Allium cepa): Anxiolytic Food?

weight lossOnion (Allium cepa) is rich in phytochemicals, particularly the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin has been shown to interact with the GABAA receptor, and this may explain the anxiolytic effects of quercetin demonstrated in studies, as the GABAA receptors is known to be responsible in part for the control of anxiety. A number of studies have investigated the effects of onion extracts on anxiety. For example, in one study, researchers administered an methanolic extract of onion to mice and exposed them to experimental stress. Oral administration of the onion extract significantly reduced the anxious behaviour displayed by the mice, suggesting that onion extracts may confer anxiolytic properties on animals. In addition, there was a significant reduction in the negative effects of electroshock and drug induced convulsions, suggesting that the onion extract had anti-convulsant effects. As quercetin has been previously been shown to possess anxiolytic effects, there is the possibility that the quercetin in the onion favourably affects neurochemistry.

onions anxiety depression

Plants contain a large number of phytochemicals that appear to cause significant improvements in mental health. Of these the flavonoids appear to be particularly useful in treating anxiety. Onions are a rich source of the flavonoid quercetin. Red onions also contain another group of flavonoids that belong to the anthocyanin subcategory, and which give red onions their colour.

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Pitchaiah, G., Anusha, V. L., Hemalatha, C. H., Kumar, A. and Sravani, K. 2015. Anxiolytic and anticonvulsant activity of methanolic extract of allium cepa Linn (Onion) bulbs in Swiss albino mice. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 4(3): 131-135

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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