Onion (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.
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