Almost each recipe in Greek cuisine start with “tsigarizo” sissle (lightly fry) an onion and/or garlic in olive oil. Why is that? For thousands of years, onions were well known from Ancient China, Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt like a spice. Reports were in Homer, Herodotus, Theophrastus, Dioskorides. Today, is mainly known for its use in cuisine as a spice rather than a herb and “medicine” for our body.
It contains glycosides, a plant hormone called inulin and a great amount of vitamin C and other vitamins, micronutrients and minerals. Onions are a big factor of health and longevity. Also, eating onions in a daily basis helps with cough and cold. Onions can reduce the blood pressure, helps in kidney function and strengthens heart and neurological system. It have so many healing properties where the following are only the main: antiseptic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antitoxic, spasmolytic, ant-rheumatic, digestive, anti-thrombotic, aphrodisiac. Eating raw onion “opens” the appetite and stimulates the digestion. Although if you have a sensitive stomach it is better to avoid consuming raw onion. Folklore medicine in Greece used fresh poultice of onions and other herbs for various external use diseases. Some of the were various skin problems from bacteria or viruses, to burns, ulcers, muscles’ traumas, hemorrhoids, acne, dried skin from cold, toothache.
There is a great support for onion’s properties against the flu, colds, pneumonia, sniffles and coughs. For these, herbal medicine often quotes that onion is of the outmost importance in nutrition mainy for elderly and it is the cheapest medicine for precaution.
The lightly sissled onion with olive oil is the best combination and the best first step for a nutritious and healthy recipe. Also, “tsigarisma” reveals all the great aromas of the onion. If you have a stomach problem try to replace an amount of oil with water. Use only olive oil because of the “good fat” it contains and its resistance in high temperatures. But the truth is this: eating onion in every way, raw, boiled, sissled (in olive oil) offers wellness and flavor.
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication