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Spring Onion: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

You might have seen spring onions growing in the home kitchen gardens. It is one of the plants that is grown throughout the year (perennial plant) and cultivated all over the globe. Spring onions are used in flavouring food and used in the preparation of soups, and salads.1 Spring onion strongly resembles onion but there are a few key differences. The spring onion does not develop a full bulb like onions, it has a smaller bulb. The plant stops growing and the leaves wither away during the beginning of the winter season. It originated in Asia and is common in Northeast India.1 The scientific name given to spring onions is Allium fistulosum and it belongs to the family Alliaceae. You might be familiar with some of the species like onions, garlic, chives, leek, etc., which belong to this genus and are important as a medicinal plants. It might have potential health benefits and let us discuss it in the following sections.1 

spring onion benefits

Did you know?

Nutritional Value of Spring Onion: 

Spring onion possesses the following nutrients: 

Nutrient Percentage content 
Carbohydrates 7.34g 
Sugars 2.33g 
Protein 1.83g 
Total fat 0.19g 
Fibre 2.6g 
Potassium 276mg 
Calcium 72mg 
Phosphorous 37mg 
Magnesium 20mg 
Iron 1.48mg 
Sodium 16mg 
Zinc 0.39 
Copper 0.083mg 

Table 1: Depicting the nutrients present in 100g of spring onion2 

The following vitamins are present in spring onion: 

  • Vitamin A (retinol) 
  • Vitamin B1 (niacin) 
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) 
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 
  • Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)2 

Spring onion is a common culinary ingredient. It is known to be high in fibre. From my research and perspective, it may aid in digestion and may relieve constipation.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Dhania (Cilantro): Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Properties of Spring Onion: 

The following properties might be exhibited by spring onion: 

  • It might act as an antioxidant  
  • It might have anti-cancer potential 
  • It might be Anti-microbial 
  • It might lower blood sugar levels (anti-diabetic) 
  • It might be anti-inflammatory 
  • It might have cholesterol-lowering activity (anti-hyperlipidaemic) 
  • It might be helpful for asthma (anti-asthmatic)3 

Recently, I came across a study that states spring onions might promote bone growth. Spring onions are said to have a rich source of minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium that might maintain healthy bones, and promote their growth.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Lemongrass: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Potential Uses of Spring Onion for Overall Health: 

Spring onion might be helpful to humans in different ways and the following are the potential uses of spring onion: 

1. Potential uses of spring onion for oxidative stress 

Studies showed that spring onions may contain different phenolic compounds and these phenolic compounds may help in the antioxidant activity of spring onions. The antioxidant activity of the spring onions may neutralize the free radicals.  Free radicals may increase the oxidative stress in the body which leads to the development of various diseases, mainly caused by damage to tissues and cells. The antioxidants present in spring onion might help in reducing oxidative stress. However, more research is required to claim the effectiveness of spring onions.3 

2. Potential uses of spring onion for bacterial infections 

Studies have shown that spring onion might have the potential to inhibit the growth of bacteria. It might be effective against bacteria like S. aureus, E. coli and P. aeruginosa. Hendrich hypothesised that the antibacterial activity of onion might be due to the presence of flavonoids and polyphenols in it. Furthermore, Jeffery et al. and Pursseglove et al. showed that this potential anti-bacterial activity of spring onion might increase with its concentration. However, such claims need to be proved by further research.3  

3. Potential uses of spring onion for fungal infections 

 Erkin et al. found in their study that onion extract might have potential activity against the fungus Aspergillus niger. Similarly, in various studies, it was found that onion extract might have potential activity against A. niger and A. parasiticus. Kim’s research showed, that green onion might have the ability to decrease the growth of various fungi.3 However, such claims need to be proved by further research.3  

4. Potential uses of spring onion for inflammation 

Spring onions may contain various bioactive components. Chisty et al. study found that these bioactive components like thiosulphinates and capaenes might act as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, these claims need to be further proven by more research.3 Do not self-medicate in case of less immunity power.  

5. Potential uses of spring onion for arthritis 

Spring onions may contain different phenolic compounds and these phenolic compounds may help relieve pain. Tsanova’s research found that spring onions may help in rheumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis by decreasing pain and inflammation. However, much more extensive research is needed to scientifically back-up these claims. Kindly ensure to consult a doctor for conditions such as arthritis and do not self-medicate.3 

Also Read: White Onion: Exploring its Unique Benefits and Nutritional Profile

6. Potential uses of spring onion for asthma 

In a study conducted by Wagner, it was found that spring onions might help in altering histamine release and may help in reducing asthma. Another study by Tsonava et al. supported the findings of this study that, polyphenols present in spring onions might have a positive effect on asthma.  However, these reports need to be further studied in detail. Therefore, kindly do not self-medicate and ensure that you consult a doctor.3 

7. Potential uses of spring onion for cancer 

Spring onions may suppress the tumour cells and may act as an anticancer agent. The bioactive compounds present in the spring onions may inhibit inflammatory, cellular, and molecular markers which are involved in apoptosis (Cell death). Therefore, spring onion might have an anti-cancer potential against colon tumours. However, more extensive research is required to explore the potentiality of spring onion. Cancer is a serious condition and must be diagnosed and treated properly by a doctor.4 

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of spring onion in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of spring onion on human health. 

From my knowledge, spring onions might be your ally in your weight loss journey. Ferulic acid and quercetin are two compounds found in the spring onion that help in reduction of the size and weight of the fat cells. Hence, they may play a significant role in overall body weight loss.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: Red Chilli: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode 

How to Use Spring Onion? 

Spring onions are used all over the world for flavouring various dishes. You can use it to flavour: 

  • Soups  
  • Salads 
  • Stir-fries 
  • Fried vegetables 
  • Boiled  
  • Steamed 1 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking spring onions in large quantities. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Also Read: Shallots vs Onions: Breaking Down the Differences and Nutritional Value

Side Effects of Spring Onion: 

The side effects of spring onions have not been established yet and extensive research is required to state specific side effects of spring onions.  

Precautions to Take with Spring Onion:  

No specific precautions as such need to be taken. However, one must take general precautions and confirm with a doctor whether it is safe for them to eat spring onions. Special care must be exercised by pregnant women, breastfeeding women, children and elderly individuals when taking spring onions in large amounts. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

No such data is available related to spring onion consumption. It is advised that you consult a doctor and confirm if it is safe for you to consume spring onions, especially if you are undergoing any treatment and are on medication for the same.  

Also Read: Banana Flower: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the spring onion benefits? 

Spring onion might be good for health as it might potentially have antioxidant, anti-platelet activity, anti-thrombotic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, anti-cancer, and anti-microbial properties. However, more research is required to ascertain these possible effects of spring onions.3,4 

Are there any green onion benefits for hair? 

There are no valid reports regarding the effects of spring onion on hair. There is a need for more research on this subject. 

What are spring onion benefits for the skin? 

The potentiality of spring onion for skin has not been explored, therefore, there is lacking information on this subject. 

What are the vitamins present in the spring onion? 

Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E and K may present in spring onion.2 

Are spring onion and onion the same? 

No. Spring onion and onion belong to the same genus Allium and have many similarities but are different species. The main difference is that the bulb of a spring onion is smaller compared to that of an onion.1 

References: 

1. Ijeomah C, Amuda O, Babatunde B, Abutu P. Evaluation of Genetic Diversity of Spring Onions (Allium fistulosum) Based on DNA Markers. J Exp Agric Int [Internet]. 2020 Apr 21;(April):23–33. Available from: http://www.journaljeai.com/index.php/JEAI/article/view/30481 

2. Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulbs), raw [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. [cited 2022 Aug 19]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170005/nutrients 

3. Aslam Z, Akhtar S, Imran M, Nadeem M, Gilani S, Elnashar M, et al. Antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory activities, anti-cancer and chemical composition of spring onion (Allium Fistolium) extracts. Res J Pharm Biol Chem Sci. 2017;8:1880–90. Available from: https://espace.curtin.edu.au/handle/20.500.11937/60596 

4. Arulselvan P, Wen CC, Lan CW, Chen YH, Wei WC, Yang NS. Dietary administration of scallion extract effectively inhibits colorectal tumor growth: cellular and molecular mechanisms in mice. PLoS One [Internet]. 2012;7(9):e44658. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23024755 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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