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Cabbage isn’t just for slaw and sauerkraut – although those are wonderful uses! Cabbage leaves also have a proven history as a treatment for wounds and swellings.

An old Irish blessing reads, "May the leaves of your cabbage always be free from worms."

Ancient armies carried cabbage for use not only as a food, but as a wound dressing that fought infection. The explorers of the 17th and 18th centuries carried Vitamin C rich cabbage with them as a natural preventative of scurvy. On one of Captain Cook's voyages sailors injured in a storm had their wounds bound with cabbage to help prevent gangrene.

Cabbage leaves act as a diuretic, and they contain powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Cabbage juice is rich in lactic acid, a known anti-bacterial. Applied to the skin, these compounds are remarkably effective at relieving swelling and the pain associated with it.

There’s not a simpler remedy for engorged and painful breasts than the application of raw cabbage leaves. Bruise a couple of cabbage leaves. Cap a leaf over the affected breast. Use a bra to hold the leaf in place next to the skin. Wear it for a few hours. Noticeable relief can be detected by the following day.

The leaf of the cabbage is an effective treatment for the pain of swellings due to sports injuries and strains. Apply ice and elevate the injured limb to curb initial swelling. Then apply the cabbage leaf compress two or three times daily until pain and swelling subside. You may want to hold it in place with a cloth bandage. If you’ve been slow to recover from a sprained ankle, this remedy is worth a try.

Arthritis sufferers can often reduce the amount of medication they must use or eliminate it completely with the application of a cabbage leaf dressing. The cabbage leaf helps eliminate waste products from the body.

Use leaves as a poultice on other skin conditions such as psoriasis, burns and ulcers. Flatten layers of cabbage leaves with a rolling pin. Wrap leaves around affected areas of skin until the leaves turn yellow. Change the leaves and repeat until the wounds heal. Between reapplications, clean and dry the wounds.

To apply a cabbage leaf dressing:
Use clean leaves and – if at all possible – ones that have been grown organically. Peel off the outer layers of cabbage and remove the hard stem. Bruise them slightly with a rolling pin or other hard cylinder. Use gauze or other cotton cloth to hold the leaves in place. An additional layer of plastic wrap can be applied, unless you are dressing a burn. Keep the cabbage wrap on the area for two to four hours. You may want to repeat the process, using new leaves. Some people apply the leaves at bedtime and keep the poultice on overnight.

If you are interested in reading more about how to use leaves as dressings, I highly recommend the book, COMFORT FOR THE BURNED AND WOUNDED by John W. Keim. At the time of publication, the author of this book had over 20 years of experience in treating wounds with natural dressings. In this small book, he details case histories and the results of various treatments. I have found his recommendations regarding the use of plantain leaf to be very valuable as a first aid application in various circumstances. He doesn’t claim to be a doctor, nor is he medically trained. However, this is a fascinating read whether or not you are in the medical field.


Missy Shay said...

That is fascinating, who would have thought to use cabbage leaves? Isn't it amaing the natural food that God gives us to heal our bodies?

Kay said...

Yes, I first heard about this remedy from a man that is over 100 years old and very independent. He avoids any joint deterioration by treating aches and pains with this remedy. He has a very healthy diet and an active lifestyle & uses food as his medicine.

Unknown said...

Yes it is... any ailment can be treated with something natural....God is great and all we have to do nowadays is look on-line!

The Golden Girl said...

I start using for my swolen leg after a tib/fib surgery. It is amazing and no meds need it.

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