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Natural healing: anti-inflammatory cabbage compress

Cabbage's anti-inflammatory properties may help joint pain due to arthritis and sports injuries.

We’ve talked some about the nutritional benefits of cabbage in the past. It is high in nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium. It also makes for a delicious addition to stir fry and salads. But what you probably don’t know is that cabbage can also be used externally to treat injuries.

Yes that’s right, the mighty cabbage strikes again.

For centuries cabbage has been used to treat swelling and bruising of the skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties have been used to treat joint pain due to arthritis and sports injuries. Although the proof is more anecdotal than medicinal, this is a low-risk and low-cost way to try a natural remedy for your twisted ankle or wonky knee.

You can use any kind of cabbage such as savoy or green cabbage. I might avoid red cabbage, however, as it may stain the skin or bandage you use to wrap it.

If you’re curious about cabbage compresses, here is how to try it at home:

  1. Buy a large, organic (if possible) cabbage.
  2. Peel away an outer leaf and wash thoroughly.
  3. Dry the leaf then use a knife to cut out the hard stem.
  4. Place cabbage leaf on a counter, using a rolling pin or a glass bottle gentle bruise the leaf to release the natural juices.
  5. Place the cabbage leaf directly over the affected joint or area.
  6. Cover the leaf with a gauze or bandage and elevate the area if possible.
  7. Keep your cabbage compress on the affected area for up to an hour. You can repeat this process with another cabbage leaf 2-3 times per day.

Cabbage leaves can also create great warm or cold compresses. For a cold compress, refrigerate the cabbage before you begin the process above. For a warm compress, microwave a leaf for 15-30 seconds. You can then skip the rolling pin step, as the heat will bring out the juices of the cabbage.

Written by Lisa Chase.