Using cabbage leaves for inflammation may not be your first choice when your joints ache but it should be. In fact, you may want to make this natural remedy for arthritis and joint pain the first step in your pain relief regimen.
Does cabbage help inflammation?
Moms may remember using cabbage leaves to reduce engorgement when they stopped breastfeeding. A cool cabbage not only relieved pain, but it also decreased swelling and inflammation. So it makes sense that cabbage leaves would have a similar effect on inflamed joined.
Researchers aren’t sure whether there’s a compound in the leaf that neutralizes pain and counteracts swelling, or if these are simply side effects of using the cabbage leaf as a cold compress. However, studies show that cabbage leaves are effective treatment methods for breast engorgement and joint pain.
Using Cabbage for Inflammation
Making a “cabbage bandage” to harness the inflammation-fighting powers of cabbage leaves is easy. All you need is cabbage (red or green is fine, though red cabbage is more likely to leave behind stains), aluminum foil, a cutting board, a rolling pin (wine bottles and tin cans are great alternatives), gauze, and an oven. Keep reading to learn how to make a cabbage bandage in five easy steps.
Wash your cabbage before cutting away the stem.
Peel off one large leaf and place it on your cutting board. Hit it hard enough to “bruise” it but not so hard that it breaks apart. This step releases the cabbage’s healing “juices.”
Wrap the leaf in aluminum foil and heat in the oven for two to three minutes to soften it. Make sure the leaf is not hot to touch when you remove it from the oven.
Place the cabbage leaf directly on your skin and wrap it in place with gauze. Let the cabbage bandage sit for up to an hour. You can even wear the bandage overnight if it does not irritate your skin.
Repeat steps two through four for each leaf as needed. You may even use skip step three if you don’t have time.
While applying cabbage topically to reduce inflammation may be effective, you can also heal yourself from the inside out by adding more cabbage to your diet. Anthocyanins and flavinoids in cabbage give it its inflammation-reducing abilities, plus they may also cause an unintended but possibly welcome side effect: weight loss. It sounds like Mom was right to force you to finish your cabbage.