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Thread: Cabbage Leaves

  1. #1

    Default Cabbage Leaves

    I just came across this and I thought it was interesting so I wanted to share..

    Why does cabbage work as treatment for mastitis, and painful breasts when breastfeeding?

    * 19 May 2007
    * From New Scientist Print Edition.

    I am a midwife and a mother, and recommend using cabbage leaves for swollen, painful breastfeeding breasts, milk suppression and mastitis. I tell affected women to line their bras with the cold leaves. It seems to work, but does anybody know why? Could the same treatment work for breast cysts?

    Cabbage is part of European folk medicine and has been described as a poor man's poultice (see If there are controlled trials of the healing power of cabbages, they are not easy to find - Ed

    Cold cabbage leaves will have the simple effect of a cold compress, and reduce heat in the same way as a cold flannel might (but without the drips). However, the beneficial effects of the cabbage are increased if you heat the leaves, by running a hot iron over them or by blanching in boiling water, before applying. The heat releases various anti-inflammatory chemicals as well as phytohormones. Leaving the leaves in the bra will have a slow-release effect as the body warms them and draws out beneficial chemicals.

    Hot cabbage poultices have also been used for sprains and strains and to draw out splinters. I used the above remedy to treat a breast abscess (a side-effect of mastitis) resistant to antibiotics. Greek women used vine leaves for the same purpose. It would be interesting to find out if the leaves have the same chemicals in them.

    Vivienne Tuffnell, Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK

    Cabbages are members of the Brassicaceae, a large and diverse plant family. Among many other chemicals, brassicas produce glucosinolate compounds, one of which, sinigrin (potassium myronate), gives rise to the pungent smell associated with cooking cabbage.

    In the presence of water and the brassica enzyme myrosinase, sinigrin forms "mustard oils", which are noted throughout history for their healing properties when applied as a poultice. Crushed or chopped leaves are applied externally as a counter-irritant to ease swellings and painful joints and to cleanse infections, and a warming sensation can be experienced in the skin. Mustard oils can lead to blistering, however, so must be used with caution.

    Richard Eden, Consultant botanist, Southampton, Hampshire, UK
    From issue 2604 of New Scientist magazine, 19 May 2007, page 93

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Thats really interesting

    I would try it if i have sore BBs with this bubs

  3. #3
    Enchanted Guest


    That's is great Chloe... thanks!

    The leaves worked for me when I has mastitis!!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Wow, I had always wondered why they work.

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