How to Apply Raw Cabbage Leaves for the Relief of Joint Pain

Some people swear by wrapping cabbage leaves around painful joints to ease discomfort.
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Not all home remedies for joint pain work; however, this does not stop people with arthritis, gout and other types of joint pain from trying new things. Cabbage has been used as a folk remedy for hundreds of years to soothe painful joints. It is high in vitamins and phytonutrients as well as anthocyanins and glutamine, both containing anti-inflammatory properties, as reported in the NY Times Fitness and Nutrition section. Although the evidence in anecdotal, cabbage leaves wrapped around painful joints may help with joint pain relief for some people. If pain persists, consult a health professional.


Things You'll Need

  • Cabbage, preferably red cabbage

  • Self-stick gauze bandage

  • Plastic or foil wrap

  • Oven

  • Rolling pin, wine bottle or meat hammer

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Step 1

Place cabbage leaves, preferably from red cabbage, on a cutting board and cut out the hard stem with a sharp knife. Use a wine bottle, rolling pin or meat hammer to gently bruise the leaves, releasing some of the cabbage juices.

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Step 2

Wrap the cabbage leaves in foil and place in the oven for a few minutes to warm them and make the leaves pliable. Test temperature to assure they are warm, not hot, to the touch.

Step 3

Layer the warm cabbage leaves around the painful joint until it is completely encased with the leaves. If leaves feel too hot, allow them to cool for a minute before applying to the skin. Hold the leaves in place by wrapping with self-stick gauze bandage and cover the entire poultice with plastic wrap or aluminum foil to contain the warmth.

Step 4

Leave the cabbage leaves wrapped around the joint for at least one hour, and longer if desired. Using new cabbage leaves, re-wrap the joint at a later time or the next day for continued relief. The poultice can be left on overnight.


Step 5

Unwrap the cabbage leaves when the poultice cools and discard. Hopefully, you will feel less pain in the affected joint. If this home remedy works for you, it is an inexpensive way to treat painful joints without side effects.


Red cabbage contains anthocyanins, the same compound found in tart cherry juice and blueberries. Anthrocyanins not only gives the cabbage its color, but the antioxidants are known to reduce joint pain and inflammation, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center.

Both red and green cabbage is being studied by researchers for its anti-cancer properties and the healing effects of cabbage juice on peptic ulcers and other digestive organs, according to Amy Paturel, M.S., M.P.H. in her report, "The 13 Most Powerful Super Foods."


It is rare to experience an allergy to cabbage, but if you have any swelling or itching to the skin where the cabbage poultice is place, remove the leaves immediately. Consult a health practitioner if the irritation continues or worsens.




Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.