Cabbage Leaf Wraps for Arthritic Knees

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Unbelievably, a randomized managed trial of cabbage leaf wraps for arthritis was printed.

In a bit of the British Medical Journal referred to as “Minerva,” the place fascinating little snippets are compiled, an image was printed of a lady who had taped a cabbage leaf to her knee. She mentioned that was the one measure that supplied reduction from the signs of her osteoarthritis. You possibly can see the photograph at 0:12 in my video Benefits of Cabbage Leaves on the Knee for Osteoarthritis. Some medical doctors responded with bemusement, and one other was amazed—“not amazed {that a} cabbage leaf was used, however that this was thought of newsworthy.” That physician disclosed she could also be a little bit biased, although, admitting to being a cabbage-leaf-user herself.

Wrote one other reader, “Freshly washed cabbage leaves are recognized in European people drugs because the poor man’s poultice. There may be nothing new about this historical treatment used to assist scale back all types of painful swelling…So there’s nothing freakish or silly in regards to the girl pictured in Minerva who used it over her painful knee.” I didn’t notice it was such a sensitive subject. 

In fact, how may we all know if it really works? We’d want a randomized managed trial of topical cabbage leaves for osteoarthritis, and we received simply that.

The research: “Efficacy of Cabbage Leaf Wraps within the Remedy of Symptomatic Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized Managed Trial.” How did the research even get funded? A household basis stepped ahead and paid for it. I like that. In reality, it was the muse of Germany’s former President and First Girl. In any case, “Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is without doubt one of the commonest power ailments amongst older adults.” So, why not take a look at the results of cabbage leaf wraps?

Sufferers with confirmed osteoarthritis of the knees had been randomly assigned to one among three therapies for 4 weeks: a cabbage leaf on their knees day-after-day, a topical ache gel containing an anti-inflammatory drug, or neither, simply “ordinary care.” (Even higher would have been a fourth group making use of iceberg lettuce leaves, for instance, however I’ll take what I can get.)

At 2:13 in my video, I present a graph of ache depth over the 28-day experiment. The topical gel didn’t work a lot better than doing nothing all, however the cabbage leaf remedy really labored in decreasing ache depth. Total, the research “discovered {that a} 4-week software of CLWs [cabbage leaf wraps] was more practical than UC [usual care] with respect to ache, purposeful incapacity, and high quality of life. It was, nonetheless, not superior to a 4-week software of topical treatment” within the ultimate evaluation. Since cabbage leaves are “secure and could also be utilized in the long run,” why not give them a attempt if in case you have osteoarthritis of the knee?

It additionally wouldn’t harm if you happen to ate some as properly, as cabbage could have inner anti-inflammatory potential as properly. In reality, the anti-inflammatory results could explain the well being advantages of cabbage and different cruciferous household greens. And I’m not simply talking about potent anti-inflammatory results in petri dishes, however in folks, too. In a single research, ten days of broccoli consumption in people who smoke cut C-reactive protein ranges 40 p.c! Okay, however what about for arthritis?

In vitro, sulforaphane, the magic cabbage chemical, protects cartilage from destruction, suggesting {that a} food regimen excessive in cabbage or different cruciferous greens “could also be a helpful measure both to forestall or to sluggish the development of OA,” osteoarthritis. However, as you possibly can see at 3:38 in my video, even when sulforaphane can protect cartilage cells in a petri dish, how do we all know the compound makes it into our joints after we eat it? I imply, nobody has ever achieved a research the place folks eat broccoli after which a needle is caught of their knee joints to verify. Nobody, that’s…till now.

And, certainly, sulforaphane was detected within the synovial fluid of 40 sufferers with osteoarthritis after broccoli consumption, adopted by vital epigenetic adjustments of gene expression throughout the joint. The subsequent step is to see if it may well really enhance the illness.

Knees aren’t the physique components cabbage has been examined on. Keep tuned for my video about the usage of cabbage leaves for mastitis!


  • Cabbage leaves, often called “the poor man’s poultice” in European people drugs, have been used to assist scale back painful swelling.
  • Some of the frequent power ailments amongst older adults is osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Researchers randomized osteoarthritis sufferers to one among three teams for a month: cabbage leaves on their knees day-after-day, a topical ache gel containing an anti-inflammatory, or nothing however “ordinary care.” The day by day cabbage leaf wraps had been more practical than ordinary care almost about ache, purposeful incapacity, and high quality of life, however not compared with a month of topical treatment software.
  • Since cabbage leaves are “secure and could also be utilized in the long run,” they could be value making an attempt to alleviate ache brought on by osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • Consuming cabbage can also be useful, as cruciferous greens have confirmed anti-inflammatory results. As an illustration, people who smoke decreased their C-reactive protein ranges by 40 p.c after solely ten days of consuming broccoli.
  • Sulforaphane, a potent chemical in crucifers, has been proven in vitro to guard cartilage from destruction.
  • When studied in folks as a substitute of a petri dish, sulforaphane was certainly detected within the synovial fluid of osteoarthritis sufferers after broccoli consumption.

For extra on pure therapies for arthritis, see:

What’s that sulforaphane stuff I discussed? Take a look at:

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: For those who haven’t but, you possibly can subscribe to my free movies here and watch my dwell displays:

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