Cabbage Leaf Therapy

The change in seasons can be hard on our bodies.  Recently, I woke up one morning with tight lungs, and no warning signs at all.  It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  It wasn't until the second day of feeling miserable that I remembered this magical treatment.

This is the best remedy for bronchitis, or a tight chest with a dry cough.  It's better than over-the-counter cough syrups, which work to suppress coughing and contain a host of bad ingredients.

What You'll Need

  • green cabbage
  • honey or castor oil (optional)
  • a bowl or dish
  • boiling water
  • plastic bag (optional)
  • towel or scarf


  1. Separate two or three leaves from the outside of a green cabbage, enough to cover your chest (and back if the cough is really severe)
  2. Pour boiling water over the leaves in a bowl and let them heat up for a few minutes (this step is optional, however I speak from experience when I tell you that it's not fun to put cold cabbage leaves on your chest)
  3. Take cabbage leaves out of the water, pat dry, and spread a bit of honey or castor oil onto one side of the leaves (this is also optional, but hugely influences the anti-inflammatory effects of the treatment)
  4. Place onto bare chest and cover with a plastic bag (optional) and then a towel to help trap body heat
  5. Keep in place for as long as possible.  I use this treatment before bed for about 30-45 minutes, but you can also sleep with the cabbage leaves in place.  Personally, I have never tried this because I don't find it's necessary and I don't particularly want to smell cabbage all night while I'm sleeping.  But that's me, I won't judge if you'd like to try it!
  6. Remove cabbage leaves from chest and wipe skin clean.  Discard used leaves. 
  7. Repeat this treatment for three to seven nights in a row, depending on severity of cough.  I feel better after the first treatment but you definitely want to do it for a few nights.  Natural remedies are much more gentle than their chemical counterparts, and therefore take longer to heal our bodies

Excess mucous production or build up in the lungs also benefit from:

  • drinking lots of water to help with detoxification
  • eating pungent foods such as garlic, onions, ginger, asparagus, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radish, kale, collard greens, bok choy, turnip, arugula), turmeric, spirulina
  • avoiding or minimizing highly inflammatory foods such as:
    • sugar!!
    • dairy (which is mucous-producing)
    • fried foods, vegetable oils (corn, palm, safflower, soy, sunflower)
    • refined flour (bread, bagels, crackers, pasta, pretzels)
    • processed foods (boxed, canned, processed meat) and fast food
    • artificial foods (sweeteners, additives) usually found in processed foods
    • alcohol