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Cabbage Leaves for Breast Engorgement

Q. I used cabbage leaves to reduce the pain and swelling from mastitis when I breastfed my children. I heard about it from other mothers.

A cabbage leaf fits perfectly inside your bra. Replace it every few hours. If the problem continues, though, see your doctor because mastitis can get very bad very quickly.

A. Cabbage leaves are a traditional remedy that midwives and nursing mothers have been using for decades (if not longer) to alleviate the pain from swollen breasts before the baby is taking very much milk. When scientists have studied the effect of cabbage leaves, they don’t find that they do any better than placebo. We don’t see that there is any harm in this old-fashioned approach, though, and it just might help some women.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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