Being called ‘crazy’ on public television may have a sobering effect on some people, but I am certainly not one to be easily dissuaded. Despite the doubts of Dr. Oz (whom I can easily forgive because his bone structure calls to mind a certain old Hollywood star), I am still a firm believer in my all-natural remedy for strained muscles and inflammation.

For those of you who missed the episode, the poultice of raw cabbage leaves and honey is applied directly to the swollen or inflamed area of the body, and then Saran-wrapped for coverage and left to do its magic overnight. In the morning, simply peel off the leaves (which will have wilted) and rinse away the honey in the shower. My friends and I have used this on various injuries, including sprained ankles and formally diagnosed soft-tissue damage. 

The ingredients in this simple remedy are proven miracle-workers, used throughout history for their restorative properties. Cabbage has a long track record of medicinal use, particularly in Europe. It has anti-inflammatory properties that aid in decreasing pain & discomfort, and also contains lactic acid, which relieves sore muscles. It also has a high sulfur content, which makes it perfect for destroying parasites and purifying blood.

When consumed, cabbage is highly beneficial, and has been reported to lower high levels of LDL cholesterol, assist in weight regulation, and provide relief from constipation. The ancient Egyptians used honey to disinfect and heal wounds, as it is a natural antibacterial (side note: the ancient Egyptians were also one of the first documented cultures to use cosmetics, so not only were they concerned with feeling good, they made sure they looked good too!).

In this treatment, honey is used externally, but it can also be used as an internal cure for ailments including, but not limited to, peptic ulcers, the pathogenic bacteria H. pylori, and gastritis. In the era of multitasking products (lip-stains-cum-cheek-tints, concealers that double as primers), why can’t your pantry items be just as versatile as the contents of your makeup bag? And while you may never have imagined it, cabbage & honey can become a part of your beauty routine as well!

Applying a mask of raw honey to a cleansed face for 15-20 minutes works wonders for sensitive skin, decreasing redness and improving moisture retention, and also speeding up the healing process for acne scars. Cabbage juice is an old remedy to prevent hair loss & increase the strength of your strands: to make a mask, which will be applied directly to the roots for maximum effect, blend a few cabbage leaves in a food processor along with half an avocado, the yolk of a single egg, and a few drops of sweet almond oil.

Let it sink in for at least 20 minutes, and then rinse off. With all of the options that nature has to offer, your refrigerator just might start looking like your Sephora!

- Maria Vasylivna