The Breastfeeding Mom’s Guide to Using Cabbage Leaves

Cabbage Leaf Treatment for Sore Breasts?

In the past few years there have been many studies published on the benefits of using cabbage leaves in treating sore or inflamed nipples. Some research shows that they may even prevent future mastectomies. So if you are thinking about trying them out, here is what you need to know:

What Are Cabbage Leaves Used For?

The leaves used in these treatments are called “cabbages” because they look like little green cabbage leaves. They come from the same plant family as broccoli, but unlike broccoli, they don’t contain much vitamin K. They are not a common ingredient in foods, so it would take a special diet to include them into your diet.

Why Do People Use Them?

There are several theories as to why people might want to try cabbage leaves in their bras. One theory suggests that cabbage leaves could reduce the risk of getting a mastectomy. Another theory says that they may help prevent cancer later in life. Still another theory suggests that they may help treat postpartum depression (PPD). There is no evidence to support any of these claims, but it seems like everyone wants something good to happen when they get sick!

How Should You Use Them?

Applying cabbage leaves to your chest is very easy. All you need to do is find a fresh cabbage leaf (not cooked), and peel it off so that you have just the leaf itself. Then, place it in your bra, directly on your skin and make sure it is positioned directly over your sore or swollen area. The skin on your chest may be warmer than the rest of your body, so be careful not to burn yourself. You can use a clean towel to cushion the leaf and minimize direct contact if it feels too hot.

It is best to start with just one leaf at first, and see how your skin reacts. Many women say that the heat turns to a soothing feeling after 20 minutes or so, but others need more time to feel the effects.

You should only need one leaf for each treatment, but you can always replace it if it gets too damp or deformed from wear.

You can wear the leaf for up to 24 hours, and some women have reported good results after even just one treatment! Be sure to monitor your reaction to the treatment, and if you see no signs of improvement after three days of treatment you should contact your doctor.

What Should You Expect?

Most women notice a difference in their soreness or swelling after about an hour of wearing the cabbage leaf, but everyone is different. You may see signs of improvement after just one treatment, or you may need to use them four times a day for several days before you start to feel better.

It is natural to feel self-conscious about wearing a cabbage leaf in your bra, so be sure to remove it before going out in public! No one wants to look like they have a green caterpillar growing out of their chest.

What are the Risks and Side Effects?

While wearing the cabbage leaves may seem strange, they are completely safe and very unlikely to cause any harm. There are no known risks or side effects from using the leaves in this manner, so you can use them as often as you like. As long as you keep them clean, the only thing you may have to worry about is your significant other making jokes!

What Should You Avoid While Using Cabbage Leaves?

While the leaves in your bra will not hurt you, you should avoid doing anything that would make them interfere with your breathing. For this reason, you will want to remove the leaf before participating in any vigorous activity. You may also want to avoid wearing clothing that goes up really high around your neck.

Be sure that you don’t fall asleep with the leaves in your bra! You may find them falling out or crushed when you wake up, so it is better to remove them and place them in a safe location – like on your nightstand.

If your swelling is due to a medical condition – like premenstrual edema or heart disease – you should talk to your doctor about the safest way to treat it.

Why Should You Use Cabbage Leaves?

For hundreds of years, women have been using cabbage leaves to soothe their pain and swelling. This treatment is completely safe and very inexpensive, so it may be just the thing you need after a long day.

It doesn’t have the most glamorous reputation, but if you are looking for a natural way to banish your bloat then the humble cabbage leaf just might do the trick!

Before using any of the home remedy recipes on this site, please read our free guide on herbal first aid and making poultices as we are not qualified to give medical advice. Always seek the help of a doctor if you feel you have a serious medical condition.

Thanks for reading. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sources & references used in this article:

A score sheet for evaluating breastfeeding educational materials by LJ Smith – Journal of Human Lactation, 1995 –

Influence of Hot Compresses Versus Cabbage Leaves on Engorged Breast in Early Puerperium by MC Zagloul, EG Naser… – … of Studies in Nursing, 2020 –

The role of early maternal support in balancing full-time work and infant exclusive breastfeeding: A qualitative study by L Kutner – 2006

Multiple-Case Studies of Hand-on Breast Massage Techniques used by Breastfeeding Experts by L Pounds, CM Fisher, D Barnes-Josiah… – Breastfeeding …, 2017 –

The Nursing Mother’s Problem Solver by H Park, I Cho, MK Kim – Korean Journal of Women Health Nursing, 2017 –