Monday, February 15, 2010

Medicinal Vegetables

By Nicole Sugerman

This is the second article in the ‘medicinal vegetables’ series. I am particularly interested in writing these articles because I do not think I am alone in my surprise that common vegetables have both traditional and current medicinal uses. In a general sense, one’s diet is clearly a direct, and perhaps the most important, connection to one’s health, but I often think only of medicinal herbs as direct remedies for particular ailments. Not so! Treat yourself (in more ways than one) with vegetables:


• Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.

Historical Uses:
• In Greek myth, cabbage came into existence from Zeus’s sweat.
• Greek ritual required expectant mothers eat cabbage before birthing to produce good supplies of breast milk.

Current Uses:
• Cabbage makes a helpful poultice for swelling, tumors, or painful joints. Leaves are blanched, chopped, crushed, or ironed. This poultice should be removed within an hour or two, as it can leave blisters if left on longer.
• Wild cabbage in particular can help ease digestion and break down liver toxins.
• Cabbage can help in the long-term treatment of arthritis.


• Cultivated carrots contain sugars, pectin (helps jams jell!), carotene, vitamins, minerals, and asparagines. The leaves contain porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and help release hormones.

Historical Uses:
• Carrot seeds were used to stimulate menstruation in the 1st century AD.

Current Uses:
• Juice made from organically grown (not conventional—carrots concentrate pesticides and fertilizers in their root) carrots acts as a detoxifier for the liver and kidneys, and stimulates urine flow.
• Carrot seeds stimulate menstruation
• The seeds have also been used as a hangover cure.
• Leaves and seeds relieve flatulence and settle digestion.

Caution: carrot seeds should not be eaten during pregnancy.

Information from: Encyclopedia of Herbal Medecine by Andrew Chevallier

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