External Applications in Anthroposophic Nursing

White Cabbage Wound Compress

Kind of substance

White cabbage

Guiding principle for the application

The external application of white cabbage leaves:

  • Stimulates the elimination of congested fluid
  • Reduces swelling by integrating congested fluid into the metabolism
  • Disinfects
  • Drains off substances from inflammations via the skin, by stimulating and absorbing the elimination of fluid
  • Cools
  • Calms
  • Alleviates pain
  • Softens indurations

Guiding Principle for the substance


  • Wound treatment (for poorly healing, coated, necrotic, infected and chronic wounds)
  • Ulcus cruris



  • White cabbage leaves (organic)
  • Knife
  • Tray
  • Glass bottle
  • Healing ointment to protect the wound edges
  • Gauze bandage to fix the compress in place

  • Remove and discard the outer leaves of the cabbage
  • Use 1 to 3 juicy green, entirely clean cabbage leaves, depending on the size of the wound.
  • Remove thick leaf veins with the knife
  • Place the leaves beside each other on the tray
  • Roll the bottle firmly across the leaves until juice leaks out and the cabbage becomes translucent
  • Cut the cabbage leaves to exactly fit the size of the wound and lay them directly onto it.

Caution: The leaves must not reach beyond the edge of the wound, because this would soften the edge and hamper its healing.
  • Carefully apply Calendula ointment (Weleda) or Healing Ointment (Weleda) to the wound edges for extra protection
  • Fix the cabbage leaves in place with the gauze bandage
  • The cabbage compress must be renewed every 12 hours, first rinsing out any secretions and cleaning the wound with Ringer’s solution

Works well for some patients
The cabbage wound compress must be renewed every 12 hours, first rinsing out any secretions and cleaning the wound with Ringer’s solution. Otherwise the wound will be too irritated by the secretions and will not be able to heal.
Onset of effect
Caution!: during the first three days of treatment the wound very strongly purges itself of toxins, so there will be a large amount of ill-smelling secretions. This is often mistaken for aggravation, since the wound appears to be in much worse condition than before. On the fourth day the wound must appear much better and cleaner than at the start of the treatment.
This means that one should absolutely wait for 4 days of consistent treatment to pass before considering whether the treatment of the wound should be changed
Length of therapy
Continue until the cabbage leaves in the wound become completely dry, that is until the wound stops producing secretions and is nearly healed. This takes about 3 weeks of consistent treatment for a hand-sized ulcus cruris.
  • See above, under “Onset of effect”
  • Only use entirely clean inner leaves of the cabbage to treat wounds!

Instructions to download


Red., CW


  • Hermann Glaser: Erfolgreiche Wundbehandlung. Aus der Praxis der anthroposophisch erweiterten Krankenpflege. 1st ed. Stuttgart: Urachhaus; 2000.