Doctors may finally be latching on to a method of reducing swelling which has been used by old wives for hundreds of years - the common-or-garden cabbage leaf.
Several doctors were amused by one old woman who lurched into their surgery with a cabbage leaf taped to her swollen knee. So much so, in fact, that they photographed the cabbage (and knee), no doubt telling the woman it was for 'medical research', and then submitted the picture as a joke.
But others who know better have taken them to task. One GP, herself a regular user of the cabbage leaf, says breastfeeding mothers often use the leaves to soothe engorged breasts. The leaves can be applied to any inflamed body part, she adds.
So, keep a regular supply of cabbages in the fridge for emergency application. They're cheaper than those gel-filled pouches, and the leaves conform easily to any part of the body (BMJ, 2003; 327: 451).