Friday, February 23, 2007
World Cabbage Day
February 17th, it was. And I missed it! Where was all the jubilee, fanfare and bunting? It's one of the few things still going strong in the garden right now so I guess I'll go on celebrating it for the next month or two.
Last year I came across Cato's 'In Praise of Cabbages'. Firstly, he is most emphatic that "Cabbage surpasses all vegetables. Eat it either cooked or raw: if you eat it raw, dress it with vinegar. It aids digestion remarkably and does the bowels good, and the urine will be beneficial for all purposes." Mmm, and what could those be, you might be piqued to inquire? Well, "...store the urine of anyone who habitually eats cabbage; warm it, bathe the patient in it. With this treatment you will soon restore to health; it has been tested. Also, if a woman foments her parts with this urine, they will never irritate. Foment as follows: boil in a basin and place under a commode; the woman is then to sit on the commode, covering the basin with her clothing."
And just about any other ailment - insomnia, aching joints, septic wounds and nasal polyps can be treated with steeped leaves or ground cabbage potions.
There are some people who can be induced to vomit by just being presented with a plate of boiled cabbage, but ..." If you want to purge by vomiting, take 4 lbs. of the tenderest cabbage, divide into three equal bunches and tie. Then put a pot of water on the fire, and when it begins to boil plunge one bunch into it briefly. It will stop boiling. Then, as it boils, plunge the bunch again while you count to five, and take it out. Do the same with the second bunch, and then the third. Then put all together and pound. Remove into a linen bag, and express about a pint of juice into an earthenware mug. Add a salt crystal about the size of a bitter vetch seed, and roasted cumin seed enough to give flavour. Then put the mug outdoors, in good weather, overnight. The person who is to take the medicine should have a hot bath, drink honey water, and go to bed without dinner, then in the morning drink the juice and walk for four hours, and do any business required. When the urge comes and the nausea is felt, recline and vomit. So much bile and phlegm will be thrown up that the patient will wonder where it all came from. "