by Dorje Root, RH (AHG).
Every herbalist has his or her own favorite herbs, favorite formulas, and favorite methods of application. I have relied a lot on tinctures (an alcohol-based extract) for many reasons. They keep the properties of the herbs for a very long time, they’re easier for people to take than teas, and they travel well and are convenient. However, there are times when they just can’t be used. Recently I had a client who had an abscess that he couldn’t heal. After numerous rounds of antibiotics he was worse off than before. And his digestive tract was in bad shape due to the antibiotics, making tinctures very irritating to him.
I remembered reading years ago about a French herbalist, Maurice Mességué, who exclusively uses external preparations, mainly hand and foot baths. I also remember reading that he used cabbage leaves externally for pain, inflammation and infection. I had my client use cabbage leaf poultices on the abscess for 20 minutes at a time three times a day. Within two or three days the abscess had shrunk to half its former size and the pain had all but disappeared. Mességué had placed the leaf in boiling water for a minute or two and cut out the center vein. Sometimes when treating a client at their home, he would iron the leaf until it was soft and pliable before applying it.
Mességué (who’s turning 95 this month) used other vegetables and a lot of what we would consider culinary herbs for healing. He lived in rural southern France and followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who were also country herbalists. His father died when he was 12 and he was sent off to a boarding school which sounded somewhat prison-like. What kept his spirit alive, and kept him connected to his father, was gathering whatever herbs he could find in the school yard and hanging them in his room. I was so touched by his deep love of plants and the way he relied on them for his emotional well-being. He began using what he had learned from his father as well as his intuitive knowledge of plants to begin healing while he was still in school.
In these times when conventional medicine is often expensive and harsh, it would certainly help us all to learn to heal ourselves and our families with the most common of garden vegetables—cabbage!
Dorje Root, RH (AHG) is an herbalist and natural healer, also working with Plant Spirit Medicine, Intuitive Energy Healing and ‘The Journey’ cellular healing.