Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cato's Advice for the Sick

I have a sinus infection so I thought I would see what Cato advises me to do to get better. Not surprisingly, it revolves around cabbage, seeing that  out of a book on how to be a farmer (De Agri Cultura from 165 BC) of only around 77 pages, 6 pages are devoted to the medicinal properties of cabbage. This might strike you as strange, and in fact I do not think anyone has ever read this book and not thought that it was strange.
So, on to Cato's advice!
1) Rest assured, cabbage is the most medicinal vegetable.
2) Eating it is good for easing digestion, purging the digestive tract, headache, eye-ache, swollen spleen, painful internal organs, sore joints, insomnia, colic, and melancholy.
3) Using it as a poultice is good for wounds, swellings, sores, boils, tumors, dislocations, bruises, ulcers, and removing a nasal polypus.
Clearly, cabbage is really awesome stuff. And it is cheap! Cato says (157.8) "Cabbage is not expensive, and even if it were, you should try it anyway for the sake of your health!" Cato, famed curmudgeon that he was, cares about you and your health!
But, what is way more amazing to Cato than the powers of cabbage is the powers of the urine from someone who eats cabbage habitually. Yes, folks, the urine. and I quote (157.10), "If you save the urine from a habitual cabbage eater, heat it, and bathe a man in it, you will quickly make him healthy with this cure. This has been tested. Also, if you wash babies with this urine they will never become sickly!" He goes on to say that bathing the eyes, head, neck, and women's privates in cabbage-eater-urine is a very healthy thing. I love his insistence that he has scientifically tested this seemingly insane idea.
So yes, bathe your babies in pee so they will never be sick! Immortal words from the pen of Cato himself. I guess a quick usable recipe for other sick people out there:
Cato's Healthy Cabbage 
Cato says that absolutely nothing is more healthy that cabbage that has been chopped, washed, dried and served with salt and pepper. If you are feeling up to it, add red wine vinegar, and/or coriander.
So, eat your cabbage and get healthy! Please do not really bathe your babies in pee.

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