Cabbage

Cabbage (Juan Xi Cai)

Botanical Name: Brassica oleracea, B. rapa, B. pekinensis, B. chinensis

High in fiber, vitamin C and K, and powerful antioxidants, cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that is being studied for its abilities to improve heart health, protect against radiation, prevent cancer, reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity, as well as reduce inflammation. Low in calories, it can assist weight loss while being an important source of nutrition. As sauerkraut and kimchi, fermented cabbage is very high in probiotics that help promote a healthy digestive system.

Remember to check with your doctor before trying new medicines or herbal remedies, especially if you are taking other medication where drug interactions are possible.

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Western

Western Name: Cabbage

Also Known As: N/A

Organs/Systems: Digestive System, Skin, Cardiovascular System

Key Actions: Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Probiotic, Laxative, Antispasmodic, Antibacterial, Antiviral

Medicinal Uses: Stomach pain, intestinal ulcers, acid reflux (GERD), lowers cholesterol, asthma, morning sickness, lowers blood pressure, constipation, eczema, jaundice, scurvy, headaches, obesity, stomach ulcers.

Eastern

Pin Yin: Juan Xi Cai

Also Known As: N/A

Meridians: Lung, Stomach, Large Intestine

Key Actions: Regulates the Flow of Qi (Energy), Clears Heat, Stops Cough, Clears Toxins, Benefits the Joints, Purifies the Blood, Moistens the Intestines, Calms Shen

Medicinal Uses: Arthritis, joint pain, muscle aches, tendonitis, swollen joints, strengthen the kidneys, improves brain function, low back pain, shortness of breath, weak, lethargy, dementia, eliminates worms, blood cleanser, constipation, anxiety, depression, anemia, allergies, coughs, whooping cough, hot flashes.

Basic Habitat/Botany:

Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable in the Brassica family. It can be red, yellow, to purple in color. It’s leaves can be smooth or crinkled. There are hundreds of varieties of cabbage grown worldwide. Chinese cabbage is a cultivar or subspecies of the turnip. Cabbages have thin taproots. Cabbage heads can grow to be 1 to 8 lbs in weight and are made up of densely leaved heads that resemble heads of lettuce. The plant can grow up to 4 to 7 feet tall. Its flowers are yellow or white with four sepals, six stamens, and a superior ovary.

Western cabbage can trace its origins to Britain and continental Europe. It is believed to have been domesticated in the Near East perhaps by the Celts. Chinese cabbage is mainly grown in the Yangtze River Delta region.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaves of the Cabbage Vegetable

Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Pungent, Bitter, Neutral to Cooling

Caution: Considered safe. Drinking more than one cup of cabbage juice at time can cause stomach upset or gas.

Key Constituents: Sulforaphane, Sinigrin, Vitamin C, B6, and K, Fiber, 3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM), Apigenin, Anthocyanin, Polyphenols, Flavonoids, Probiotics, Copper, Potassium, Manganese, Folate, Choline, Selenium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Thiocyanate, Zea-xanthin.

History/Folklore: Cabbage is one of the oldest known vegetables dating back to 4,000 B.C. in China. The vegetable is popularly identified with St. Patrick’s Day and eaten with corned beef. In the Middle Age it was called the “drug of the poor” because it improved digestion and was used to treat gout, headaches, and hangovers.

The probiotics identified with sauerkraut, pickled cabbage, are known for being outstanding for promoting a healthy gut biome. Cabbage is also known for lowering cholesterol, boosting immunity, and helping to prevent cancer.

The variety name, capitata, is derived from the Latin meaning, “having a head.” The B. oleracea derivatives have hundreds of common names used throughout the world. The word brassica, derives from the Celtic word for cabbage. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians did not cultivate cabbage, though it is likely that the ancient Greeks did. It is thought it may have been a luxury food in early Rome. The ancient Greeks used cabbage as a laxative, a liniment for bruises, and the juice as an antidote for mushroom poisoning.

Pliny the Elder mentions seven different varieties of cabbage, including a Pompeii cabbage. Cabbage has also been used since Roman times, and by the ancient Greeks, to counter the effects of a hangover.

A compress made of cabbage leaves may reduce the symptoms related to headaches. The leaves can also be mashed into a paste that can be applied to your forehead until dry to help relieve the pain associated with headaches. Drinking a bit of cabbage juice may also help.

Cabbage is full of water and fiber that can help prevent constipation. In its fermented forms as sauerkraut or kimchi, it becomes a powerful provider of probiotics that can help strengthen your digestive system and improve your bodies ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.

The dietary fiber found in cabbage helps regulate inflammation and support a healthy immune system.

A study of 57,000 adults recently completed in Denmark, indicated cabbage was one of two vegetable types (the other being root vegetables) that are a mainstay of preventing type 2 diabetes.

Cabbage contains over 20 different flavonoids and 15 different phenols, all of which are known to be highly effective antioxidants. This broad collection of powerful antioxidants highlights cabbages effectiveness in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic ailments.

Half a cup of cooked cabbage contains 81 mg of vitamin K. Cabbage juice, and cabbage, is an excellent source of vitamin K and C. Among these nutrients important contributions to overall health, they also help to keep hair follicles healthy and circulate scalp oil. Cabbage contains ⅓ of your daily minimum requirement of vitamin C and some sources day up to 190% of the recommended daily amount.

The sulforaphane found in cabbage is being studied for its ability to help prevent cancer. Cabbage also contains a compound, 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM), that can protect against the negative effects of radiation. Sinigrin, is one type of sulfur-containing glucosinolates found in cabbage that have been found to help prevent cancer. The anthocyanins, that give red and purple cabbage its bright color, are also known to help prevent the progression of cancer cells.

The compound apigenin found in cabbage, helps to decrease tumor size in mice with an aggressive form of breast cancer. And the antioxidant, anthocyanin present in cabbage, has also been shown to kill cancer cells and stop the formation of new tumor growths. Anthocyanin also helps prevent inflammation that can lead to heart disease. This compound is known to be a major contributor for protecting red blood cell health and function.

In Oriental medicine cabbage is used to strengthen the kidneys and brain. It is used to help those who are recovering from long-term illness or after a surgery to promote recovery. In China cabbage is enjoyed several times a week to promote health and benefit the skin. Bean curd and cabbage is a staple of Chinese cooking.

Cabbage can be used internally or externally to heal and benefit skin health. It can help varicose veins, heal wounds, and soothe skin ulcers and skin eruptions.

Raw cabbage is easier to digest than cooked cabbage. Cabbage begins to lose its nutritional value the minute it is cut. Cabbage is best preserved refrigerated in plastic. Raw cabbage is 92% water, 6% carbohydrates, and 1% protein.

It is said that dreaming of cabbage is a symbol of hypocrisy or ambiguity. It is considered a sign that you will face a series of events that will be interconnected to one another. In China a stuffed cabbage is a symbol of prosperity and wealth.

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Did you know?

Not Lettuce!

Because of its appearance cabbage is often thought of a type of lettuce. It is not. Cabbage is cruciferous vegetable, as are kale, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Facts

High in Polyphenols

Cabbage is high in polyphenols that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing blood pressure and preventing platelet buildup.
Fun fact!

Less than 20 Calories

Cooked cabbage contains less than 20 calories per half cup and it is loaded with nutritional value.

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