- What other names is Cabbage known by?
- What is Cabbage?
- How does Cabbage work?
- Are there safety concerns?
- Are there any interactions with medications?
- Dosing considerations for Cabbage.
Brassica oleracea, Cabbage Leaf, Chou, Chou Blanc, Chou Commun, Chou Rouge, Chou Vert, Col, Green Cabbage, Purple Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Repollo, Vitamin U, White Cabbage.
Cabbage is a plant that is commonly eaten as a vegetable. People also use the leaves for medicine.
Cabbage is used for stomach pain, excess stomach acid, stomach and intestinal ulcers, and a stomach condition called Roemheld syndrome. Cabbage is also used to treat asthma and morning sickness. It is also used to prevent weak bones (osteoporosis), as well as cancer of the lung, stomach, colon, breast and other types of cancer.
Breast-feeding women sometimes apply cabbage leaves and cabbage leaf extracts to their breasts to relieve swelling and pain.
Possibly Effective for...
- Relieving breast engorgement (hard, painful breasts) in breast-feeding women, when applied to the skin of the breasts. Whole cabbage leaves seem to be about as effective as chilled gel-packs in relieving swelling and pain. A cabbage leaf extract applied as a cream has also been tried. Some women say it helps, but not significantly better than a cream without the extract.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Bladder cancer: There is some evidence that people who eat large amounts of cabbage and related vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, have a lower risk of developing bladder cancer.
- Colorectal cancer: There is some evidence that people who eat large amounts of cabbage and related vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, have a lower risk of developing colorectal cancer.
- Stomach cancer: There is some evidence that people who eat large amounts of cabbage and related vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, have a lower risk of developing stomach cancer.
- High cholesterol. Early research suggests that adding cabbage and broccoli to a beverage containing fruit and other vegetables for 3-9 weeks might lower "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people with high cholesterol.
- Lung cancer: There is some evidence that people who eat large amounts of cabbage and related vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, have a lower risk of developing lung cancer.
- Pancreatic cancer: There is some evidence that people who eat large amounts of cabbage have a lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Prostate cancer: Some evidence shows that people who eat large amounts of cabbage and related vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. However, other evidence shows no benefit.
- Stomach pain.
- Stomach and intestinal ulcers.
- Excess stomach acid.
- Morning sickness.
- Preventing osteoporosis.
- Other conditions.
Cabbage contains chemicals that are thought to help prevent cancer. Cabbage might change the way estrogen is used in the body, which might reduce the risk of breast cancer. Overall, it isn't well understood how the chemicals in cabbage might work as medicine.
Cabbage is LIKELY SAFE when consumed in food amounts or when applied to the skin appropriately, short-term. It is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. There isn't much evidence about possible side effects.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough information about the safety of eating cabbage in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and stick to usual food amounts.
Cabbage is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin for a short amount of time while breast-feeding. Applying cabbage leaves to the breasts to relieve swelling and pain due to breast-feeding seems to be safe when done several times a day for a day or two. However, if you are breast-feeding, taking cabbage by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Don't eat cabbage even in usual food amounts. There is some evidence that nursing infants can develop colic if their mothers eat cabbage, even as infrequently as once a week.
Diabetes: Cabbage might affect blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use cabbage.
Under-active thyroid gland (hypothyroidism): There is some concern that cabbage might make this condition worse. It's best to avoid cabbage if you have an under-active thyroid gland.
Surgery: Cabbage might affect blood glucose levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using cabbage at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
The body breaks down acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) to a get rid of it. Cabbage might increase the breakdown of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Taking cabbage along with acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) might decrease the effectiveness of acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver.
Cabbage might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking cabbage along with some medications that are changed by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking cabbage talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include clozapine (Clozaril), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), fluvoxamine (Luvox), haloperidol (Haldol), imipramine (Tofranil), mexiletine (Mexitil), olanzapine (Zyprexa), pentazocine (Talwin), propranolol (Inderal), tacrine (Cognex), theophylline, zileuton (Zyflo), zolmitriptan (Zomig), and others.
Medications changed by the liver (Glucuronidated Drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
The liver helps the body break down and change some medications. The body breaks down some medications to get rid of them. Cabbage might increase how quickly the body breaks down some medications changed by the liver. Taking cabbage along with these medications changed by the liver might decrease the effectiveness of some medications change by the liver.
Some of these medications changed by the liver include acetaminophen, atorvastatin (Lipitor), diazepam (Valium), digoxin, entacapone (Comtan), estrogen, irinotecan (Camptosar), lamotrigine (Lamictal), lorazepam (Ativan), lovastatin (Mevacor), meprobamate, morphine, oxazepam (Serax), and others.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Cabbage might lower blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking cabbage along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.
Oxazepam (Serax)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
The body breaks down oxazepam (Serax) to get rid of it. Cabbage can increase how quickly the body gets rid of oxazepam (Serax). Taking cabbage along with oxazepam (Serax) might decrease the effectiveness of oxazepam (Serax).
Warfarin (Coumadin)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.
Cabbage contains large amounts of vitamin K. Vitamin K is used by the body to help blood clot. Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. By helping the blood clot, cabbage might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For enlarged and painful breasts during breast-feeding: cabbage leaves are prepared by stripping out the large vein of the cabbage leaf, cutting a hole for the nipple, and then rinsing and chilling the leaf. The chilled cabbage leaf is worn inside the bra or as a compress under a cool towel until the cabbage leaf reaches body temperature (approximately 20 minutes). This procedure is repeated 1-4 times daily for 1-2 days.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Balk JL. Indole-3-carbinol for cancer prevention. Altern Med Alert 2000; 3:105-7.
Bolton-Smith C, Price RJ, Fenton ST, et al. Compilation of a provisional UK database for the phylloquinone (vitamin K1) content of foods. Br J Nutr 2000;83:389-99. View abstract.
Bradlow HL, Michnovicz J, Telang NT, Osborne MP. Effects of dietary indole-3-carbinol on estradiol metabolism and spontaneous mammary tumors in mice. Carcinogenesis 1991;12:1571-4. View abstract.
Cohen, J. H., Kristal, A. R., and Stanford, J. L. Fruit and vegetable intakes and prostate cancer risk. J Natl.Cancer Inst. 1-5-2000;92(1):61-68. View abstract.
Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Available at: http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/.
Grubbs CJ, Steele VE, Casebolt T, et al. Chemoprevention of chemically-induced mammary carcinogenesis by indole-3-carbinol. Anticancer Res 1995;15:709-16. View abstract.
He YH, Friesen MD, Ruch RJ, Schut HA. Indole-3-carbinol as a chemopreventive agent in 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) carcinogenesis: inhibition of PhIP-DNA adduct formation, acceleration of PhIP metabolism, and induction of cytochrome P450 in female F344 rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2000;38:15-23. View abstract.
Isbir T, Yaylim I, Aydin M, et al. The effects of Brassica oleraceae var capitata on epidermal glutathione and lipid peroxides in DMBA-initiated-TPA-promoted mice. Anticancer Res 2000;20:219-24. View abstract.
Jain, M. G., Hislop, G. T., Howe, G. R., and Ghadirian, P. Plant foods, antioxidants, and prostate cancer risk: findings from case-control studies in Canada. Nutr Cancer 1999;34(2):173-184. View abstract.
Kojima T, Tanaka T, Mori H. Chemoprevention of spontaneous endometrial cancer in female Donryu rats by dietary indole-3-carbinol. Cancer Res 1994;54:1446-9. View abstract.
Kolonel, L. N., Hankin, J. H., Whittemore, A. S., Wu, A. H., Gallagher, R. P., Wilkens, L. R., John, E. M., Howe, G. R., Dreon, D. M., West, D. W., and Paffenbarger, R. S., Jr. Vegetables, fruits, legumes and prostate cancer: a multiethnic case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol.Biomarkers Prev. 2000;9(8):795-804. View abstract.
Larsson, S. C., Hakansson, N., Naslund, I., Bergkvist, L., and Wolk, A. Fruit and vegetable consumption in relation to pancreatic cancer risk: a prospective study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2006;15(2):301-305. View abstract.
Lust KD, Brown JE, Thomas W. Maternal intake of cruciferous vegetables and other foods and colic symptoms in exclusively breast-fed infants. J Am Diet Assoc 1996;96:46-8. View abstract.
Michnovicz JJ, Bradlow HL. Induction of estradiol metabolism by dietary indole-3-carbinol in humans. J Natl Cancer Inst 1990;82:947-9. View abstract.
Michnovicz JJ. Increased estrogen 2-hydroxylation in obese women using oral indole-3-carbinol. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1998;22:227-9. View abstract.
Nikodem VC, Danziger D, Gebka N, et al. Do cabbage leaves prevent breast engorgement? A randomized, controlled study. Birth 1993;20:61-4. View abstract.
Pantuck EJ, Pantuck CB, Anderson KE, et al. Effect of brussels sprouts and cabbage on drug conjugation. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1984;35:161-9. View abstract.
Platel, K. and Srinivasan, K. Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: vegetables as potential hypoglycaemic agents. Nahrung 1997;41(2):68-74. View abstract.
Roberts KL, Reiter M, Schuster D. A comparison of chilled and room temperature cabbage leaves in treating breast engorgement. J Hum Lact 1995;11:191-4. View abstract.
Roberts KL, Reiter M, Schuster D. Effects of cabbage leaf extract on breast engorgement. J Hum Lact 1998;14:231-6. View abstract.
Roberts KL. A comparison of chilled cabbage leaves and chilled gelpaks in reducing breast engorgement. J Hum Lact 1995;11:17-20. View abstract.
Schuurman, A. G., Goldbohm, R. A., Dorant, E., and van den Brandt, P. A. Vegetable and fruit consumption and prostate cancer risk: a cohort study in The Netherlands. Cancer Epidemiol.Biomarkers Prev. 1998;7(8):673-680. View abstract.
Steinkellner, H., Rabot, S., Freywald, C., Nobis, E., Scharf, G., Chabicovsky, M., Knasmuller, S., and Kassie, F. Effects of cruciferous vegetables and their constituents on drug metabolizing enzymes involved in the bioactivation of DNA-reactive dietary carcinogens. Mutat Res 2001;480-481:285-297. View abstract.
Stoewsand GS. Bioactive organosulfur phytochemicals in Brassica oleracea vegetables--a review. Food Chem Toxicol 1995;33:537-43. View abstract.
Takai, M., Suido, H., Tanaka, T., Kotani, M., Fujita, A., Takeuchi, A., Makino, T., Sumikawa, K., Origasa, H., Tsuji, K., and Nakashima, M. [LDL-cholesterol-lowering effect of a mixed green vegetable and fruit beverage containing broccoli and cabbage in hypercholesterolemic subjects]. Rinsho Byori 2003;51(11):1073-1083. View abstract.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14. Nutrient Data Laboratory. Available at: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp
van Poppel G, Verhoeven DT, Verhagen H, Goldbohm RA. Brassica vegetables and cancer prevention. Epidemiology and mechanisms. Adv Exp Med Biol 1999;472:159-68. View abstract.
Villeneuve, P. J., Johnson, K. C., Kreiger, N., and Mao, Y. Risk factors for prostate cancer: results from the Canadian National Enhanced Cancer Surveillance System. The Canadian Cancer Registries Epidemiology Research Group. Cancer Causes Control 1999;10(5):355-367. View abstract.
Yuan F, Chen DZ, Liu K, et al. Anti-estrogenic activities of indole-3-carbinol in cervical cells: implication for prevention of cervical cancer. Anticancer Res 1999;19:1673-80. View abstract.
Zhao H, Lin J, Grossman HB, et al. Dietary isothiocyanates, GSTM1, GSTT1, NAT2 polymorphisms and bladder cancer risk. Int J Cancer 2007;120:2208-13. View abstract.