Cabbage

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What other names is Cabbage known by?

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.

What is 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.
  • Asthma.
  • Morning sickness.
  • Preventing osteoporosis.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cabbage for these uses.

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).

Quick GuideVitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

Vitamin D Deficiency: How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

How does Cabbage work?

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.

Are there safety concerns?

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.

Are there any interactions with medications?



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.

Dosing considerations for Cabbage.

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.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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