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Cabbage (Patta Gobi): Uses, Benefits, Side effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh 

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Bandhagobhi, pattagobhi or kobij are the local names of cabbage or Brassica oleracea, which is a cruciferous vegetable belonging to Cruciferae. It is Mediterranean in origin and was first domesticated in Western Europe. In India, the major cabbage-producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Assam and West Bengal. The edible part of cabbage is the head covered with leafy layers. It would be interesting to say that cabbage tastes better than how it looks. Different varieties of cabbages are available, depending on size, colour, etc. These include red cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L. f. Rubra), green cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata L.), which is widely consumed, white cabbage or savoy cabbage. Red cabbage is small, denser, and more peppery than green ones. Also, the reddish colour is due to the phytochemical anthocyanins, which are higher in red cabbage. Cabbage is grown as a fall or spring crop. When eaten raw, it adds a peppery flavour, which mellows when it is cooked or preserved. Apart from culinary uses, green cabbages have many health benefits; let us explore them.1,2 

Nutritional Value of cabbage: 

Cabbage is packed with the goodness of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like anthocyanins, including sulphur compounds, polyphenols, nitrates, phylloquinone, etc. The nutritional components of cabbage are given below:  

cabbage benefits

Nutritional components Value per 100 g 
Carbohydrates 5.8 g 
Fibre  2.5 g 
Protein  1.28 g 
Fat 0.1 g 
Calcium 40 mg 
Iron 0.47 mg 

Table 1: Nutritional value of cabbage1 

Let me tell you about cabbage, a vegetable that might pack a punch when it comes to vitamin K. Just one cup of cabbage may give you a whopping 85% of the recommended daily value of this important nutrient. And this vitamin K might play a crucial role in keeping your bones healthy!

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Did you know?

Properties of Cabbage: 

The consumption of cabbage shows numerous scientifically proven properties, some of these properties are mentioned below: 

  • It may have hypolipidemic properties. 
  • It may act as an anti-diabetic agent. 
  • It might have cardioprotective properties. 
  • It may have hepatoprotective properties. 
  • It may have antioxidant properties.1 

As a doctor, I want to share some exciting findings about leafy green vegetables like cabbage. Animal studies suggest that they may contain antioxidants and plant compounds called glucosinolates. These compounds break down during digestion and might potentially help fight cancer cells in the body. So, including cabbage and other leafy greens in your diet might be a smart choice for overall health, although more research is needed to fully understand their specific benefits in humans.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential Uses of Cabbage for Overall Health: 

Some of the potential benefits of cabbage are described as follows: 

1. Potential uses of Cabbage for cancer  

Royston et al. conducted a literature review in 2015 to assess the impact of cruciferous vegetables on cancers. The findings of this review conclude that cruciferous vegetables like cabbage contain chemical components like insole-3-carbinol (I3C), and sulforaphane (SFN) which are regulators of microRNAs (miRNAs) and inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs), which inhibit translation and cellular proliferation and may thus, be helpful in reducing the risk of cancers. This indicates that the consumption of cabbage may reduce the risk of cancer. However, we need more studies to support these claims.3 

2. Potential uses of Cabbage for heart 

A diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits may improve cardiovascular health. A literature review conducted by Connolly et al. in 2020 suggests that the consumption of cruciferous vegetables like cabbage help in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cabbage contains several bioactive compounds like nitrates, phylloquinone (Vitamin K) and organosulfur compounds, which exert a cardio-protective effect. Additionally, the presence of anthocyanins may help in reducing blood pressure and improve heart health. This indicates that the consumption of cabbage may help improve heart health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. However, there is limited evidence supporting these claims.4 

3. Potential uses of Cabbage for diabetic nephropathy  

Diabetic nephropathy is a microvascular complication of diabetes that interferes with the normal functioning of the kidney and is caused by the overproduction of ROS (reactive oxygen species, a type of highly reactive chemical). Kataya et al. conducted a study in 2007 on rats to assess the effect of cabbage on diabetic nephropathy. The study showed a positive association between cabbage supplementation and diabetic nephropathy in rats. Cabbage contains antioxidants like anthocyanins that help reduce microvascular complications by inhibiting the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and managing blood glucose levels. This indicates that the consumption of cabbage may help manage diabetic nephropathy. However, we need more scientific evidence to support these claims.5 

4. Potential uses of Cabbage for Alzheimer’s disease 

Alzheimer’s is a prevalent neurodegenerative disease characterized by a decline in cognition. A literature review conducted by Masci et al. in 2015 suggests that cabbage contains polyphenolic compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which help reduce age-related inflammation and oxidative stress, which causes neurodegeneration. As a result, the consumption of cabbage positively impacts neurodegeneration. This suggests that cabbage may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, more studies are needed to support these claims.6 

5. Potential uses of Cabbage on inflammation 

Cabbage (Patta Gobi) was used as a remedy for inflammation in Polish folk medicine. A research study by Zhang et al. in 2011 identified the presence of anti-inflammatory substances like microRNAs (miRNAs) in cabbage. These RNA molecules are known to regulate gene expression in plants and animals and have emerged as important gene regulators to control inflammation. This indicates that cabbage may potentially manage inflammation and can be used to manage inflammatory conditions like lymphatic vessel inflammation, mastitis (breast tissue inflammation), arthritis, etc. However, scientific evidence supporting these claims is limited, and we need more studies to support these claims.7 

Other potential uses of cabbage:8 

  • As it is high in fibre and low in fats, it may help in weight management. 
  • The presence of Vitamin C and sulphur may help in removing toxins from the body. Additionally, cabbage contains indole-3-carbinol which is an antioxidant that may help the liver remove toxins from the body. 
  • Being a good source of Vitamin K, it may help in the process of blood clotting. 
  • Cabbage is rich in fibre, and may help in better digestion and bowel movements. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of cabbage in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of cabbage on human health.  

Also Read: Radicchio Benefits: Exploring Its Health-Boosting Effects Based on Research

How to Use Cabbage? 

It can be used in the following ways: 

  • Cabbage can be cooked as a vegetable or eaten raw in salads. 
  • It is also preserved as a pickle or sauerkraut (fermented cabbage). 
  • It can also be consumed boiled, sautéed, stewed, shredded and steamed.8 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Side Effects of Cabbage: 

A few side effects related to the consumption of cabbage include the following: 

  • Strong et al. conducted a study in 1966 that states consuming cabbage in excess can result in an intake of toxic chemicals like goitrin, thiocyanates and benzyl cyanide. An increase in goitrin and thiocyanates inhibits thyroid function and benzyl cyanide can result in potential adverse effects (dermal and respiratory manifestations).9 
  • Eating cabbage in excess can result in abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and flatulence.10 

However, if you experience any adverse reactions to cabbage, it is advised to discontinue its intake and immediately contact a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who has prescribed it to you. They will be able to guide you appropriately for your symptoms. 

Based on my experience, I can say that cabbage juice might have been traditionally used for several purposes. It may have been used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning, as well as a remedy to counter the effects of drunkenness and minimise the negative consequences of drinking. Additionally, it might have been employed as a remedy for hangovers and headaches.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Precautions to take with Cabbage: 

Eating cabbage is okay if taken in moderate amounts. However, general precautions must be considered. 

  • Cabbage is a shelter for many worms, so it is advised to wash cabbage properly to eliminate worms and remove germs and bacteria.  
  • The safety data related to cabbage consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding is limited. So, caution must be taken when consuming cabbage during breastfeeding.9 

Also Read: Does Sauerkraut Go Bad? A Guide to Proper Storage and Spoilage Signs

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Cabbage is rich in Vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting. Patients on anti-coagulant therapy using warfarin can show a significant interaction with cabbage, and thus, if you are on warfarin or any anti-coagulant therapy, you should restrict your cabbage intake. However, you must always seek the advice of your Ayurvedic physician about the possible interaction of cabbage with other drugs and follow the prescription thoroughly, as they will know your health condition and other medications you are taking.11 

Also Read: Purple Cabbage: Revealing its Research-Based Health Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

1) What is the scientific name of cabbage (Patta Gobi)? 

The scientific name of cabbage is Brassica oleracea and it belongs to the family Cruciferae.1 

2) What is the difference between red and green cabbage? 

Red cabbage is smaller, denser and has a rich pepper-like taste compared to the green variety. Also, the reddish colour is due to the phytochemical anthocyanins, which are higher in red cabbage.1 

3)  Can cabbage help in weight loss?  

As it is high in fibre and low in fats, it may help in weight management. However, scientific evidence for supporting these claims is limited. Therefore, it is advised to consult a doctor for proper treatment if you have any weight-related issues.8 

4) Can cabbage help in the case of cancer?


Literature studies show that consumption of cabbage may help in reducing the risk of cancers due to the presence of chemical components like insole-3-carbinol (I3C), sulforaphane (SFN) which are regulators of microRNAs (miRNAs) and inhibitors of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs). These compounds inhibit the formation of new cancer cells. However, more studies are needed to ensure this. Therefore, it is advised to consult a doctor for the proper treatment of cancer and not consider the consumption of cabbage as an alternative to modern medicine.3 

5) What are the side effects of excess cabbage consumption? 

Consuming cabbage in excess can result in abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and flatulence. It can also result in ingesting toxic chemicals like goitrin, thiocyanates and benzyl cyanide. An increase in goitrin and thiocyanates inhibits thyroid function, and benzyl cyanide can result in potential adverse effects (skin and respiratory manifestations).9 

References: 

  1. Zhang, Nan et al. “Red Cabbage Rather Than Green Cabbage Increases Stress Resistance and Extends the Lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans.” Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,6 930. 8 Jun. 2021, doi:10.3390/antiox10060930. Available at:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8228718/ 
  1. Vikaspedia. Available at: https://vikaspedia.in/agriculture/crop-production/package-of-practices/vegetables-1/cabbage (Accessed: December 5, 2022).  
  1. Royston, Kendra J, and Trygve O Tollefsbol. “The Epigenetic Impact of Cruciferous Vegetables on Cancer Prevention.” Current pharmacology reports vol. 1,1 (2015): 46-51. doi:10.1007/s40495-014-0003-9. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354933/ 
  1. Connolly, Emma L et al. “A randomised controlled crossover trial investigating the short-term effects of different types of vegetables on vascular and metabolic function in middle-aged and older adults with mildly elevated blood pressure: the VEgetableS for vaScular hEaLth (VESSEL) study protocol.” Nutrition journal vol. 19,1 41. 12 May. 2020, doi:10.1186/s12937-020-00559-3. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7218618/ 
  1. Kataya, Hazem A H, and Alaaeldin A Hamza. “Red Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) Ameliorates Diabetic Nephropathy in Rats.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM vol. 5,3 (2008): 281-7. doi:10.1093/ecam/nem029. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2529380/ 
  1. Masci, Alessandra et al. “Neuroprotective Effect of Brassica oleracea Sprouts Crude Juice in a Cellular Model of Alzheimer’s Disease.” Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity vol. 2015 (2015): 781938. doi:10.1155/2015/781938. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4477226/ 
  1. Kasarello, Kaja et al. “The Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Cabbage Leaves Explained by the Influence of bol-miRNA172a on FAN Expression.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 13 846830. 24 Mar. 2022, doi:10.3389/fphar.2022.846830. Available at:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35401203/ 
  1. Parmar, R. (2022) 9 wonderful health benefits of cabbage, PharmEasy Blog. Available at: https://pharmeasy.in/blog/4-wonderful-health-benefits-of-cabbage/ (Accessed: December 5, 2022).  
  1. Strong, F M. “Naturally occurring toxic factors in plants and animals used as food.” Canadian Medical Association journal vol. 94,12 (1966): 568-73. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1935363/ 
  1. Schneik4 (2022) 8 health benefits of cabbage, Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/benefits-of-cabbage/ (Accessed: December 5, 2022). 
  1. Colino, S. (2022) 7 foods that don’t mix with prescription drugs​, AARP. AARP. Available at: https://www.aarp.org/health/drugs-supplements/info-2022/food-medication-interaction.html (Accessed: December 5, 2022). 

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