Cabbage is a common vegetable grown in gardens around the world.1 It’s a biennial or perennial plant that features gray leaves and thick stems with yellow flowers that bloom in the spring.1 The vegetable most people are familiar with is the head of the cabbage, which is a round vegetable that’s actually the enlarged terminal bud.1 The head is harvested in late summer during the first year of the plant’s growth.1 There are many varieties of cabbage, including green and red.2 Green cabbage is the most commonly consumed type, but red cabbage benefits are vast, and it features a hearty flavor.2 It’s believed that red cabbage is more nutritious than green cabbage.1 Cabbage is most commonly eaten fresh, but it can also be made into a decoction, juice, syrup, or lotion.1
Cabbage benefits many body processes. Red cabbage is red because it contains anthocyanin polyphenols, which are compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.2 Cabbage is rich in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus.1 It’s also high in vitamin K1 and B vitamins.3 Cabbage can be used for internal and external purposes. The high sulfur content means cabbage benefits many skin disorders.1 An herbal medicine can be made by blanching cabbage in hot water, finely chopping or crushing it, and then applying it topically to treat swelling and joint pain.1 It can also be applied topically to treat eczema.1
When the cabbage leaves are eaten raw, they’re said to help detoxify the liver, aid in digestion, and treat long-term painful arthritis.1 A daily cabbage diet can also help with cold feet since the sulfur content helps the body produce heat.1 Other prominent cabbage uses include for:
Cabbage is considered safe to consume and apply topically. However, rare cabbage side effects may occur. Stop taking cabbage if you experience signs of an allergic reaction. Certain types of cabbage should be avoided. For example, skunk cabbage, which grows in swampy areas of the United States, is a toxic plant. Skunk cabbage side effects can include nausea, vomiting, vertigo, and headache.4 Contact with the skunk cabbage root may result in inflammation.4 That said, skunk cabbage is considered safe when cooked or dried.4 Talk to your doctor about using a cabbage herbal remedy if you have a serious health condition. Tell your doctor about other medications or herbs you’re taking to get a clear overview of your health.