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.
How it works
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.
Possibly EffectiveRelieving 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.
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.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough information about the safety of eating cabbage in medicinal amounts duringpregnancy. 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.
ModerateAcetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
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).Oxazepam (Serax)
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.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.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.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)
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.