Despite its reputation for being a source of natural gas for some people, cabbage has many health benefits extending to all varieties of this leafy veggie. Various studies have shown that cabbage may reduce the risk of developing an assortment of ailments, from diabetes to heart disease. The wonders of cabbage extend beyond possible preventative uses to include some practical applications for things like minor wounds and digestion.
Cabbage leaves can be used to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. A University of Missouri study found a connection between apigenin, a flavonoid found in cabbage that has anti-inflammatory properties. For minor sources of pain, a compress can be made from cabbage leaves as follows:
• Wash and dry a few cabbage leaves.
• Apply the clean, dry leaves to the affected or painful area.
• Hold the leaves in place with either a bandage or an adhesive plaster.
• Leave the cabbage leaves in place overnight.
• Change the compress daily.
Note: Any type of cabbage leaves can be used, although red ones tend to be more effective.
Reducing Heart Disease Risk
Anthocyanin, a water-soluble pigment in red cabbage, has been linked to a reduction in inflammation. Elevated polyphenol levels in cabbage have also been associated with a reduction in blood pressure that can help maintain heart health. For heart disease prevention, consider:
• Keeping cabbage as close to raw as possible to preserve nutrients
• Using cabbage in salads instead of lettuce
• Taking 2 tablespoons of cooked cabbage a day
• Drinking 1 cup of cabbage juice daily
In fermented form as sauerkraut and kimchi, cabbage can play a role in digestive health. The probiotics in this form of cabbage increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals. The enzymes in fermented foods also help push things along within the digestive tract. For digestion and stomach issues, cabbage can be:
Consumed in its raw form, alone or in favorite recipes, to reduce constipation
• Taken as cabbage juice concentrate in capsule form to cure stomach ulcers
• Consumed as cabbage juice (from green or white cabbage) between meals to counter diarrhea
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
The American Diabetes Association notes that cabbage can naturally slow the absorption of sugar for individuals either susceptible to developing diabetes or those already living with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes. The high fiber content in cabbage also helps absorb excess glucose. For diabetes management, consider:
• Having cabbage as a side dish at least 3 times a week
• Drinking cabbage juice at least twice a day
• Having cabbage in boiled form with some lemon for flavor
Facilitating Wound Healing
One of the unique attributes of cabbage is its ability to facilitate wound healing. For the purpose of wound healing, cabbage is prepared as follows:
• Wash and dry green cabbage leave.
• Flatten leaves with a rolling pin and cut the leaves to the right size.
• Heat flat cabbage leaves in the microwave for less than a minute.
Note: The leaves will need to be changed every few hours or so at first and then it’s every 4-5 hours.
Fresh cabbage leaves can also soak up pus from ingrown toenails and similar sore by literally soaking it up and drawing it out. For this particular application:
• Tie a few leaves in place or hold them in place with a large bandage.
• Leave the leaves on the affected area overnight.
• Change the leaves daily until the affected area heals.
The amazing thing about cabbage is its versatility, either alone or as part of a mixture. One cabbage-related treatment for eczema, for instance, involves a mix of cabbage with dried bilberries, chamomile tea and watercress that’s applied directly to the skin. While not a miracle “cure-all” or a substitute for other medical treatments, cabbage is a healthy veggie with many surprise healing and preventative properties.