Cabbage – Both Food And Medicine

Ingredient Spotlight 26 February 2018

During the winter, respiratory infections can be frequent – Cabbage, a vegetable often eaten throughout this season, can in fact help to prevent a number of problems!

Although red and green cabbages are recommended, cabbages of all varieties (white, red and green cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli…) all have similar beneficial effects on our health. They can be used in a variety of ways, for example made into fresh juice or for a poultice. Cabbage is particularly helpful for boosting our immunity or in response to the first signs of respiratory infections.

Its chemical composition rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, C, K, carotenoids, anti-oxidative lutein, gives cabbage its anti-inflammatory and emollient properties. These are particularly effective when dealing with colds, bronchitis or throat and gut inflammation. Cabbage also contains anti-infective sulphur derivatives (glucosinolates), an amino acid similar to methionine which encourages protein synthesis. And it doesn’t end there! Cabbage also contains a high percentage of anti-oxidative flavonoids, as well as anti-inflammatory and veinotonic properties. All of these properties can in prevent the development of cancer, as shown by a number of studies. 

Cabbage has been cultivated since prehistoric times and the Greeks even considered it to be ‘sacred’ but rarely consumed it. The vegetable was then regarded to be so beneficial for good health that the Romans believed they would never need to see a doctor again simply by eating it!


Cabbage and its internal uses

  • To prevent a dry or productive cough and voice loss from worsening, two glasses per day of fresh leaf juice (extracted after centrifuging) are recommended. The anti-inflammatory effect should quickly be felt.
  • You can also make a honey & cabbage syrup by bringing the leaf juice to a boil and adding the same quantity of honey. Reduce the liquid until you obtain a syrup-like consistency and take three to four teaspoons per day.
  • Cabbage leaf juice can also help to fight against bacterial infections and attacks throughout the winter.
  • After indulging a little too much (New Year’s Eve for example..), you can follow a light detox by drinking one to two glasses of fresh cabbage leaf juice during a period of 48 hours. The juice will encourage digestion of fatty foods, stimulate                   diuresis and will soothe any bloating and gut inflammation.

Cabbage and its external uses

As the weather gets colder, joint pains can develop or become more painful. These can be soothed by applying a poultice of fresh cabbage leaves, prepared with the following recipe:

  • Wash two to three leaves of green cabbage
  • Remove thick stems
  • Cut into pieces
  • Slide in between two pieces of fabric
  • Make sure everything is well flattened using a rolling pin

Heat can also be used by simply blanching a few leaves in boiling water and then ironing the poultice. The poultice is applied on the painful area and should be renewed every two to four hours.

This poultice can also be used on burns, for sore throats and coughs associated with bronchitis and also for skin irritation.

Our winter tip: Just make sure to drink one glass or carrot or cabbage juice per day to avoid any winter worries!



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FOURNIER (Paul) Plantes médicinales. Tome I. Éd.Connaissance des mémoires européennes Société Nationale d’Horticulture de France.

GIRRE (Loïc), Les vieux remèdes naturels. Éd.Ouest-France

NON (Shaw), Phytothérapie, Guide illustré du bien-être, Éd.Köneman

MOREL (Jean.Michel), Traité pratique de phytothérapie. Éd.Grancher