Cabbage or headed cabbage (comprising several cultivars of Brassica oleracea) is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop numbering about 100 varieties. Most of the species comes from the Mediterranean and China. The stem is upright, branchy, reaches a height of 1.8 m. Firstly, the leafy cabbage varieties were introduced into agriculture. Brassica oleracea is the oldest and most widely cultivated variety is from the west of England. Cauliflower, kohlrabi, kale and Chinese cabbage have also been cultivated since ancient times. The cabbage head is the edible part of the vegetable. Egiptians cultivated it 6 centuries BC. It was served as a dessert at the end of dinner.
Cabbage has good taste qualitities. In winter it is a good source of ascorbic acid.
Sugar content of cabbage is an indicator of its suitability for pickling. Sauerkraut acquires a number of new properties: eating qualities improve, cellular tissue loosens, content of organic acids increase. The brine improves digestion, contributes to bile secretion. It has a laxative effect and it is reccomended for hemorrhoids treatment.
Cabbage mineral content is rather low. Its peculiar scent is due to the mustard oil which includes sulfur. Meteorism which is often observed after the consumption of cabbage, is also a result of mustard oil content. Energy value of this vegetable is low.
Cabbage improves intestinal motor function, stimulates the elimination of cholesterol from the body, improves endogenous intestinal microflora. Consumption of raw cabbage is much better for your health. Cabbage juice is recommended for patients with low acidity gastritis. Cabbage juice is kept in the fridge no longer than for a day because it acquires an unpleasant smell. In folk medicine, cabbage juice is used to treat lont-time healing wounds , burns, to reduce the dryness of the skin, remove age spots.
The composition of the bioactive substances in cabbage is unique. The content of proteins is much more considerable than it is in carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips. Cabbage proteins are source of essential amino acids (lysine, threonine, methionine) which are necessary for blood formation, growth and tissue repair, adrenals, thyroid, kidney functioning stimulation, and dissolution and elimination of foreign proteins. Kale contains less protein (1.5%) than other varieties of cabbage –the Brussels sprout (protein content up to 6%), broccoli (3.6%). Cabbage is famous for containing vitamin U: it prevents the occurrence of peptic ulcer disease and activates the liver function. Cabbage is rich in vitamin K. It is necessary for normal metabolism, wound healing, fibrillation, bone formation and healthy teeth. Cabbage is a valuable source of vitamin C. Cabbage contains a considerable amount of vitamin E, B1, B2, B3, P (high), PP, H, carotene, provitamin D. Cabbage contains almost no starch (0.1-0.5%) and small amount of sucrose so it is useful for diabetics. The cabbage contains malic acid, citric acid, succinic acid, fumaric acid and oxalic acid.
In modern medicine, cabbage is used as an important part in the diet food for people with heart disease and other kinds of health disorder. Cabbage tones up, but it does not excite. It increases the body's resistance to viral infections. It may reduce bleeding, it has a mild diuretic effect, regulates water metabolism. It lowers the acidity.