Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Collard, Kale, Brussels sprouts, Kohlrabi


Brassica oleracea belongs to the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) family. The wild form of the plant originated along the Atlantic seaboard of Western Europe and along the Mediterranean basin. Brassica oleracea has been cultivated as a vegetable for more than 2,500 years, and through selective breeding, particular characteristics of the plant have been developed. A number of types of vegetables have been derived from this wild stock through selection of favorable cultivars. Colewort (cole-plant) is the wild form; its basic domesticated forms are collard, which has enlarged leaves, and kale, which typically has curled leaves. Cabbage is another variety, whose terminal bud consists of enlarged leaves in a tight mass (a head of cabbage). Brussels sprouts are lateral buds, which appear as miniature tight forms of cabbage, and kohlrabi are the enlarged stems. Broccoli and cauliflower are inflorescences, which are clusters of flower buds atop a stem.
The Brassica vegetables have many nutrients and bioactive substances, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, carotenoids, bioflavonoids, sulfur, dithiolethiones, and glucosinolates. The Brassica vegetables, especially cabbage, can withstand extremely cold temperatures. Thus, cabbage is a diet staple in many countries.
Ethnic folk healers from the Hispanic and African-American communities have long used cabbage juice for yeast infections. Other traditional uses of cabbage include as a treatment for gout and rheumatism, and as a poultice to cleanse infected wounds.
Good scientific evidence supports the use of Brassicaoleracea for treating breast engorgement in breastfeeding women. Clinical studies in humans have also investigated the potential beneficial effects of Brassica vegetables for cancer prevention, and for various conditions, such as high cholesterol and high triglycerides, fibromyalgia, and Helicobacter pylori infection.

Related Terms

Related terms: Antioxidant, biotin, Brassica (genus), Brassica vegetable, Brassicaceae (family), broccoli seed extract, broccoli sprouts, cabbage butterfly, cabbage extract, cabbage leaves, cabbage soup diet, caffeic acid, calcium, carotenoids, Chinese cabbage, chlorogenic acid, chlorophyll, coleslaw, colewort, coumarins, cruciferous vegetables, daikon, dietary indoles, dithiolethiones, ferulic acid, fiber, flavonoids, folate, glucosinolates, glutamine, goitrin, Helicobacter pylori, histidine, hydroquinone, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), isothiocyanates, kepis, kimchi, lutein, magnesium, manganese, Oriental cabbage, phylloquinone, phytochemicals, phytoestrogens, pickled cabbage, pierisin, potassium, radishes, riboflavin, sauerkraut, sinigrin, sulforaphane, sulfur, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, zeaxanthin.
Synonyms/common names:
Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala: Brassica oleracea L. (acephala group), Brassica oleracea L. var. viridis, borecole, chou vert (French), chou vert non pommé (French), chou cavalier (French), chou à grosses côtes (French), collard, collard greens, couve galega (Portuguese), couve tronchuda (Portuguese), kale, leaf cabbage, sukuma wiki (Swahili), tronchuda cabbage.
Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra: Brassica oleracea L. (alboglabra group), brocoli de Chine (French), chou de Chine à fleurs blanches (French), bróculi (brócoli) chino (Spanish), Chinese broccoli, Chinese kale, Chinesischer Brokkoli (German), gai lan (Chinese), jie lan (Chinese), kailan (Malay), kairan (Japanese), phak khana (Thai), white flowering broccoli.
Brassica oleracea var. botrytis: Blumenkohl (German), Brassica oleracea L. (botrytis group), broccoli, brocoli, calabrese, cauliflower, cavolfiore (Italian), chou brocoli (French), chou-fleur (French), coliflor (Spanish), common cauliflower, couve brócolo (Portuguese), couve flor (Portuguese), hana kyabetsu (Japanese), hua ye cai (Chinese), kalafior (Polish), kapusta tsvetnaia (Russian), karifurawaa (Japanese), phuul gobhii (Hindi, Urdu).
Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata: Brassica oleracea L. (cabbage group), Brassica oleracea L. forma alba, Brassica oleracea L. var. conica, Brassica oleracea L. var. rubra, band gobhii (Hindi), cabbage, cavolo cappuccino (Italian), chou cabus (French), chou pommé (French), chou rouge (French), col (Spanish), couve repolho (Portuguese), Early Jersey Wakefield, gan lan (Chinese), headed cabbage, January King, kabichi (Swahili), kabichu (Swahili), kanran (Japanese), kapeti kovu (Fiji), kapisi, kapisi palangi (Tuvalu), kapusta belokachannaia (Russian), kraut, kyabetsu (Japanese), lombarda, red cabbage, red drumhead, repollo, Rotkohl (German), savoy, Weißkohl (German), white cabbage, wild cabbage.
Brassica oleracea var. costata: Bedford cabbage, Brassica oleracea L. (costata group), Brassica oleracea L. (tronchuda group), chou à grosses côtes (French), chou de beauvais (French), col portuguesa (Spanish), couve portuguesa (Portuguese), couve tronchuda (Portuguese), Madeira cabbage, Portugiesischer Kohl (German), Portuguese cabbage, Portuguese kale, ribbekaal (Danish), seakale cabbage, tronchuda cabbage, tronchuda kale, Tronchudakohl (German), white-flowered cabbage.
Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera: bao zi gan lan (Chinese), Brassica oleracea L. (brussels sprouts group), Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera Zenker, brussels sprouts, brysselkål (Swedish), chou de Bruxelles (French), col de Bruselas (Spanish), couve de Bruxelas (Portuguese), kapusta warzywna brukselka (Polish), me kanran (Japanese), me kyabetsu (Japanese), repollo de Bruselas (Spanish), rosenkål (Danish), Rosenkohl (German), spruit (Dutch).
Brassica oleracea var. gongylode: bladkoolachtigen (Dutch), Brassica oleracea L. (kohlrabi group), Brassica oleracea var. caulorapa, cabbage turnip, cai tou (Chinese), cavolo rapa (Italian), chou-rave (French), col rábano (Spanish), colinabo (Spanish), couve rábano (Portuguese), Hungarian turnip, kalarepa (Polish), kålrabbi (Swedish), kålrabi (Danish), karalábé (Hungarian), knolkhol, knolkool (Afrikaans), knudekål (Danish), Kohlrabi (German), kol'rabi (Russian), koolrabi (Dutch), kyuukei kanran (Japanese), pie lan (Chinese), ryukyu kanran (Japanese), stem turnip.
Brassica oleracea L. var. italica: Asparagus broccoli, Brassica oleracea L. var. italica Plenck, broccoli, brocoli asperge (French), brokkoli (Russian), Brokkoli (German), calabrese, cape broccoli, cavolo broccoli (Italian), chou brocoli (French), heading broccoli, kapústa sparzhevaia (Russian), lu hua cai (Chinese), parsakaali (Finnish), purple cauliflower, Spargelkohl (German), sprouting broccoli, winter broccoli.
Brassica oleracea var. medullosa: Brassica oleracea var. medullosa Thell., cavolo a midollo (Italian), cavolo da foraggio (Italian), cavolo Mellier bianco (Italian), chou fourrager (French), chou moellier (French), col de meollo (Spanish), col meollosa (Spanish), couve cavaleiro (Portuguese), couve forrageira (Portuguese), couve-repolho branca (Portuguese), fodermärgkål (Swedish), fodermarvkaal (Danish), formargkål (Norwegian), marhakáposzta (Hungarian), Markkohl (German), Markstammkohl (German), marookeeru (Japanese), marrow kale, marrow-stem kale, mergkool, rehukaali (Finnish), rehuydinkaali (Finnish), si liao wu tou gan lan (Chinese), voederkool (Dutch), voederzomerkool (Dutch), witte mergkool (Dutch).
Brassica oleracea L. var. ramosa: branching bush kale, branching cabbage, bush kale, chou branchu (French), chou cavalier (French), col caballar (Spanish), couve cavaleiro (Portuguese), perennial kale, perpetual kale, qian tou gan lan (Chinese), si liao gan lan (Chinese), Staudenkohl (German), Strauchkohl (German), Tausendkopfkohl (German), thousand-head kale.
Combination product examples: Ascorbigen®, OncoPLEX SGSTM, Pure Encapsulations®.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Breast feeding (breast engorgement) (Grade: B)
Limited scientific evidence exists for the use of cabbage leaves in breastfeeding women to reduce painful engorgement and increase the average length of time of exclusive breastfeeding. Results of other studies reported that cabbage did not perform better than a placebo treatment for relieving symptoms of breast engorgement in breastfeeding women. Additional research is needed.
Cancer prevention (Grade: C)
Epidemiological research suggests that as consumption of
Fibromyalgia (Grade: C)
Limited human research shows that broccoli or its constituents may decrease symptoms of fibromyalgia in women. Additional research is needed before general conclusions can be made.
Helicobacter pylori infection (Grade: C)
Preliminary human research indicates that
High cholesterol (Grade: C)
Limited human research suggests that consuming