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Cabbage

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Cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea of the Family Brassicaceae. It is used as a leafy green vegetable. It is an herbaceous, biennial, dicotyledonous flowering plant distinguished by a short stem upon which is crowded a mass of leaves.
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Botanical Names
Brassica oleracea
Indian Names
Hindi : Bandh Gobi Marathi : Cobi Gujarati : Cobi Bengali : Bandha Cobi Tamil : Muttaikosu Malayalam : Muttakose Tamil : Cabbage, Kobi Kannada : Kosu
Chemical Constituents
Cabbage is a good source of carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and proteins. It is also a rich source of vitamin B such as riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and folate. It contains number of minerals as iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium etc (1). Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of an amino acid called glutamine. Cabbage is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Phenolic compounds are also found in cabbage such as quercetin 3-O-sophoroside-7-O-glucoside, 3-p-coumaroylquinic acid, kaempferol 3-O-sophoroside-7-O-glucoside, kaempferol 3-O-(caffeoyl)-sophoroside-7-O-glucoside, sinapoylglucoside glucoside acid, kaempferol 3-O-(sinapoyl)-sophoroside-7-Oglucoside. Organic acids such as aconitic, citric, ascorbic, malic, quinic, shikimic and fumaric acids has been identified and quantified from cabbage (2).
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritant on skin as well as in the internal organs, it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
Pharmacology
Cabbage possesses many beneficial activities. Cabbage has been proven to heal stomach ulcer. Fresh cabbage is also effective in treating fungal infection due to its sulfur content. Cabbage can lower serum cholesterol. Cabbage is a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Cabbage has been found to be associated with lower incidence of cancer, especially lung, stomach, colon, and prostate cancer (3). Cabbage contains Sulforaphane, a substance that can increase the production of antioxidant and detoxification enzymes. Sulforaphane works by stimulating the production of glutathione, the body's most important internally produced antioxidant which plays a role in liver detoxification. Cabbage contains significant amount of an amino acid glutamine which possess anti inflammatory properties thus Cabbage leaves can be used to treat acute inflammation.
Health Benefits
Being rich in vitamin A, cabbage is said to be very good for eyes as well as for skin. Cabbage contains phytonutrients that help the body in fighting against the free radicals responsible for damaging the cell membranes. At the same time, phytonutrients aid the production of enzymes that help in detoxification. The vegetable is very good for building of muscles and thus, getting a healthy body. It is rich in iodine, which is necessary for proper muscle development. Gastritis is also effectively treated by cabbage juice. Cabbage has been related to lowering of serum cholesterol (4). The vitamin B in cabbage helps in sustaining veracity of nerve endings as well as boosting of energy metabolism. Cabbage also contains lots of vitamin C and vitamin D. The former helps in the burning of fat, while the latter helps to maintain skin vigor. Cabbage contains lactic acid that acts to disinfect colon. Lactic acid is also a significant source of energy for the body. It even helps reduce soreness of muscles. Drinking 25-50 ml of cabbage juice helps to treat headache, asthma, bronchitis and digestion problems. Cabbage is known to have detoxifying properties. It purifies the blood and works to remove toxins from the body. The vitamin C and sulphur present in cabbage accounts for its detoxifying qualities. Free radicals and uric acid, which are identified to be the main cause of rheumatism, gout, arthritis, renal calculi, skin diseases, eczema, hardening and de-colorization of skin etc, are also removed from the body due to cabbage consumption.
Application in Cosmetics
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable typical of the winter months, with plenty of antioxidants. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, water and fiber. Sulphur compounds are also found in cabbage which is potent antioxidant. Thus cabbage is very beneficial for skin. Antioxidnts play an important role in free radical scavenging. Due to its sulphur content it also possesses anti fungal and antibacterial properties thus it can be used in the treatment of acne and other skin diseases (5). Cabbage has bleaching effect on the skin. Cabbage can also be used to generally lighten any form of light discoloration of the skin. This will help to get rid of the spots by the most natural possible way. Cabbage also retains the moisture in the skin. It is great for nourishing the skin. The nutrients in the cabbage nourish the skin very well and give moist clear skin. Cabbage is also very effective in the removal of freckles.
Research References
1. F. Ferreres., C. Sousa., V. Vrchovsk´a., P. Valent˜ao., J. A. Pereira, R. M. Seabra., and P. B. Andrade Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of tronchuda cabbage internal leaves. Eur Food Res Technol (2006) 222: 88–98 2. R. Fältmarsch., P. Österholm., and G. Jacks, Chemical composition of cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata) grown on acid sulfate soils J. Plant Nutr. Soil Sci. 2010, 173: 423–433 3. R. G.Mehta, J. Liu3., A. Constantinou1., C. F.Thomas1, M. Hawthorne., M. You., C. Gerhauser., J. M.Pezzuto., R. C.Moon1 and R. M.Moriarty. Cancer chemopreventive activity of brassinin, a phytoalexin from cabbage Carcinogenesis. 1995. 16(2):.399-404, 4. S. Park., J. Lee, S. Shin., J. Jung., Y. Lee., H. Son., Y. Park., S. Y. Lee., and K. S. Hahm Purification and Characterization of an Antifungal Protein, C-FKBP, from Chinese Cabbage J. Agric. Food Chem., 2007, 55 (13): 5277–5281. 5. K. H. KYUNG., and H. P. FLEMING. Antibacterial Activity of Cabbage Juice against Lactic Acid Bacteria. Journal of Food Science 1994 59(1): 125–129,