Brassica / Kool


Kale, Brassica oleracea var. acephala DC [Fam. Brassicaceae], is a hardy biennial variety of cabbage. Kale is a superior food medicine containing high levels of fiber, provitamin A carotenoids, vitamins C and K, anthocyanins, other antioxidants and anticancer constituents. Based on a vast number of epidemiological studies Brassicaceae vegetables, including kale, prevent the development of abnormal growths more effectively than any other common foods.

Kale and other Brassicaceae plants including cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, collard greens, bok choy and turnips contain specific indoles that activate enzymes in the body that deactivate and dispose of dangerously reactive forms of estrogen thereby reducing the risk of abnormal growths. Indole-3-carbinol accelerates the deactivation of dangerous estrogens in women and men by about 50% at 500mg per day (equivalent to approximately fourteen ounces of raw kale) and also stimulates enzymes that convert reactive estrogens to inert and/or beneficial forms. Women with elevated estrogen metabolism have significantly lower risk of breast, uterine and endometrial abnormal growths. Researchers suspect that Asian women have less breast disease partly because they eat many cruciferous vegetables. Researchers at Eppley Cancer Institute in Nebraska found that feeding animals kale curtailed both the occurrence and the spread of breast abnormal growths. Mice fed indoles also have dramatically reduced rates of breast disease.

Cruciferous vegetables like kale also contain a compound called sulforaphane that is a potent inducer of enzymes including quinone reductase and glutathione S-transferase that detoxify carcinogens and flush them from the body. Sulforaphane, along with other isothiocyanates (derived from mustard oil glycosides or glucosinolates), also prevent abnormal growths, particularly of the stomach and colon, and reduce the severity of abnormal growths that do occur. Chemoprevention studies with animals using isothiocyanates also found that they are effective inhibitors of chemicals that induce lung abnormal growths in smokers.

Active Ingredients:

Kale contains: Mustard oil glycosides (glucosinolates), specifically 2-hydroxy-but-3-enylglucosinolate; acetyl-choline; 1.5% ammonia (NH3); aniline; arachidonic acid; .1-.8% ascorbic acid; 1.5-9.9% ash; benzylamine; n-butyl-amine; 0.12-0.77% calcium; 10-64% carbohydrates; beta-carotene; citric acid; copper; dimethylamine; .7-4.5% fat; 1.5-9.6% fiber; folacin; fumaric acid; glucobrassicanapin; glucoiberin; gluconapin; indole-3-acetonitrile; indole-3-carboxaldehyde; indole-3-carboxylic acid; 3-indoyl-methyl-glucosinolate; kaempferol; lauric acid; 0.14-0.89% linoleic acid; 0.2-1.2% linolenic acid; malic acid; methylamine; N-methyl-phenethylamine; myristic acid; niacin; oleic acid; Palmitic acid; pantothenic acid; N-pentyl-amine; phenethylamine; 0.4-3.0% potassium; progoitrin; 3.3-21.2% protein; quercetin; quinic acid; riboflavin; 1-O-sinapoyl-beta-D-glucose; sinigrin; Stearic acid; succinic acid; alpha-tocopherol; toluidene; 84-85% water.

[Information from: Duke JA. 1992. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp. 109-110].

Fresh kale contains: Water 84.4%; Protein 3.3%; Total lipid (fat) 0.7%; Carbohydrate, by difference 10.0%; Fiber, total dietary 2.0%; Ash 1.5%. Minerals: Calcium, 135mg/100g; Iron, .1.7mg/100g; Magnesium, 34 mg/100g; Phosphorus, 56 mg/100g; Potassium, 447 mg/100g; Sodium, 43 mg/100g; Zinc, 0.44 mg/100g; Copper, 0.3 mg/100g; Manganese, 0.8 mg/100g; Selenium, Se 0.9 mcg/100g; Vitamin C, 120.0 mg/100g; Thiamin 0.11 mg/100g; Riboflavin 0.13 mg/100g; Niacin 1.0 mg/100g; Pantothenic acid 0.1 mg/100g;

Vitamin B-6 0.3 mg/100g; Folate, 29 mcg/100g; Vitamin A, 8900 IU; Vitamin A, RE 890mcg; Vitamin E (ate) 0.8mg/100g. Lipids: Fatty acids, total saturated 0.1g; Total monounsaturated 0.05g; Total polyunsaturated 0.34g. Amino acids: Tryptophan 0.04g; Threonine 0.15g; Isoleucine 0.2g; Leucine 0.2g; Lysine 0.2g; Methionine 0.03g; Cystine 0.04g; Phenylalanine 0.17g; Tyrosine 0.12g; Valine 0.2g; Arginine 0.2g; Histidine 0.07g; Alanine 0.17g; Aspartic acid 0.3g; Glutamic acid 0.4g; Glycine 0.16g; Proline 0.2g; Serine 0.14g. [USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (July 2001)].

Suggested Amount:

Kale is generally eaten liberally as a food and is included in the diet as needed according to nutritional requirements. In tests on women and men, indoles "turned up" the estrogen deactivation process by about 50% with 500mg per day, which can be taken using standardized extracts or by eating approximately fourteen ounces of raw or lightly cooked kale. Taking 250mg of a 400:1 standardized extract containing 0.4mg/g sulforaphane is equivalent to one serving (100 grams) of fresh kale or broccoli. Note: Studies show that glucosinolates are hydrolyzed by myrosinase (an enzyme found in plants and bowel microflora) to form isothiocyanates. These studies indicate that isothiocyanates are about six times more bioavailable than glucosinolates, which must first be hydrolyzed. In vivo, isothiocyanates are conjugated with glutathione and then sequentially metabolized to mercapturic acids. These metabolites are collectively designated dithiocarbamates. Thorough chewing of fresh kale exposes the glucosinolates to plant myrosinase and significantly increases dithiocarbamate excretion. These findings will assist in optimizing the benefits of kale and other cruciferous vegetables for preventing disease.

Drug Interactions:None known.

Contraindications:None known.

Side Effects:None known.


Bresnick E, Birt DF, Woterman K, Wheeler M, and Markin RS. 1990. Reduction in mammary tumorigenesis in the rat by cabbage and cabbage residue. Carcinogenesis 11 (7): 1159-1163.

Carper, J. 1993. Food Your Miracle Medicine. HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York 10022-5299. Pp. 218, 222.

Hecht SS. Chemoprevention of cancer by isothiocyanates, modifiers of carcinogen

metabolism. J Nutr. 1999 Mar; 129(3): 768S-774S. Review.

Michnovicz, J. J. 1990. Induction of estradiol metabolism by dietary indole-3-carbinol in humans. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 82(11): 947-949.

Osborne MP. 1999. Chemoprevention of breast cancer. Surg Clin North Am 1999 Oct; 79(5): 1207-21.

Calif Med. 1952 Oct;77(4):248-52.Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer.CHENEY G.

Vitamin U, administered as raw cabbage juice to 100 patients with peptic ulcer, was apparently effective in promoting the rapid healing of uncomplicated peptic ulcers. The evidence of therapeutic benefit was (1) the rapid relief of the symptom, pain, without the use of any set plan of symptomatic treatment, and (2) ulcer crater healing time (determined roentgenographically) considerably shorter than in groups of cases, reported in the literature, in which "standard" types of diet and drug therapy were employed.

Calif Med. 1949 Jan;70(1):10-5. Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice. CHENEY G.

Thirteen patients with peptic ulcer were treated with fresh cabbage juice, which, experiments have indicated, contains an antipeptic ulcer factor. This factor (vitamin U) prevents the development of histamin-induced peptic ulcers in guinea pigs. The average crater healing time for seven of these patients who had duodenal ulcer was only 10.4 days, while the average time as reported in the literature, in 62 patients treated by standard therapy, was 37 days. The average crater healing time for six patients with gastric ulcer treated with cabbage juice was only 7.3 days, compared with 42 days, as reported in the literature, for six patients treated by standard therapy. The rapid healing of peptic ulcers observed radiologically and gastroscopically in 13 patients treated with fresh cabbage juice indicates that the anti-peptic ulcer dietary factor may play an important role in the genesis of peptic ulcer in man.

Medicinal Chemistry Research December 2014, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 5110–5119 Effect of garlic and cabbage on healing of gastric ulcer in experimental rats

Ben Hadda, T., ElSawy, N.A., Header, E.A.M. et al. Med Chem Res (2014) 23: 5110. doi:10.1007/s00044-014-1092-z

The effect of garlic (Allium sativum) and cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata) extracts on the healing of gastric ulcer in experimental rats has been investigated. Thirty-three albino male rats (115 ± 4 g B.Wt. each) were used and divided into 6 groups (n = 6 rats); one was used as a negative control while the others were given aspirin orally (200 mg/kg B.Wt.). One of these groups was employed as a positive control and the others were administrated with 150 or 300 mg/kg B.Wt. doses of garlic and cabbage juice for 7 days. The length of the gastric ulcer, the volume of gastric juice, the total acidity, the pH value, the total bacterial count, and the histopathological changes of the stomach were examined. Results revealed that oral administration with both tested plant extracts reduced the length of gastric ulcer, the total acidity, the volume of gastric juice, the bacterial count, and the histopathological changes caused by aspirin. On the other hand, both aqueous plants extract increased the pH value of gastric juice. It is concluded that, garlic and cabbage extract could be used for healing acute gastric ulcer.