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White cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba): botanical, phytochemical and pharmacological overview

Abstract

White cabbage (Brassica oleraceae var. capitata f. alba) is a cruciferous vegetable used worldwide as a food and in traditional medicine. Due to its common availability in local markets, affordability, and consumer preference, it represents a significant source of phytonutrients in the human diet. This review provides an overview of white cabbage origin, taxonomy, geographical distribution, botanical characteristics, and contemporary and traditional uses, as well as its phytochemicals and pharmacology. Special emphasis is placed on a health-promoting phytochemicals such as glucosinolates, polyphenols, and vitamins, as well as anticancerogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflamantory and cardioprotective effects. The majority of so far published research on white cabbage was focused on qualitative determination of phytochemicals (targeted analysis), while only few recent papers published data based on untargeted metabolomic profiling. Hence, this review discusses and emphasizes a further need of studying the white cabbage phytochemicals using modern metabolomics platforms which will enable scientists to pinpoint the exact bioactive metabolites which are responsible for certain bioactivity.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to Mrs. Mara Bogović from Agricultural Advisory Service of Varaždin County, Croatia, for providing us with the white cabbage photos used in the review. This work has been supported by Croatian Science Foundation under the project no. IP-2014-09-4359.

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Correspondence to Branka Salopek-Sondi.

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Šamec, D., Pavlović, I. & Salopek-Sondi, B. White cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba): botanical, phytochemical and pharmacological overview. Phytochem Rev 16, 117–135 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-016-9454-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-016-9454-4

Keywords

  • Anticancer-, anti-inflammatory-, antiobesity-, and antioxidant activities
  • Carotenoids
  • Contemporary and traditional use
  • Gastrointestinal activity
  • Glucosinolates
  • Geographical distribution
  • Hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic activities
  • Polyphenols
  • Taxonomy
  • Vitamins