Anxious? Consuming more wild cabbage can improve symptoms, according to a study

More than one-eighth of the world’s population suffer from anxiety, a mental health problem characterized by feelings of fear and uncertainty. Most of the time, the reasons for these feelings are either imagined or heightened by the brain. If these persist, anxiety disorders can negatively affect a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for this condition. One of the plants that have shown great potential as a treatment for anxiety is the wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea). The anti-anxiety activity of this plant was first observed in mice by a group of Indian researchers.

Although there are conventional medications for anxiety, such as benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), these can cause further harm to individuals taking them. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights International identified hallucinations, delusions, confusion, violence, depression, and suicidal thoughts as some of the side effects of anti-anxiety medications. Moreover, it is also very difficult to stop using these medications. Because of these side effects, more and more people are being encouraged to switch to medicinal plants that are known to be safer.

Wild cabbage is the source of the famous cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflowers. These vegetables are known for their high nutritional content and their many health benefits. One of the biological activities that are sought after from wild cabbage is its ability to neutralize free radicals, which can be attributed to the presence of phytochemicals like phenolic compounds. This antioxidant activity is important for treating diseases associated with free radical-induced oxidative stress, such as depression, nervous system impairment, and anxiety.

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In this study, which was published in the Pharmacognosy Journal, the researchers determined the effects of different doses of wild cabbage extracts on the anxiety-like behavior of Swiss albino mice. They used different setups for this, including the elevated plus maze, mirror chamber test, and hole-board test. From these experiments, the authors observed that wild cabbage treatment caused significant reductions in anxiety-like behavior.

In addition, the researchers also conducted a phytochemical analysis of the extracts. They identified the presence of alkaloids, carbohydrates, phytosterols, phenols, tannins, flavonoids, and diterpenes. These bioactive compounds are potentially responsible for the anti-anxiety behavior of wild cabbage.

Overall, this study shows that wild cabbage has potent anti-anxiety activities. Once the specific compounds responsible for this activity have been identified, this edible food can be further developed into a safer alternative for anti-anxiety medications. (Related: Anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills proven to kill thousands of American each year.)

Other health benefits of wild cabbage

Wild cabbage is an excellent source of nutrients like fibers, vitamins C, E, and K, folate, minerals, glucosinolates, and sulforaphane. The presence of these nutrients contributes to the many health benefits of this plant, which include the following:

  • Reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis
  • Regulating sugar levels and improving insulin resistance
  • Eliminating toxins like arsenic and pesticides from the body
  • Relieving pain in patients with fibromyalgia
  • Lowering the risk of stomach, bladder, breast, lung, and colon cancer
  • Diminishing inflammation
  • Enhancing cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients
  • Preventing stomach ulcers
  • Improving symptoms of autism
  • Managing blood pressure

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