Some people suffer intestinal gas after eating cooked cabbage, but the gas is something the sufferers have made, not something in the cabbage. It's the product of bacterial action on the cabbage's rich dose of fiber. Still, you can add certain herbs and spices, even to plain boiled cabbage, that might help to keep the bacteria from overdoing their job and reduce the gas. The list of these "carminative" herbs varies among sources and not all of the flavors sound very good with cabbage, but some of them may surprise you.
Set cabbage to boil alongside seeds and leaves that traditionally flavor other foods that go with cabbage. Dill seeds and whole coriander, two elements of pickling mixes normally used in corned beef, are also recognized as carminative herbs. So are some of the herbs often used in sausages, such as sage, the members of the basil family and cumin, as well as the caraway seed from rye bread.
Add finer versions of some of the same plants after boiling the cabbage, or in butter or a light sauce, for a more delicate flavor. Cilantro is the leaf of coriander, and coriander is also available ground. Dill leaves are visually attractive as well as possibly helpful in preventing gas. Rosemary and savory might also have carminative effects.
Mix fennel into boiled cabbage as seed, garnish a cabbage dish with the dill-like leaves, or coarsely shred fennel stems to add to cabbage cut to a similar size and braised in butter.
Experiment with sweet spices. A few whole cloves added to the boiling water for cabbage impart a delicately complementary flavor and aroma and may help to prevent gas during digestion. Other sweet spices that may be carminative include allspice, cinnamon and ginger. Lavender and various mints may be best consumed in the same meal as cabbage, if not the same dish.
Things You'll Need
Green cabbage, cut in wedges
Stainless-steel saucepan or pot
Water to cover
Marjoram, basil, and oregano
Because eating habits are so complex, few scientific studies can clearly support the digestive effects of any culinary herbs. The National Library of Medicine's database of information on herbs and supplements (see Resources), summarizes the investigations that have been conducted on some ingredients.