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Family Brassicaceae / Cruciferae
Petchay
Brassica chinensis (L.)
CHINESE CABBAGE, PAK CHOI
Ba cai

Scientific names Common names
Barbarea derchiensis S.S. Ying Pechay (Tag.)
Brassica antiquorum H. Lév Petchay (Tag.)
Brassica asperifolia Lam. Petsay (Tag.)
Brassica brassicata A. Chev. Chinese cabbage (Engl.)
Brassica briggsii Varenne. Chinese chard (Engl.)
Brassica campestris L. Chinese celery cabbage (Engl.)
Brassica celerifolia (Tsen & S.H.Lee) Y.Z.Lan & T.Y. Cheo Snow cabbage (Engl.)
Brassica chinensis L. White cabbage (Engl.)
Brassica coiza H. Lév. Pe-tsai (Engl.)
Brassica dubiosa L.H.Bailey Pak-choi (Eng.)
Brassica macrorhiza Gray  
Brassica napella Chaix  
Brassica narinosa L.H.Bailey  
Brassica pe-tsai var. dentata Matsum. & Nakai  
Brassica pekinensis var. petsai Lour.  
Brassica rapa (L.)  
Brassica rapa var. chinensis (L.) Kitam.  
Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis (L.) Hannelt  
Brassica rapoasiatica Sinskaya  
Brassica rapoeuropea Sinskaya  
Brassica tuberosa Salisb.  
Caulanthus sulfureus Payson  
Crucifera rapa E.H.L.Krause  
Napus campestris (L.) Schimp. &. Spenn.  
Napus rapa (L.) Schimp. &. Spenn.  
Raphanus campestris (L.) Crantz  
Raphanus rapa (L.) Crantz  
Sinapis pekinensis Lour.  
Sinapis rapa (L.) Brot. .  
Brassica chinensis L. is a synonym of Brassica rapa L. The Plant List
Brassica rapa L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Bai cai, Huang ya cai, Da bai cai, Juan xin bai, Hung ya bai cai, Huang ya bai, Wong nga paak.
DANISH: Kinakål, Kinesisk kål, Petsai kål, Salatkål.
DUTCH: Chinese kool, Petsai kool.
ESTONIAN: Pekingi kapsas.
FINNISH: Salaattikiinankaali, Kiinankaali.
FRENCH: Chou de Pékin, Chou de Chine pommé, Chou pommé de Chine, Chou à salade pékinois, Chou pékinois, Chou blanc de Pékin, Chou de Shanton, Salade pékinoise, Chou pe-tsai.
GERMAN: Breitblättriger China-Kohl, Schantungkohl, Pekingkohl, Chinakohl.
GREEK: Kinezika lahana, Kineziko lahano.
ITALIAN: Cavolo sedano.
JAPANESE: Hakusai, Hakusai.
NORWEGIAN: Kinakål.
POLISH: Kapusta Pekinska.
PORTUGUESE: Couve petsai.
RUSSIAN: Kapusta Pekinskaja.
SPANISH: Repollo chino, Col de China, Col petsai.
SWEDISH: Salladskål, Sellerikål, Kinesisk petsai.
THAI: Phakkat khao pli

Botany
Pechay is an erect, biennial herb, growing about 15 to 30 centimeters tall in vegetative state. Leaves are ovate, spreading, and arranged spirally. Petioles are enlarged, growing upright forming a subcylindrical bundle. Inflorescence is a raceme with pale yellow flowers. Seeds are 1 millimeter in diameter, reddish to blackish brown in color.

Distribution
- An ancient vegetable, cultivated over 4000 years.
- Cultivated in the Philippines,
grown from low to mid elevations throughout the year.

Constituents
- Each 100 g of fresh edible portion yields: water,93.0 g; protein, 1.7 g; fat, 0.2 g; carbohydrates, 3.1 g; fiber, 0.7 g; ash, 0.8 g; beta-carotene, 2.3 g; vitamin C, 53.0 mg; calcium 102.0 mg; phosphorus, 46.0 mg; iron, 2.6 mg; energy value 86.0 kJ. (2)
- Vitamin content of a cup of shredded pechay: vitamin C, 20.5 mg; folate, 60 mcg; vitamin K, 32.6 mcg; with small amounts of vitamins A, niacin and B6. (4)

Properties
- Studies have suggested anti-tumor, immunomodulating, antioxidant, phytoremediating properties.

Parts used
Leaves, stems, seeds.

Uses

Culinary
- Used primarily for its immature, fully expanded and tender leaves. Succulent petioles are preferred parts.
- Ingredient for soups and stir-fried dishes.
- In Chinese cuisine, green leaves are used as garnish. (2)
- Roots eaten raw or cooked as vegetable.
- Tops used as potherb like spinach.
Folkloric
- No reported folkloric use in the Philippines.
- Elsewhere, stems, leaves, and powdered seed used as cancer remedy. Boiled roots used for breast tumors. (9)
Others
- Livestock: Roots used as livestock feed.

- Occasionally suspected of poisoning bovines, sheep, and pigs. (9)

Studies
Phytoremedition of Arsenic and Lead:
Phytoremediation is a process of absorption of contamination, such as heavy metals, from the soil. Study evaluated B. rapa;s ability to absorb arsenic and lead from the soil. Results showed all plants contaminated with arsenic absorbed some of it. Only two of nine samples absorbed any lead. Under specific conditions, Brassica rapa is able to absorb arsenic but not lead. (3)
Immunomodulating: Study evaluated the effects of various extracts of Brassica rapa on cell mediated immune response in mice. In both innate and acquired immunity models, chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanolic extracts of B. rapa glands significantly and dose-dependently reduced paw thickness. Study assumes glucosinolates contributed in the more pronounced effects of the ethyl acetate extract and suggests further studies to identify the constituents and immunomodulating mechanisms. (5)
Glucosinolates / Anti-Cancer:
Glucosinolates are S- and N-containing secondary metabolites found in abundance in plants belonging to the Brassicaceae genus. Study evaluated the mutagenic and/or anti-mutagenic properties of crude B. rapa chinensis extracts by comparing it against Mitomycin-C, a known mutagenic drug. Results showed glucosinates in the crude Petchay extract are potential antimutagenic compounds in human lymphocytes, and suggests glucosinates may potentially prevent cancer from proliferating in the human body. (6)
Effects on Fructose-Induced Metabolic Syndrome:
Study evaluated the role of Brassica rapa on fructose-induced metabolic syndrome in rats. Results showed BR attenuated most of the changes associated with metabolic syndrome: reduced weight gain and blood glucose, MDA, nitric oxide, total triglycerides and total cholesterol, also elevating blood GSH and liver glycogen. (7)
Antioxidant: Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of crude extract and fractions from Brassica rapa for glutathione peroxidase (GPx), superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzymes and total antioxidant status in blood samples. Results showed concentration dependent effects of GPx, SOD, and TAS, suggesting potential applications for pharmaceutical usage due to its antioxidant properties. (8)
Thrombolytic / Membrane Stabilizing:
Study evaluated the in vitro thrombolytic and membrane stabilizing properties of B. rapa subsp. chinensis. The carbon tetrachloride soluble fraction exhibited the highest clot lysis. A crude methanol extract along with other extractives showed inhibition of hemolysis of erythrocyte membrane in hypotonic solution and heat-induced conditions. (11)
Chemopreventive / Antiproliferative:
Study evaluated the mutagenic and/or antimutagenic properties of crude Brassica rapa chinensis extracts for possible cancer chemopreventive potentials. Glucosinates in crude Petchay extracts are potential antimutagenic compounds in human lymphocytes and may potentially prevent proliferation of cancer in the human body. (12)
Effect of Blanching on Vitamin C in Leafy Vegetables:
Study evaluated the percentage (%) loss of vitamin C due to effects of different blanching times and physical forms. The effect of the vegetable's physical form on vitamin C loss was significant (p<0.05)—cut leaves lose more vitamin C than intact ones. While blanching vegetables makes leafy vegetables more palatable, it reduces their antioxidant properties drastically. Results suggest shorter blanching times of vegetables may reduce the loss of vitamin C. (13)

Availability
Cultivated.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

April 2014
Last Updated December 2015


Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Sorting Brassica names / /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 - 2020 The University of Melbourne.
(2)
Pechay Production Guide / MIMAROPA
(3)
Phytoremediation of Arsenic and Lead Using Brassica rapa / Brittainy S. Tidwell, John C. Ayers Ph.D. / Young Scientist Journal, May 2011 Issue / Supported by the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt Department of Earth and Environmental Science
(4)
Vitamins in Pechay / William McCoy, Apr 14, 2014 / Livestrong
(5)
The effects of chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanolic extracts of Brassica rapa L. on cell-mediated immune response in mice / A. Jafarian*, B. Zolfaghari and M. Mirdamadi / Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, August 2013; 8(3): 159-165
(6)
Micronucleus Assay on Crude Petchay (Brassica rapa chinensis) Extract: Preliminary Study on its Cancer Chemopreventive Potential / E.V. Garcia*, N. N. Lontok**, A. A. Ramos / Proceeding of The International Seminar on Chemistry 2008 (pp. 280-284) / Jatinangor, 30-31 October 2008
(7)
Effects of Brassica Rapa on Fructose-Induced Metabolic Syndrome in Rats: A Comparative Study / Amira M. Abo-youssef*, Rabab Mohammed / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 21(1), Jul – Aug 2013; n° 01, 1-5
(8)
The antioxidant potential of Brassica rapa L. on glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase enzymes and total antioxidant status / Saima Gul / Sagheer Ahmed / Humaira Gul / Kaneez Fatima Shad / Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq / Diana Badiu / Romanian Review of Laboratory Medicine, Volume 21, Issue 2 (Jun 2013)
(9)
Brassica rapa L. / Folk Medicine / PurdueEdu
(10)
Brassica rapa / Synonyms / The Plant List
(11)
In vitro Thrombolytic and Membrane Stabilizing Studies of Brassica rapa subsp. chinensis (L.) Hanelt / Nushrat Jahan, SM Ashikur Rahman, Mohammad S Rahman, Mohammad A Rashid / Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Journal, Vol 17, No 2 (2014)
(12)
Micronucleus Assay on Crude Petchay (Brassica rapa chinensis) Extract: Preliminary Study on its Cancer Chemopreventive Potential / E.V. Garcia*, N. N. Lontok**, A. A. Ramos / Proceeding of The International Seminar on Chemistry, 2008 (pp. 280-284)
(13)
Determination of percentage loss of vitamin C in some leafy vegetables at different blanching conditions /
Tan , Yee Wen / (2006) / Nutrition. Foods and food supply / Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

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