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Shiso Perilla: Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

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What is Shiso Perilla?

Shiso perilla is a bushy shrub in the mint family. The shrub predominantly grows on the Asian continent, including India, Japan, Korea and China. Communities in these regions grow shiso perilla as a source of food because it is rich in nutrients. The plant produces perilla oil, a rich source of healthy fats, proteins and other essential vitamins and nutrients. Other names for shiso perilla include Chinese basil, rattlesnake weed, wild coleus, purple mint, wild sesame and shrubby perilla.

The plant has two main types: purple-leafed and green-leafed. It can grow to a height between 60 and 90 centimeters. This plant is highly resilient and it can grow on a wide range of soil types, including gravel, sand and loam. The plant features slightly square, free branched stems (x, x).

Shiso perilla juice is a popular refreshment in many parts of the globe. Mixing it into juice is a great way to incorporate shiso perilla into a daily diet or health regimen. The leafy stems from shiso perilla can also make refreshing teas. However, dried leaf stems often make better tasting and more aromatic tea than fresh stems. Shiso perilla leaves also make an excellent garnish and they are popular ingredients in Asian cuisine. The leaves make tasty soups and salads and they are also common in sushi dishes. The herb is a beautiful and aromatic garden plant with an alluring minty scent (x).

Traditional Medicine

Many different cultures in Asia use shiso perilla leaves and seeds. For example, Japanese cultures have used the leaves as a garnish for seafood dishes. Some cultures utilize its seeds to create oil for dyes, ink and varnish. The dried leaves also have medicinal uses for various health conditions, bone and joint strength and respiratory function (x).

Perilla leaves are an ancient medicinal tool for treating wind-cold disorders, including coughs, headaches and congestion, especially in children. The seed extract is warm and mild, which may play a role in its efficacy for coughs and other respiratory conditions (x). Experts in ancient medicine techniques believe that it also disperses stagnant qi, which helps relieve stress and possibly helps with mood disorders.

According to research, the Song dynasty was the first civilization to use the herb, as an ingredient in several medicinal formulas. However, it was during the Han dynasty that shiso perilla gained its reputation as a powerful medicinal herb. Some techniques combined shiso perilla with ingredients like cyperus, ginseng, aquilaria, citrus and agastache (x).

Health Benefits of Shiso Perilla

Cholesterol

Shiso perilla has the potential to support cardiac health by regulating cholesterol levels in the body. The seeds contain essential oils that increase healthy cholesterol, which helps to prevent many cardiac disorders, including stroke and heart attacks and atherosclerosis (x). In addition, the herb may also help keep plaque from building up in the blood vessels. In addition, the plant is rich in antioxidants that may help combat oxidation and keep cholesterol from accumulating in the arteries (x).

Mental Stress

Shiso perilla seeds are rich in antioxidants that may have positive effects on dopamine in the brain, which plays a role in mood. The antioxidants may stimulate dopamine production and release and research claims it may even help with depression. In traditional medicine, the essential oils from the seeds function as tools to address other forms of mental stress, such as anxiety and panic disorder (x).

Immune Health

According to studies, shiso perilla may also help stimulate the immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight diseases and infections. Research concludes that the herb may be able to help regulate inflammatory activity (x).

Digestive Health

Shiso perilla leaves are rich in flavonoids that may help relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain. Flavonoids may also help eliminate bloating and nausea. In addition, the oil from shiso perilla may help minimize inflammation in the stomach to support healthy digestion (x).

Oxidative Stress

Shiso perilla extracts may also reduce oxidative stress, which research associates with various health complications, including cancer and heart disease. If the body has large quantities of free radical molecules, they can cause oxidative damage. Since the herb is rich in antioxidants, it may help prevent free radicals from causing damage to the body (x).

Oral Health

Shiso perilla may also successfully support oral health thanks to its antibacterial properties. It contains luteolin, a chemical compound that prevents tooth decay. Studies indicate that its leaves and seeds may potentially reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth, which might help prevent tooth decay and other types of damage to oral health (x).

Skin Health

According to research, shiso perilla may also support healthy skin. For example, they may be able to protect the skin against the sun’s UV rays and potentially minimize the risk of sun damage and possibly even skin cancer. In addition, shiso perilla oil may also reduce breakouts, including blackheads and acne. In fact, it is a common ingredient in many cosmetic products. It works well with skin that is prone to breakouts because it is mild, but it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (x).

Joint Health

Shiso perilla extract may also help minimize inflammation and bone and joint pain. For example, traditional medicinal practices use the herb for patients with different forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (x).

Respiratory Health

According to research, shiso perilla extracts may support respiratory health by relieving the symptoms associated with the common cold and flu, seasonal allergies, bronchitis and asthma. The extract is rich in alpha linolenic acid, luteolin and rosmarinic acid that clear the airways and help support easy breathing. Research indicates that the extract has the potential to significantly boost lung capacity. In addition, rosmarinic acid in shiso perilla extract might help prevent skin allergies and inflammation (x).

Nutritional Content

Researchers commend shiso perilla for its high nutrient content, which makes it an excellent ingredient in many meals (x).

Healthy Fat & Protein

It is not common to find edible leaves that contain fats. However, for every 100 g, shiso perilla leaves only contain 1 g of fat. Fortunately, the leaves only have unsaturated fat which, unlike saturated fat, does not increase the risk of cardiac disorders. Instead, this dietary fat promotes overall health (x). The oil extracted from the seeds also contains proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that promote overall health and metabolism (x).

Carbohydrates, Sugar & Fiber

Every 100 grams of perilla leaves contain 7 g of carbohydrates. In addition, the leaves do not contain sugar, which makes them an excellent choice for patients with high blood sugar. The leaves also contain high fiber levels, which may help with weight loss because it increases satiety. In addition, dietary fiber supports digestion and cardiac health (x).

Vitamins & Minerals

Shiso perilla leaves are rich in minerals, including calcium and iron. The extract also contains large quantities of vitamin C, which supports vision and cardiovascular health (x).

Benefits of Shiso Perilla

Why Try Shiso Perilla Supplements?

Advances in technology enable nutritionists and health professionals to isolate the active compounds in perilla leaves and seeds. Many scientists have tried to identify the pharmacology of various compounds in perilla, including linoleic and rosmarinic acids (x).

Perilla seeds contain fats and volatile oils. In fact, 60 percent of the fats in perilla seeds are omega-3 fatty acids, which can help minimize inflammation and promote cardiovascular health (x). Primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, snapper and halibut and flaxseeds. Alternatives with lower concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids include walnut, canola and soy oil. However, the oil extracted from perilla seeds has the highest quantity of plant-based omega fatty acids, possibly even higher than flaxseed oil (x).

Perilla seed oil is also rich in policosanols, which help maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the body. Perilla leaves and seeds are also rich in rosmarinic acid that may help support digestion and minimize harmful bacteria in the mouth and GI tract (x).

Side Effects of Shiso Perilla

According to research, shiso perilla is possibly safe as an oral supplement for up to eight months. However, as a topical treatment it may cause an allergic rash on the skin. In addition, pregnant and breastfeeding patients should avoid the extract altogether. There is not enough evidence to determine if it is safe for pregnancy or lactation.

There are many different factors that determine the best dosage recommendation for shiso perilla, including the patient’s age and health. Nevertheless, patients should follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid side effects. In addition, patients should also be sure to consult a physician if they take any medication before supplementing with shiso perilla extracts to avoid negative interactions.

Bottom Line

Shiso perilla is an herb that predominantly grows in Asian countries, such as Japan, India, China and Korea. It is a common ingredient in traditional medicinal practices combined with other herbs to help treat various health conditions. The herb has several different health benefits and research states that it may promote cardiac, oral and digestive health. It is rich in antioxidants that may help reduce oxidative stress and fight the effects of free radicals that cause damage and disease in the body. Shiso perilla extract is also rich in vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins and fiber. It is not a cure for any medical condition. However, with a physician’s approval, it may help promote overall health.

About the author

Carey Ojuju


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