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Perilla (Shiso)
perilla frutescens


Lamiaceae Family

perilla Genus
Physical Description

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

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Tounge Order (Mints)
Euasterids I
Euasterids I
Real Stars Group One
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Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
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General Information

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee)
Genus: Perilla (per-IL-uh)
Species: frutescens (froo-TESS-enz)
Perilla, or Shiso, is a genus of annual herb that is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. In mild climates the plant reseeds itself. The most common species is Perilla frutescens var. japonica or shiso which is mainly grown in India and East Asia. There are both green-leafed and purple-leafed varieties which are generally recognized as separate species by botanists. The leaves resemble stinging nettle leaves, being slightly rounder in shape. It is also widely known as the Beefsteak plant. In North America, it is increasingly commonly called by its Japanese name, shiso, in addition to being generally referred to as perilla. Its essential oils provide for a strong taste whose intensity might be compared to that of mint or fennel. It is considered rich in minerals and vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help preserve and sterilize other foods. In Nepal and parts of India, it is called silam. Its seeds are ground with chili and tomatoes to make a savoury dip side dish.

It is sometimes known as purple mint, Japanese basil, or wild coleus (although it is not a mint, basil or coleus).

Perilla is traditionally used in Chinese medicine and has been shown to stimulate interferon activity and thus, the body's immune system.

The Japanese call the green type aojiso , aoba ("green leaf"), ōba (corruption of aoba, "big leaf") or aoshiso and often eat it with sashimi (sliced raw fish) or cut into thin strips in salads, spaghetti, and meat and fish dishes. It is also used as a flavorful herb in a variety of dishes, even as a pizza topping (initially it was used in place of basil).

The purple type is called akajiso and is used to dye umeboshi (pickled ume) red or combined with ume paste in sushi to make umeshiso maki.

An inflorescence of shiso is called hojiso (ear shiso). Its young leaves and flower buds are used for pickling in Japan and Taiwan.
Shiso plant with forming leaves, stem and leaf detail

Vietnamese cuisine uses a variety similar to the Japanese hojiso but with greenish bronze on the top face and purple on the opposite face. The leaves are smaller and have a much stronger fragrance than hojiso. In Vietnamese, it is called tía tô, derived from the characters whose standard pronunciation in Vietnamese is tử tô. It is usually eaten as a garnish in rice vermicelli dishes called bún and a number of stews and simmered dishes.

The plant's Korean name is deulkkae or tŭlkkae which means 'wild sesame'.). The same word is also used when referring to its seed, which has many uses in Korean cuisine, just as the leaves (kkaennip, 깻잎) do. The literal translations of deulkkae ("wild sesame") and kkaennip ("sesame leaf") are in spite of perilla's not being closely related to sesame, and Korean cookbooks translated to English sometimes use these translations. Cans of pickled kkaennip can be found in Korean shops all over the world, with some ground red pepper between every two leaves in the can. The leaves' essential oils provide for their strong taste. Fresh leaves have an aroma reminiscent of apples and mint and are eaten in salad dishes. The flavor is distinct from Japanese perilla, and the leaf appearance is different as well larger, rounder, flatter, with a less serrate edge and often, a violet coloring on the reverse side. Perilla oil is extracted from the seeds; the cake can be used as animal food. Perilla oil has a rich taste and scent slightly resembling dark sesame oil. Perilla seed can be cooked with meals, roasted, crushed to intensify its taste and or mixed with sesame and salt.

[edit] Chemistry

The essential oil extracted from the leaves of perilla by steam distillation consists of a variety of chemical compounds, which may vary depending on species. The most abundant, comprising about 5060% of the oil, is perillaldehyde which is most responsible for the aroma and taste of perilla. Other terpenes such as limonene, caryophyllene, and farnesene are common as well.

Of the known chemotypes of perilla, PA (main component: perillaldehyd) is the only one used for culinary purposes. Other chemotypes are PK (perilla ketone), EK (elsholzia ketone), PL (perillene), PP (phenylpropanoids: myristicin, dillapiole, elemicin), C (citral) and a type rich in rosefuran.

Perilla ketone is toxic to some animals. When cattle and horses consume purple mint (of the PK chemotype) while grazing in fields in which it grows, the perilla ketone causes pulmonary edema leading to a condition sometimes called perilla mint toxicosis.

Perilla oil is obtained by pressing the seeds of perilla, which contain 35 to 45 percent oil. In parts of Asia, perilla oil is used as an edible oil that is valued more for its medicinal benefit than its flavor. Perilla oil is a very rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. As a drying oil similar to tung oil or linseed oil, perilla oil has been used for paints, varnishes, linoleum, printing ink, lacquers, and for protective waterproof coatings on cloth. Perilla oil can also be used for fuel.

The oxime of perillaldehyde (perillartin) is used as an artificial sweetener in Japan as it is about 2000 times sweeter than sucrose.

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Violet Lavender
White Near White

Blooms late Summer Early Fall

-Grown for foliage

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Rich in carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E and K, and various essential minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Leaves have known medicinal value: they are effective remedies for asthma, coughs, colds and pain, as well as for mitigating allergic reactions (e.g. hayfever) and strengthening immunity. The leaves contain anti-oxidants, and the substance which causes the distinctive flavour (peril-aldehyde) has strong anti-bacterial effects and prevents food poisoning.

100g leaves contain:
500 mg potassium
230 mg calcium
70 mg magnesium
70 mg phosphorus
1.7 mg iron
11000 µg beta-carotene
880 µg retinol

0.13 mg vitamin B1
0.34 mg vitamin B2
0.19 mg vitamin B6
26 mg vitamin C
3.9 mg vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol)
690 µg vitamin K
110 µg folic acid

How to Enjoy it:

Best appreciated raw in salads and sandwiches, it's flavour and fragrance go well with egg, fish and meat. Wrap around rice balls, cheese or salmon. Chop and mix with ginger root in stir-fries or sprinkle over a hot steak. Great for sauces.
Pasta with Smoked Salmon and Shiso sauce:
Allow at least three leaves of Shiso per person. Wash the leaves and cut finely. While boiling the pasta, heat 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic in olive oil in a saucepan as the first step im making the sauce. Next add smoked salmon (trimmed edges are good for this) then Shiso leaves and the sauce is complete. Toss the pasta with this sauce. (Do not cook Shiso leaves they will loose their flavour and discolour).

- Plant
- Plant - June 16, 2009

- Plant
- Plant - June 16, 2009

- Plant
- Plant - June 16, 2009

Comment: Perilla (Shiso), perilla frutescens

Page Posts: 2


Windsor, CA USA September 13, 2009
For those of you who don't know what to do with Beefsteak/perilla leaves, they are a suitable replacement for basil in most recipes, including pesto and pizza. If you want to try out a couple of Korean recipes, you can check out this video:


or if the pesto idea intrigues you, you can check out this video:

June 27, 2009
What is the name of this Herb?

Look for Perilla (Shiso) on:
Google: Perilla (Shiso) Wikipedia: Perilla (Shiso) YouTube: Perilla (Shiso)
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