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Perilla leaves, aka kkaennip or shiso, may have benefits that go beyond nutrition.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the perilla leaf, also known as the beefsteak plant, may treat everything from canker sores to stomach ailments. Although science has some ways to go before it properly assesses the health benefits of perilla leaves, this herb might just be your key to better well-being.

Here are a few proven ways in which the perilla plant goes beyond providing nutrition—

Support Immunity

Perilla leaves contain compounds that support the overall function of the immune system. During the winter months, reach for this herb to maintain stronger immunity against cold, fever, chills, headache, stuffy nose and allergies. Using perilla oil for cooking may be a good preventive measure in the flu season.

Lower Heart Disease Risk

Perilla oil, extracted from perilla seeds, has a ratio of healthy fats that may help prevent heart disease. Perilla leaf powder also has a high level of antioxidants that help curb the oxidation of cholesterol in your food, preventing your arteries from accumulating plaque and hardening. 

Ease Stomach and Intestinal Discomfort

Research shows that perilla leaves can reduce feelings of bloating, gas, and uncomfortable fullness. They do this by strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter (which prevents acid reflux) and easing cramps with high levels of flavonoids, rosmarinic acid, and caffeic acid. 

Augment Respiratory Health

A study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology reports that a four-week treatment with perilla seeds increases lung capacity significantly in patients with asthma. This may be due to the generous amount of quercetin, luteolin and rosmarinic acid in the perilla plant. Higher lung capacity supports and is indicative of overall respiratory health

Support Brain Health and Manage Depression

Researchers have found that the alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) in perilla seeds could aid in lowering depression. That’s because ALA fights disease-causing free radicals, reduces inflammation, and potentially protects brain cells from conditions like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. 

Perilla leaves (a.k.a Kaennip in Korean, sūye, sūzǐyè, sūzǐ in Chinese and egoma, shiso in Japanese) have numerous health benefits for the young and old. This #FunctionlFood is easy to cook with and tastes delicious in salads, wraps and several oriental recipes. Perilla oil is an excellent cooking oil substitute and can also be used to create flavourful dressings, dips and sauces.

So, add these yummy, crunchy leaves to the list of greens you regularly shop for! We’re sure you’ll love them!

References

  1. Ethnomedicinal, Phytochemical and Pharmacological Investigations of Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt. Molecules. 2019 Jan; 24(1): 102.
  2. A Review on Bioactivities of Perilla: Progress in Research on the Functions of Perilla as Medicine and Food Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 925342.
  3. Intake of Alpha-Linolenic Acid-Rich Perilla frutescens Leaf Powder Decreases Home Blood Pressure and Serum Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein in Japanese Adults Molecules. 2020 May; 25(9): 2099.
  4. Perilla Extract improves gastrointestinal discomfort in a randomized placebo controlled double blind human pilot study BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014; 14: 173.
  5. Effects of Perilla Seed Oil Supplementation on Leukotriene Generation by Leucocytes in Patients with Asthma Associated with Lipometabolism Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2000;122:137–142.
  6. Perilla frutescens var. japonica and rosmarinic acid improve amyloid-β25-35 induced impairment of cognition and memory function Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Jun; 10(3): 274–281.
  7. Health effects of omega-3,6,9 fatty acids: Perilla frutescens is a good example of plant oils Orient Pharm Exp Med. 2011; 11(1): 51–59.