''Perilla frutescens'', commonly called perilla or Korean perilla, is a species of ''Perilla'' in the mint family Lamiaceae. It is an annual plant native to Southeast Asia and Indian highlands, and is traditionally grown in the Korean peninsula, southern China, Japan and India as a crop. An edible plant, perilla is grown in gardens and attracts butterflies. It is aromatic with a strong mint-like smell. A variety of this plant, ''P. frutescens'' var. ''crispa'' or "shiso", is widely grown in Japan. In the United States, perilla is a weed pest, toxic to cattle after ingestion.


Along with other plants in the genus ''Perilla'', the plant is commonly called "perilla". It is also referred to as "Korean perilla", due to its extensive cultivation in Korea and use in Korean cuisine. In Korean, the name ''kkae'' () refers to both the plant and the seed of sesame and perilla. Sesame is called ''chamkkae'' (; literally "true ''kkae''"), while perilla is called ''deulkkae'' (; literally "wild ''kkae''"). Because of this, ''deulkkae'' is sometimes mistranslated as "wild sesame". It is called ''egoma'' (荏胡麻) in Japanese, and, in Chinese, the plant is called ''zĭsū'' (紫苏) or ''sūzǐ'' (苏子). The leaves are called "perilla", "perilla leaves", or "Korean perilla leaves" in English, and ''kkaennip'' (; literally "leaf of ''kkae''") in Korean. The leaves are called ''sūyè'' (苏叶) or ''sūzǐyè'' (苏子叶) in Chinese. In the US, where the plant has become a weed, the plant is known by many names such as perilla mint, beefsteak plant, purple perilla, Chinese basil, wild basil, blueweed, Joseph's coat, wild coleus and rattlesnake weed.

Infraspecific taxa

''Perilla frutescens'' has three known varieties. * ''P. frutescens'' (var. ''frutescens'') – called Korean perilla or ''deulkkae''. * ''P. frutescens'' var. ''crispa'' – also called ''shiso'' or ''tía tô''. * ''P. frutescens'' var. ''hirtella'' – also called lemon perilla.


Perilla is an annual plant growing tall, with hairy square stalks. The leaves are opposite, long and wide, with a broad oval shape, pointy ends, serrated(saw-toothed) margins, and long leafstalks. The leaves are green with occasional touches of purple on the underside. The flowers bloom on racemes at the end of branches and the main stalk in late summer. The calyx, long, consist of upper three sepals and the hairy lower two. The corolla is long with its lower lip longer than the upper. Two of the four stamens are long. The fruit is a schizocarp, in diameter, and with reticulate pattern on the outside. Perilla seeds can be soft or hard, being white, grey, brown, and dark brown in colour and globular in shape. 1000 seeds weigh about . Perilla seeds contain about 38-45% lipid. File:Perilla frutescens var. frutescens' flower.jpg|flowers File:Perilla frutescens' raceme.jpg|raceme File:Perilla frutescens var. frutescens' foliage.jpg|leaves File:Ripe deulkkae (Perilla frutescens).jpg|ripe plants (autumn) File:Deulkkae (Perilla frutescens) seeds.jpg|seeds


The plant was introduced into Korea before the Unified Silla era, when it started to be widely cultivated. In its natural state, the yield of perilla leaves and seeds is not high. If the stem is cut about above ground level in summer, a new stalk grows and it produces more fruit. Leaves can be harvested from the stem cut off in the summer, as well as from the new stalk and its branches, throughout summer and autumn. The seeds are harvested in autumn when the fruits are ripe. To collect perilla seeds, the whole plant is harvested and the seeds are beat out of the plant, before being spread for sun drying.

Traditional medicine, phytochemicals, and toxicity

Various perilla varieties are used for traditional medicine in Southeast Asia. Characteristic aroma-active phytochemicals in perilla leaves include hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, furans, and ketones, particularly perilla ketone, egoma ketone, and isoegoma ketone. Other compounds include perillaldehyde, limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, menthol, and alpha-pinene. The ''crispa'' variety is differentiated by leaf and stem colors, which vary from green to red to purple, indicating the presence of anthocyanins. Although perilla is widely cultivated as an edible plant for humans, it is toxic to cattle and other ruminants, as well as horses. In grazing cattle, plant ketones cause acute respiratory distress syndrome, also called "panting disease".

Adverse effects

Contact dermatitis may occur in people handling the leaves or oil. Consumption of large amounts of seeds has resulted in anaphylaxis.

Nutritional value

Perilla seeds are rich in dietary fiber and dietary minerals such as calcium, iron, niacin, protein, and thiamine. Perilla leaves are also rich in vitamins A, C and riboflavin.



East Asia

= China

= In Manchu cuisine, perilla leaves are used to make ''efen'', ("steamed bun"). The perilla buns are made with glutinous sorghum or glutinous rice flour dough filled with red bean paste and wrapped with perilla leaves. The dish is related to Food Extermination Day, a traditional Manchu holiday celebrated on every 26th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar.

= Japan

= In Japan, the plant is called ''egoma'' (荏胡麻), and used far less compared to shiso (''Perilla frutescens'' var. ''crispa''). In the Tōhoku regions of northeastern Japan, it is known as ''jūnen'' ("ten years"), because it was believed to add ten years to a person's lifespan. A local preparation in Fukushima Prefecture, called ''shingorō'', consists of half-pounded non-glutinous rice patties, which are skewered, smeared with ''miso'', blended with roasted and ground ''jūnen'' seeds, and roasted over charcoal. Oil pressed from the seeds was historically used to in lamps. The warlord Saitō Dōsan (1494–1556) was said to have been originally a seller of ''egoma'' seed oil.

= Korea

= In Korean cuisine, ''kkaennip'' or perilla leaves are widely used as a herb and a vegetable. ''Kkaennip'' can be used fresh as a ssam vegetable, fresh or blanched as a namul vegetable, or pickled in soy sauce or soybean paste to make ''jangajji'' (pickle) or kimchi. ''Deulkkae'', the perilla seeds, are either toasted and ground into powder called ''deulkkae-garu'' or toasted and pressed to make perilla oil. Toasted ''deulkkae'' powder is used as a spice and a condiment for ''guk'' (soup), ''namul'' (seasoned vegetable dishes), ''guksu'' (noodle dishes), kimchi, and ''eomuk'' (fishcake). It is also used as ''gomul'' (coating or topping) for desserts: ''Yeot'' and several ''tteok'' (rice cake) varieties can be coated with toasted perilla powder. Perilla oil made from toasted perilla seeds is used as a cooking oil and as a condiment. In Korean-style western food, perilla leaves are sometimes used to substitute basil, and the seed powder and oil is used in salad dressings as well as in dipping sauces. A Michelin-starred restaurant in Seoul serves nutty vanilla ice cream whose secret ingredient is perilla oil. Korean cuisine-Ssam-01.jpg|''Kkaennip'' (perilla leaves) as a ''ssam'' (wrap) vegetable Kkaennip deulgireum bokkeum.jpg|''Kkaennip'' stir-fried in perilla oil Kkaennipjeon (perilla).jpg|''Kkaennip-jeon'' (pan-fried perilla leaves) 깻잎부각.jpg|''Kkaennip-bugak'' (deep-fried perilla leaves) Kkaennip-jangajji 2.jpg|''Kkaennip-jangajji'' (pickled perilla leaves) Kkaennip-kimchi.jpg|''Kkaennip-kimchi'' (perilla leaf kimchi) Deulkkae (perilla).jpg|''Deulkkae'' (perilla seeds) Chueotang chopi (Zanthoxylum piperitum) deulkkae (Perilla frutescens) buchu (Allium tuberosum).jpg|''Chueo-tang'' (loach soup) served with chopi and ''deulkkae'' (perilla seed) powder Deulkkae-gamja-ongsimi.jpg|''Gamja-ongsimi'' (potato dough soup) boiled with ''deulkkae'' powder Korean cuisine-Namul-03.jpg|''Goguma-sun-deulkkae-muchim'' (sweet potato stems seasoned with ''deulkkae'' powder) File:Korean granita.jpg|Perilla ''granita''

South Asia

= India

= In India, perilla is called ''silam''. Perilla seeds are roasted and ground with salt, chilis, and tomatoes to make a savoury side dish or chutney. In Kumaon the seeds of Bhangira (cultivated Perilla) are eaten raw, the seed oil is used for cooking purposes, and the oil cake is consumed raw or fed to cattle. The roasted seeds are also ground to prepare a spicy chutney. The seeds and leaves of Perilla are also used for flavoring curries in north east India. Manipuri cuisine uses the ground roasted seed in a salad locally known as 'singju'. Known as nei lieh by the Khasis its seeds are used in salads and meat dishes. The Assamese,Bodos and Nagas are also well aware of its uses.

= Nepal

= In Nepal, perilla is called ''silam'' (सिलाम). Perilla seeds are roasted and ground with salt, chilis, and tomatoes to make a savoury dip/side dish or chutney.

Seed oil

Having a distinctive nutty aroma and taste, the oil pressed from the toasted perilla seeds is used as a flavor enhancer, condiment, and a cooking oil in Korean cuisine. The press cake remaining after pressing perilla oil can be used as natural fertilizer or animal feed.

See also

* ''Shiso'' (''Perilla frutescens'' var. ''crispa'') * ''Sesame'' (''Sesamum indicum'')


{{Taxonbar|from=Q1076038 Category:Edible nuts and seeds Category:Herbs Category:Korean cuisine Category:Korean condiments Category:Korean vegetables Category:Lamiaceae