A member of the mint family, perilla is used in a variety of Asian foods to add both flavor and color. It is also grown ornamentally in gardens.
The stem of the plant is used in Chinese medicine for treatment of morning sickness. The leaves are said to be helpful for asthma, colds and flus, and other lung problems.
What is Perilla Used for Today?
Recently, extracts of perilla have undergone study as a treatment for allergic rhinitis
Animal studies hint that perilla might also be useful for a different type of allergy: the severe, rapid reaction known as anaphylaxis, commonly associated with shellfish, peanut, and bee-sting allergies.
Very weak evidence suggests that rosmarinic acid and/or perilla may have anti-cancer effects
A typical dosage of perilla should supply 50–200 mg of rosmarinic acid daily. Perilla also contains luteolin, a substance that may also have anti-allergic actions. 10,11
In the small clinical trials and animal studies conducted thus far, use of perilla and/or rosmarinic acid has not been associated with significant adverse effects. Due to the wide use of perilla in Asian cooking, as well as the prevalence of rosmarinic acid in many spices, these substances are assumed to have a relatively high level of safety. However, comprehensive safety testing has not been reported. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.
1. Osakabe N, Takano H, Sanbongi C, et al. Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism. Biofactors . 2005;21:127–31.
2. Takano H, Osakabe N, Sanbongi C, et al. Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic phytochemical, inhibits seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in humans. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) . 2004;229:247–54.
5. Renzulli C, Galvano F, Pierdomenico L, et al. Effects of rosmarinic acid against aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin-A-induced cell damage in a human hepatoma cell line (Hep G2). J Appl Toxicol . 2004;24:289–96.
6. Osakabe N, Yasuda A, Natsume M, et al. Rosmarinic acid inhibits epidermal inflammatory responses: anticarcinogenic effect of Perilla frutescens extract in the murine two-stage skin model. Carcinogenesis . 2004;25:549–57.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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