The genus name Perilla is also a frequently employed common name ("perilla"), applicable to both varieties.Perilla frutescens is a perennial plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae. This species encompasses two distinct varieties of a traditional crop from East Asia:
Though now lumped into a single species of polytypic character, the two cultigens continue to be regarded as two distinct commodities in the Asian countries where they are most exploited. While they are morphologically similar, the modern strains are readily distinguishable. Accordingly, the description is used separately or comparatively for the cultivars.
As a case in point, both varieties have foliage that outwardly looks the same: broad ovate leaves which are serrated, arranged oppositely, but the green shiso leaf (pictured left) is easily differentiated from "sesame leaf" of the same color (Korean: Hangul: 깨; RR: deulggae; MR: kkaenip) by taste and fragrance. The shiso's distinctive flavor comes from its perillaldehyde component, present only in low concentration in the wild sesame foliage. Korean investigators in recent years found that in the Korean perilla, the most active aroma compounds were perilla ketone, (Z)-3-hexenal (green), egoma ketone, and isoegoma ketone.
The red (purple) forms of the shiso (forma purpurea and crispa) come from its pigment, called "perilla anthocyanin " or shisonin. The color is present in both sides of the leaves, as well as the entire stalk, and flower buds (calyces).
The red crinkly-leafed version (called chirimenjiso in Japan) was the form of shiso first examined by Western botany, and Thunberg named it P. crispa (the name meaning "wavy or curly"). That Latin name was later retained when the shiso was reclassed as a variety.
Also, bicolored cultivars (var. Crispa forma discolor Makino; (katamenjis)) are red on the underside of the leaf (see pictured, top right). Green crinkly-leafed cultivars (called chirimenaojiso, forma viridi-crispa) are seen.
The wild plant grows taller (60 to 150 cm ) and yields larger, softer seeds, while the shiso is shorter (40 to 100 cm) and produces harder, smaller seeds.
Citable source for diameter difference is wanting, but comparison of seeds by mass shows shiso to weigh about 1.5 g per 1000 seeds, whereas the oilseed weighs 4 g per 1000 seeds.
The flawed assertion that "the seeds are difficult to distinguish even by scanning electron microscope" is taken out of context, since the original source actually discusses the carbonized grain lodged in crumbs of breadlike food excavated from Yayoi period or even Jomon period strata.
Suggested native origins are mountainous terrains of India and China, although some books say Southeast Asia.
It spread throughout China some time in remote antiquity. One of the early mentions on record occurs in Renown Physician's Extra Records (Chinese: 名-; pinyin: Míng Yī Bié Lù), around 500 AD, where it is listed as su (-), and some of its uses are described.
The perilla was introduced into Japan around the eighth to ninth centuries.
The species was introduced into the Western horticulture as an ornamental, and in the United States became naturalized and established in a widespread area, and may be considered weedy or invasive.
The classification of Perilla is confused, partly because botanists struggled with distinguishing the two distinct cultigens (as different species or variations).
An early example of dividing the two cultigens into different species is found in Matsumura's nomenclature book in 1884, where the synonym P. arguta Benth. is applied to shiso, and the synonym P. ocymoides L. was applied to the oilseed perilla.
The species name P. ocymoides or P. ocimoides has been used to denote the oilseed variety for a long time, especially by the Japanese, so it should not be considered a synonym for either cultigen interchangeably.
It is well-established that the two varieties are cross-fertile. The desired essential oil yield will be compromised if the seed for sowing becomes hybridized, and "it is very difficult to distinguish genuine perilla seed from hybrid seed". The escaped types no longer retain the distinctive shiso fragance and are not fit for consumption.
The scarlet-leaved form of shiso was introduced into the West around the 1850s, when the ornamental variety was usually referred to as P. nankinensis. This red-leafed border plant eventually earned the English-language name "beefsteak plant". This was the English equivalent name was in standard usage over a period, authoritative Kenkyūsha's New Japanese-English Dictionary.[clarification needed] Due to that legacy, the old-fashioned name remains in circulation today.
Other common names, "perilla mint", "Chinese basil", or "wild basil" are in use, as well.
The alias "wild coleus" or "summer coleus" probably describe ornamental varieties.
The red shiso or su tzu types are called purple mint or purple mint plant.
It is also called rattlesnake weed in the Ozarks, because the sound the dried stalks make when disturbed along the footpath is reminiscent of the rattlesnake rattling sound.
The red perilla has red leaves and used mostly in fish stews in China. Koreans make pickled "wild sesame" perilla leaves with red chili powder and soy sauce. Oil extracted from P. frutescens var. frutescens "is still used to cover cookies in rural areas of Korea". Sometimes, the seeds are ground and added to soup for seasoning in Korea.
The Japanese shiso leaves grow in green, red, and bicolored forms, and crinkly (chirimen-jiso) varieties, as noted. Parts of the plants eaten are the leaves, flower and buds from the flower stalks, fruits and seeds, and sprouts.
Japanese use green shiso leaves raw with sashimi. Dried leaves are also infused to make tea. The red shiso leaf is not normally consumed fresh, but needs to be e.g. cured in salt. The pigment in the leaves turns from purple to bright red color when steeped in umezu, and is used to color and flavor umeboshi.
Until around the Sengoku period (early 16th century) in Japan, perilla oil was important for fueling oil lamps, until it was overtaken by rapeseed oil.
The oilseed contains drying oil elements and imported in bulk as a substitute for linseed oil into the United States from Japan, until the supply was interrupted by war.
The red-leaved shiso, in earlier literature referred to as Perilla nankinensis, became available to gardening enthusiasts in England circa 1855. By 1862, the English were reporting overuse of this plant, and proposing Coleus vershaeffeltii or Amaranthus melancholicus var. ruber made available by J. G. Veitch as an alternative.
It was introduced later in the United States, perhaps in the 1860s.
The oilseed variety contains about 38-45% lipid. Expressed from these seeds, the perilla oil exhibits one of the highest proportions of omega-3 (α-linolenic acid (ALA) fatty acids of any seed oil, at 54-64% and only 14% linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. This unusual n6:n3 ratio gives this crop potential for an alternative to other seed oils.
The Japanese type (shiso) contain only about 25.2-25.7% lipid, but still contains a comparable 60% ratio of ALA.
The acuta variant produces the natural product perilloxin, which is built around a 3-benzoxepin moiety. Perilloxin inhibits the enzyme cyclooxygenase with an IC50 of 23.2 μM.Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen also work by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase enzyme family.