Perilla is a genus consisting of one major Asiatic crop species Perilla frutescens and a few wild species in nature belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. The genus encompasses several distinct varieties of Asian herb, seed, and vegetable crop, including P. frutescens (deulkkae) and P. frutescens var. crispa (shiso).The genus name Perilla is also a frequently employed common name (“perilla”), applicable to all varieties. Perilla varieties are cross-fertile and intra-specific hybridization occurs naturally. Some varieties are considered invasive.
Further information: Deulkkae, Shiso, and Perilla oil
Perilla varieties are cultivated and consumed mainly in Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. P. frutescens leaves, seeds, and seed oil are used extensively in Korean cuisine, while P. frutescens var. crispa leaves, seeds, and sprouts are used in Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines.
Perilla is one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is called Zi Su (紫苏), and is used to disperse wind-cold, bloating, and stomach and lung problems. It is sometimes paired with Tu Huo Xiang or Guang Huo Xiang to dispel dampness and tonify qi.
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