10 Perilla Oil Benefits That’ll Leave You Surprised

Perilla leaves are used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating different ailments. It is a wonderful antidote for food poisoning. Besides this, scientists say that perilla oil benefits are mainly attributed to its anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antidepressant, anticarcinogenic, and antioxidant properties.

Fact: Local Chinese used various varieties of perilla. The leaves were used as a vegetable and its seeds make healthy cooking oil. (1)

Let’s understand this essential oil in detail.

What is Perilla Oil?

Perilla oil is extracted from roasted perilla seeds by mechanically pressing them. The extracted oil has 38 to 45% of lipids. It is used as vegetable oil for cooking. It has a distinct taste and aroma.

Perilla oil is a good source of both unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. Besides this, it also has stearic acid and palmitic acid in large amounts. (2)

what is perilla essential  oil

About the plant:

Perilla is also known as Korean perilla. The plant belongs to the mint family – Lamiaceae. Locally, the plant is called banjira and is broadly consumed by local people.

Fact: Perilla is native to the Himalayan regions of India & China. The major producers of perilla (commercially) are Thailand, Korea, Japan, and East Asia.

The plant is now commercially grown in USA, Russia, and Europe.

Perilla can be easily distinguished from its minty smell. It is used in Brazil for pest and cattle control.

The plant attains a height of 60-90 cm in length and its stalks are hairy. The leaves are oppositely oriented, each 2.8 – 4.7 inches long and 2 – 3 inches wide.

The leaves are oval shaped and have sharp edges. The margins are serrated and the stalks are long. The leaves are purplish green and flowers grow during late summer.

The calyx is 3-4 mm long where three sepals are arranged in the upper layer and the remaining two are organized in the lower layer.

The seeds are dark brown and globular-shaped. The common names of perilla are wild coleus, beefsteak plant, purple mint, perilla red, shiso (Japanese), perilla white, JiSoo, perilla, wild basil, purple perilla, purple mint, rattlesnake weed, wild red basil, summer coleus, and Chinese basil.

Note: In the U.S., perilla is a well-known weed pest and is toxic to cattle after digestion.

Scientific Name of Perilla Oil

The botanical name of perilla is Perilla frutescens.

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History of Perilla Oil

Perilla has been used for thousands of years to eliminate the poisonous effects of scorpion stings and adverse effects of seafood.

People in Japan & Korea use perilla leaves as a key ingredient while cooking raw fish, shellfish, and in the preparation of red meat.

It is also used to cure cough, cold, and indigestion. Perilla leaves can also be consumed as a decoction.

The leaves of perilla work as an effective herbal and culinary medicine. In a few publications of early 1990s from Japan show that perilla helps to boost the immune system and is effective for the treatment of allergic reactions. It is widely used in China, Korea, Japan, and some other Asian countries.

Fact: One of the varieties of perilla – “Perilla frutescens” or “shiso” is grown widely in Japan. They garnish it in their soups and use it as a natural food colorant and an antidote for crab & fish meat allergies. (3)

Color, Consistency, and Smell of Perilla Oil

  • The color of perilla oil is pale to golden yellow.
  • The consistency of perilla oil is light and thin.
  • The smell of perilla oil is earthy and minty.

Properties of Perilla Essential Oil

The various properties of perilla oil include:

  • Rejuvenator – Nourishes the skin deeply
  • Anti-dandruff - Clears dandruff
  • Anti-tumorogenesis - Prevents tumor progression
  • Antiasthmatic - Reduces respiratory issues
  • Digestive - Promotes digestion
  • Carminative – Gets rid of flatulence
  • Anti-allergic – Reduces allergies
  • Renoprotective - Protects the kidneys
  • Anti-depression – Eases depression
  • Anti-inflammatory - Prevents swelling
  • Analgesic - Reduces pain
  • Febrifuge - Decreases fever
  • Cardioprotective - Decreases bad cholesterol levels
  • Nervine tonic - Improves brain function

Chemical Compounds in Perilla Essential Oil

benefits of perilla oil

Oleic acid is the monounsaturated fatty acid present in perilla oil. It also includes gamma-linoleic acid, linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, and alpha-linolenic acid, which are the polyunsaturated acids found in perilla oil. (4)

Other compounds include rosmarinic acid, alpha-pinene, hexadecanoic acid, (−)-perillylalcohol, alpha linoleic acid, 1,2-Di-O-alpha-linolenoyl-snglycerol, perillaldehyde, 14- methyl ester, trans-shisool, lilial and heptadien 1 ol 2,4-dimethyl.

The powder of perilla oil is considered as a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. It has been proved from earlier published researches that alpha-linolenic acid helps in improving heart health. Along with omega 3 fatty acids, perilla is also fortified with omega 6 fatty acids.

Note: Alpha-linolenic acid & linoleic acid are considered as essential fatty acids in perilla. (5)

Health Benefits Of Perilla Oil

Though perilla oil benefits are abundant, the most prominent ones that have been demonstrated by different studies in recent years include:

  • Works as a cardioprotective agent
  • Protects kidney damage  
  • Prevents skin darkening
  • Clears respiratory problems
  • Potent anticancerous agent
  • Helps treat Parkinson's disease
  • Treats allergies
  • Eases depression
  • Prevents dandruff & hair loss
  • Helps treat stomach ulcers

1. Works as a cardioprotective agent

Perilla oil works as a potent cardioprotective drug.  This is mainly due to the presence of alpha-linolenic acid in large amounts. It decreases the risk of different cardiovascular diseases. (6)

Perilla essential oil increases the activity of glucose-6-phosphatase and improves the stability of the membranes. Further, it decreases the level of plasma triacylglycerol and has been in controlling the composition of liver fatty acids.

By regulating glucose metabolism, it prevents the accumulation or deposition of body fat and controls serum lipid concentration.

Perilla oil is also found effective in reducing the probability of arterial plaque formation. The oil works as a potent cardioprotective by reducing the probability of cholesterol deposition.

2. Protects kidney damage

Perilla oil works as a strong renoprotective. (7)

It is found effective in regulating hypertension. It prevents blood pressure from going elevated. By reducing your blood pressure, it reduces the pressure on the kidneys and prevents damage.

From a number of studies, it has been proven that prolonged hypertension is the cause of kidney impairments, and if left untreated, the condition worsens, damaging your kidneys to a great extent. In fact, the condition can even become lethal.

3. Prevents skin darkening

Perilla oil also helps in improving your natural beauty. Being a rich source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids, it helps in preventing the signs of aging, especially fines lines & wrinkles.

It keeps your skin to have a natural glow by improving its overall texture. (8)

When massaged gently, it prevents skin darkening by regulating the expansion of melanocytes.

4. Clears respiratory problems

Perilla essential oil is found effective in the treatment of respiratory problems. It regulates the allergies aroused from environmental factors that cause asthma and pneumonia.

The oil is also effective in decreasing inflammatory compounds like leukotriene C4 & B4. (9)

5. Potent anticancerous agent

Perilla oil has antioxidant and anticancerous properties. It has been found effective in reducing the risks of colon cancer, breast cancer, and tumor in the kidneys. (10)

It is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid. Different studies show that low alpha-linolenic acid in the body is one of the main reasons for breast cancer. However, the essential oil of perilla is found to be an inhibitor of HCT116 cell proliferation, PC12 cells, and mammary tumor.

Being a strong anticancerous agent, it also participates in sublimating other factors that are responsible for tumor progression.

6. Helps treat Parkinson's disease

Perilla oil is found effective in the treatment of several neural problems like Parkinson's, loss of signaling, and memory loss. (11)

The oil is often used in the preparation of several drugs, especially for neurodegenerative disorders. Parkinson’s is a disease that usually appears in old ages, where one’s neural control and signal transfer in his or her brain are badly affected.

Also, the dopamine levels and its secretion are badly affected, progressing the disease gradually. In later ages, the patient lacks connectivity of brain and body, making him or her completely dependent for his or her daily jobs.

However, perilla oil is found effective in maintaining the Ca & K signaling, which triggers the Na/k pump and helps the joints to work properly.

Na/K pump is the key process of nerve impulse transaction. Perilla oil is used for preparing drugs and can also be massaged on the limps for better results.

7. Treats allergies

Perilla oil also works as a strong anti-allergic drug. This is mainly due to the presence of rosmarinic acid, which inhibits allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. (12)

From studies it has been found that rosmarinic acid increases the response of itchy nose, itchy eyes, running nose, and watery eyes it also found to decrease the eosinophil and neutrophil counts in the fluid obtained from nasal discharge. (13)

In a study conducted on BALB/c mice, it was reported that rosmarinic acid reduced irritation in the ear & eyes, serum histamine, and IgE levels in mice that had an allergy. It also inhibits the expression of IL-1β, TNF-α, and cyclooxygenase 2 protein expression in mRNA & protein.

It also regulates the activity of caspase-1. Rosemeric acid also proved to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, especially against allergic rhinitis. (14)

8. Eases depression

Perilla oil works as a potent antidepressant drug. This is mainly due to the presence of perillaldehyde in large amounts. (15, 16)

Perillaldehyde works as an antidepressant agent and show its effects on the olfactory nervous system.

Interestingly, a study was conducted on mice to test their swimming response. In Wistar rats, it was seen that the vasodilatation takes place by inhibition of Ca channels. This process was ameliorated by perillaldehyde.

Perillaldehyde directly showed its effect on smooth muscles. Perillaldehyde is also found effective to cause slight vasodilation of Ca+2 ionophores and contracted aortas. It also inhibited the concentration of K+ mediated vasodilation.

9. Prevents dandruff & hair loss

Perilla oil is also found effective in the treatment of dandruff and hair fall rescue.

It prevents the growth of dandruff by controlling the growth of Microbacterium furfur. The oil is also effective in preventing baldness and itchy scalp. (17)

When perilla oil (but diluted with a carrier oil) is massaged on the scalp, it helps in protecting the scalp from various infections.

After a massage, leave for 30 minutes and then, wash off with a mild shampoo.

10. Helps treat stomach ulcers

Perilla oil helps in curing stomach ulcers. It is used in several medicines for treat ulcers, reduce inflammation, pain, and heal wounds.

What Blends with Perilla Oil?

Perilla oil blends the best with:

How To Use Perilla Oil?

how to use perilla oil on skin

Perilla is a plant of multiple health benefits. It has been used in different forms for different purposes. While its leaves are used in the treatment of cough and cold, its powdered seeds are used as dietary supplements. (18)

Perilla oil is used as a raw material for manufacturing leather. It also often works as varnish or waterproof paint, to oil the cloths, and to print ink.

  • Culinary use: The oil is widely used for cooking purpose; it works as a popular ingredient for soups and sauces.
  • Industrial uses: It is often used in the preparation of several industrial products like industrial solvents and ink.
  • Medicinal uses: Perilla is widely used as an effective drug for cardiovascular diseases. This is mainly due to the presence of omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid in abundance. (19)
  • Traditional uses: Historically, perilla was used as a fuel in lamps.
  • Topical application: Mix 2-3 drops of perilla essential oil with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use this mixture to massage your body.
  • Skincare: Mix 2-3 drops of perilla oil to your moisturizer or night cream and apply it for a radiant glow.

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Side Effects of Perilla Oil

Perilla oil is used as vegetable oil for cooking. It has abundant amounts of saturated fatty acids. However, these saturated fatty acids can cause a large number of adverse effects.

On the appearance of any type of inflammation or dermatitis, use of perilla oil must be discontinued.

People using perilla powder as a dietary supplement must not exceed 6 months.

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