Beefsteak (Perilla frutescens): Distribution, Description, and Uses

Beefsteak (Perilla frutescens): Distribution, Description, and Uses


The beefsteak plant, also known as perilla, is an annual herbaceous plant that belongs to the Labiatae family (Perilla frutescens). Its leaves are commonly used to add taste and colour to a variety of Asian dishes. It’s also used as a decorative plant in gardens. In Chinese medicine, the stems, leaves, and seeds of the beefsteak plant are used individually to cure a range of ailments. The plant’s stem has long been used as an analgesic and anti-abortive. The leaves are supposed to aid in the treatment of asthma, colds, and flus, as well as regulate stomach function. The seeds, on the other hand, are used for dyspnea and cough reduction, phlegm removal, and intestinal relaxation.

Perilla frutescens leaves

Anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and anti-tumour compounds found in beefsteak plants have received a lot of attention. The use of extracts from beefsteak plants as a therapy for allergic rhinitis has recently been investigated. Rosmarinic acid, which is abundant in beefsteak plants, has anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties. Although animal studies suggest that beefsteak plants may be effective for a distinct sort of allergy, such as anaphylaxis, a severe, quick reaction often linked with shellfish, peanut, and bee-sting allergies, there are limited findings on the antioxidant activity of beefsteak plant leaves and seeds. There is a need for an overall measure of the antioxidant activity of extracts from the beefsteak plant, given the growing interest in the association between antioxidants and illnesses. Both the leaves and the seeds are used in popular and traditional Chinese herbal treatments for colds and coughs, as well as to aid digestion.


Perilla, Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton], is an annual herb that grows in Asia and is endemic to the hilly parts of China and India. Perilla is also known as Bhanjira in India, and it can be found in the tropical and temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Bhutan. In China, Korea, and Japan, P. frutescens leaves are widely used for flavouring, food, medicine, and oil, as well as one of the most popular garnishes and food colourants. Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt. (Lamiaceae) and its variations are popular food plants in Asian nations like China, Korea, Japan, and Thailand (Asif and Kumar, 2010; Heci, 2001).


1. The beefsteak plant has rich burgundy stems and reaches one to three feet tall. The leaf’s upper portion is wrinkled.

2. It blooms in late summer with little purple flowers that emerge from a hairy central stalk. The beefsteak plant prefers full light, while soil type has less of an impact on where it grows. The foliage turns a dark burgundy colour in direct sunshine, and the leaves develop enormous serrated teeth.

3. This plant can be found in places where other plants would not grow due to soil conditions, such as railroad right-of-ways. This plant has two-lipped, nettle-like flowers. From August through October, they bloom at the ends of stalks.

4. Perilla attracts butterflies and is a beautiful garden plant. It has a distinct minty scent and is fragrant. The stems are square, reddish-purple, and branched, growing up to four feet tall when in bloom.

5. The leaves are huge, up to 15 cm across, dark green with reddish-purple tints, and hairy (Foster & Duke, 1990; Manandhar, 2002; Diggs et al., 1999).

6. Locals have traditionally employed a variety of perilla varieties. P. frutescens leaves are eaten as a vegetable. In China, P. frutescens var. crispa is more commonly utilised for its medicinal benefits than var. frutescens, which may be distinguished by their distinct leaf and stem colours, which range from green to red to purple, suggesting the presence of anthocyanins.

7. The presence of malonylshisonin (3-O-(E)-p-coumaryl-D-glucopyranosyl)-5-O-(6-O-malonyl-D-glucopyranosyl)-cyanidin) has been proven to be the main cause of the red hue (Meng et al., 2006).

8. The amount of anthocyanin type molecules must be minimal in green-leaf chemotypes, which will impair bioactivity. Because of its recognised bioactivities, such as antioxidant (Ill Min, et al., 1995), antiallergic (Makino, et al., 2003; Takano, et al., 2004), anti-inflammatory (Ueda et al., 2002), and anti-HIV-1 activity, P. frutescens is used not only as a food ingredient but also in skin creams, soaps, and medicinal preparations (Yamasaki, et al., 1998).

9. Perilla is a medicinal and tasty herb. The leaves have a sweet flavour and are used as a spice in a variety of meals, including fish, rice, vegetables, and soups, as well as providing colour and flavour to many pickled dishes.

Chemical Constituents

The nutritional value of the perilla plant is important because it contains vitamins and minerals, as well as terpenoids, phenolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Antioxidant, antispasmodic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activities have been discovered in perilla. Because of the variety of essential oil components that determine their nutritional and therapeutic benefits as well as toxicity, the plant’s essential oil has a distinct odour.

Edible Uses

Salad seedlings are used as a garnish or flavouring, and mature leaves are used as a garnish or flavouring. The leaves have a protein content of 3.1 per cent, a fat content of 0.8 per cent, a carbohydrate content of 4.1 per cent, and an ash content of 1.1 per cent. Cooked seeds are also edible. For culinary purposes, seeds from purple-leafed varieties of the plant are favoured. The seed has a protein content of 21.5 per cent, a fat content of 43.4 per cent, carbohydrate content of 11.3 per cent, and an ash content of 4.4 per cent. The seed yields an edible drying oil (Manandhar 2002). Linolenic acid is abundant in it (polyunsaturated fatty acids; cardiotonic oil). The plant produces an essential oil that is used in candies and sauces as a flavour (Facciola, 1990). The plant produces 0.3-1.3 per cent essential oil, including 20% citral. It’s used in culinary and dental items.

Seeds can be used to make delicious sauces and salads.

The seeds are used as a spice and are also roasted to make a delectable sauce (chutney), which is one of Uttarakhand’s most famous traditional foods. Colds, coughs, chest stuffiness, vomiting, gastrointestinal pain, and constipation have all been traditionally treated with the herb. Seedlings can be cooked as a vegetable or added to salads for a more flavorful dish.

Anti-asthmatic In China

Anti-asthmatic Because of the flavone luteolin contained in Perilla, which has a relaxing effect on the smooth muscles of the trachea, it is a prominent element in numerous traditional remedies used to cure Asthma in China. Asthmatic allergies, serum OVA-specific immunoglobulin level, and total immunoglobulin and antibodies all decrease with dietary treatment, so a diet with Perilla oil supplementation can help treat Asthma.


Perilla is a common antidepressant ingredient. According to several studies, asrosmarinic acid and apigenin, two bioactive constituents of Perilla fructescence, have anti-depressant qualities.

Perilla Nutritional Values

Perilla is utilised in at least nine ways in India and abroad: seeds are marketed as a bird or human food; seed oil is used as a fuel, drying oil, or cooking oil; leaves are used as a potherb, medicinal, or food colouring; and foliage is distilled to make an essential oil for flavouring. When compared to the published results, the fat level was found to be higher. Perilla’s proximate composition was similar to that of sunflower when compared to other oilseeds. The results revealed a high magnesium (261.7mg/100g) and iron (9.54mg/100g) concentration. Manganese (4.93mg/100g) was also identified in higher concentrations than in other oilseed crops, which may aid in the body’s protein and glucose metabolism. Magnesium (Mg) is present in chlorophyll and enhances insulin sensitivity, protects against diabetes and its complications, lowers blood pressure, and avoids cardiac rhythm irregularities. Copper and chromium were also in low concentrations as compared to other oilseed crops (0.20 mg/100g and 17.6 g/100g, respectively). Because it is poisonous, it should be present in very small quantities in plants. It is necessary for human survival since it is found in numerous enzyme systems, including cytochrome oxidase, lysyl oxidase, and an iron-oxidizing enzyme in the blood. Chromium (Cr) regulates glucose, nucleic acid, and lipoprotein metabolism, as well as insulin activity.


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Lamiales

Family: Lamiaceae

Genera: Perilla

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *