Plant of the Month: Shiso

Japanese restaurants commonly they serve up sashimi garnished with big beautiful green leaves that most customers leave untouched, thinking it is only for decorative purposes.

Shiso sushi

Yes, these green leaves are Shiso leaves. Shiso, also known as Perilla frutescens var. crispa.

So what's in its name? The name Shiso originated from the Chinese word Zisu which means purple. It is a close cousin of the mint plant and has popular use in countries like Japan, Korea, China and India.

Shiso occurs in both red and green forms but the ones that we see most popularly used today is the green form. 

Red and green shiso

Taste: Spicy, sweet with a hint of cinnamon.

It also contains strong flavors of spearmint, basil, anise and cinnamon. When julienned into strips, the flavour is really brought out. Its seeds are commonly used as an edible oil.

Most Popular Use: Fish, meat, vegetables

Nutritional benefits

  • Great source of iron, calcium, potassium, Vitamin A, B2 and C
  • Contains a generous amount of alpha-linoleic acid, a plant form of Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as linoleic acid (Omega-6) and oleic acid (Omega-9), all of which are unsaturated fatty acids
  • High carotene content
  • High in anti-oxidants

Medicinal benefits

  • Used in Asian countries as a natural cure to allergies, cough and flu
  • Rich in rosmarinic antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Eating Shiso leaves on a regular basis is said to help reduce the severity of allergic reactions due to the ability of rosmarinic acid to inhibit the production of Interleukin-4, a protein that causes some immune cells to consider common allergens as pathogens and overreact
  • Believed to help prevent anemia and contain cancer-fighting properties.
  • Some Japanese use it alongside ginger, rice vinegar, or umeboshi to help blood circulation.
  • Improves skin complexion

How you can incorporate it into your daily diet:

Shiso can be found in select supermarkets, sold by the leaves and are generally quite pricey. But if you grow your own, you will have an abundant supply and knowing that you are using something you've grown is infinitely satisfying and priceless.

Time to grow your own today!

Plantui Shiso


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  • Chai Ping

    Went down to Mahota, capsule varieties are limited, time to restock there.

    Question, have you increased the price of capsules recently?

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