Nutritional Content of Shiso (Perilla)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Kathleen Dahl
Posted on: June 13, 2002

A japanese friend gave me a purple plant he called shiso. I’d like to know the nutritional value, growing habits & care instructions for it. I love to grow edible plants, the more valuable they are nutritionally, the more I like trying to grow them. Can you help?

‘Shiso’ is the Japanese name for Perilla frustescens. In our catalogue we list it under its English name, ‘perilla’. There are two main varieties, green shiso and purple shiso.

According to the "Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants" by Dr. James Duke (CRC Press, 1992), dry shiso leaves contain between 46 and 329 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. For fresh shiso leaves, this translates to between 5 and 33 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, or about 1.5 to 10 milligrams per ounce. This is not especially rich, but it does help. Shiso also contains some beta-carotene, iron, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. The leaves also have protein, about 3.4% on a dry weight basis, or 0.3% on a fresh weight basis.

Perilla is an annual that requires well-drained soil and sunny or partly sunny exposure. It grows 60-120 cm high (2-4 feet) high. The leaves can be picked any time after the plants become well established.

Richters carries many interesting edible plants that you might not find elsewhere. We have herbs and vegetables from around the world. Please check our online catalogue.

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