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What is Perilla Used for Today?
Recently, extracts of perilla have undergone study as a treatment for allergic rhinitis (hay fever). Perilla contains high levels of the substance rosmarinic acid (also found in the herb rosemary and many other plants). Rosmarinic acid appears to have anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic actions. 1 In a 3-week double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 29 people with seasonal allergic rhinitis, participants were given one of three treatments: placebo, Perilla frutescensextract enriched to contain 50 mg of rosmarinic acid, or an extract enhanced to contain 200 mg of rosmarinic acid. 2 The results showed that both perilla products reduced symptoms to a greater extent than placebo.
Animal studies hint that perilla might also be useful for a different type of allergy: the severe, rapid reaction known as anaphylaxis, commonly associated with shellfish, peanut, and bee-sting allergies. 3 Very weak evidence suggests that rosmarinic acid and/or perilla may have anti-cancer effects 4 and might also have benefits for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases 5 as well as depression . 6
- Osakabe N, Takano H, Sanbongi C, Yasuda A, Yanagisawa R, Inoue K, Yoshikawa T. Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effect of rosmarinic acid (RA); inhibition of seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (SAR) and its mechanism. Biofactors. 21(1-4):127-31.
- Takano H, Osakabe N, Sanbongi C, et al. Extract of Perilla frutescens enriched for rosmarinic acid, a polyphenolic phytochemical, inhibits seasonal allergic rhinoconjunctivitis in humans. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004;229:247–54.
- Makino T, Furuta Y, Wakushima H, et al. Anti-allergic effect of Perilla frutescens and its active constituents. Phytother Res. 2003;17:240–3.
- Renzulli C, Galvano F, Pierdomenico L, Speroni E, Guerra MC. Effects of rosmarinic acid against aflatoxin B1 and ochratoxin-A-induced cell damage in a human hepatoma cell line (Hep G2). J Appl Toxicol. 24(4):289-96.
- Youn J, Lee KH, Won J, Huh SJ, Yun HS, Cho WG, Paik DJ. Beneficial effects of rosmarinic acid on suppression of collagen induced arthritis. J Rheumatol. 30(6):1203-7.
- Takeda H, Tsuji M, Inazu M, Egashira T, Matsumiya T. Rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid produce antidepressive-like effect in the forced swimming test in mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 449(3):261-7.