(Natural News) In traditional Chinese medicine, shiso or perilla (Perilla frutescens) leaves are used to treat different health conditions such as asthma or nausea. However, data from a study revealed that shiso can be used to develop natural cures that can one day treat or even prevent neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
Perilla oil’s protective properties
In the study, which was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers used perilla oil in Alzheimer’s disease mouse models to determine if the oil has a protective effect against cognitive impairment.
Researchers compared the protective effect of three kinds of vegetable oils with different fatty acid compositions:
- Corn oil, which is rich in linoleic acid.
- Olive oil, which is full of oleic acid.
- Perilla oil, which is full of alpha-linolenic acid [ALA]).
The AD mouse models were first given intracerebroventricular injections of amyloid beta 25–35 (AB 25–35). Alzheimer’s disease is often associated with the accumulation of AB proteins in the brain.
Once the mice brains were injected with AB 23-35, the subjects were then fed the three oils. The mice were administered the oils in dosages of 500 milligrams per kilogram (of their body weight) per day (mg/kg/day) for 14 days.
After the mice were injected with AB 25–35, they experienced learning and memory problems, as shown by the results of three tests: the Morris water maze, novel object recognition, and T-maze tests.
The researchers observed that out of the three vegetable oils, the mice that were given perilla oil displayed “[a] marked attenuation of cognitive impairment.” The subjects explored a new route or object more often compared to an old route/object in both the T-maze and the novel object recognition tests.
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Meanwhile, in the Morris water maze test, the subjects that were given perilla oil reached the platform quicker. The mice also increased the number of crossings over the target quadrant where the platform was formerly located.
The scientists are hopeful that perilla oil, which is rich in ALA, may one day be used to produce natural herbal remedies that can help treat or prevent Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. (Related: Cranberry extract prevents Alzheimer’s.)
Fast facts on perilla/shiso
- It is also called beefsteak plant, Chinese basil, and purple mint.
- While shiso is widely grown in countries like China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries, in North America it is usually considered a weed.
- Shiso usually grows near fences, in hay fields or pastures, and by roadsides, which is why it is considered a weed in other countries.
- Shiso is very toxic to cattle and other livestock.
- Perilla oil, which is made from the seeds of the plant, is commonly used in Korean cuisine as a cooking oil and condiment.
- A versatile and flavorful ingredient, perilla oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids. At least 64 percent of perilla oil consists of ALA.
- A tablespoon (14 grams) of perilla oil has at least 9,000 mg of ALA omega-3 fatty acids.
- To maximize the health benefits of perilla oil, use it as a flavor enhancer or salad dressing instead of cooking with it.
- You can also purchase perilla oil in capsule form if you want to boost your omega-3 intake.
Browse more articles about scientific findings on natural ways to manage or prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease at Alzheimers.news.