Zi Su Ye (Folium Perillae) to Release the Exterior

Lenore Cangeloso

By Lenore Cangeloso


Zi Su Ye (Folium Perillae) to Release the Exterior

The perilla leaf (Zi Su Ye) is an amazing herb that can be used in your apothecary or herb garden, as well as your kitchen. It is part of the mint family, and in the correct growing conditions it grows abundantly and easily. It likes warm climates and thrives in partial shade.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is known as Zi Su Ye, and is found in the category of herbs that help to "release the exterior", making it a great remedy to help with symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, nasal congestion, or an early cough. It is warming in nature and acrid in flavor, features that can help to promote sweating, helping rid the body of any external pathogens.

Its Relationship to Your Qi, and Digestion

Being acrid/pungent in taste, this herbal medicine helps Qi circulation and harmonizes the digestive system. It works great for early stage upper respiratory conditions as it helps to expel the external pathogen from lodging any deeper into the body. The pungent flavor helps with the movement of Qi— as within Traditional Chinese Medicine theory the flavor profile is a very important aspect in determining its therapeutic properties and actions within the body.

zi su ye

It has been known to help alleviate symptoms associated with general food poisoning  and related sickness, but is especially effective for seafood poisoning. Have you ever gotten sushi-to-go, or picked up a quick California Roll at the grocery store? It is usually adorned with a green plastic, grass like accoutrements?! This is supposed to be a representation of Perilla, or known as Shiso in Japanese.

It can also help with other digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, low appetite, or even morning sickness in pregnancy.  This herb is not meant to be taken long term, as some herbs are, but is best used when the symptoms listed above just begin to surface.  It can be taken alone, but is often used in conjunction with other herbs and in formulas.

General Applications & Uses for Zi Su Ye
  • Helps ease symptoms associated with colds, flu, viruses such as fever, chills, headache, nasal congestion, cough, especially early colds with white or clear phlegm
  • Especially good for calming cough, and easing the throat
  • Alleviate seafood poisoning
  • Can ease digestive discomfort such as nausea and vomiting
  • Helps with morning sickness

It is one of the main ingredients within Bounce Back, which focuses upon alleviating the body of symptoms associated with colds such as fever, headaches, chills, body aches, and nasal congestion.  

Bounce Back is a proprietary herbal blend developed by DAO Labs Chief Chinese Herbal Medicine Officer Dr. Eric Karchmer, MD (China), Phd, LAc, in conjunction with his academic colleagues in Asia. Unlike Western options that simply mask symptoms, the herbs in Bounce Back are designed to help mobilize your body’s natural restorative powers when cold season symptoms strike.

Some other common Chinese Herbal formulas that this herb is found in is

  • Xiang Su San (Cyperus and Perilla Leaf Powder)

  • Su Zi Jiang Qi Tang (Perilla Fruit Decoction for Directing Qi Downward)

Other Uses for Zi Su Ye - Cocktails Anyone?

The fresh leaf is delicious and can be eaten raw or cooked in soups, stews, stir-fry or even as a wrapping for a tasty filling. I have even tastes a few herbal perilla leaf cocktails!

*Important Disclaimer & Care Information: These statements/products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, please check in with a well-versed healthcare practitioner to see if these herbal choices are right for you. Substances mentioned above may be associated with mild side effects depending upon your constitution, so like with any herbs use with caution and make responsible choices.  First and foremost listen to your body and your doctor.

Lenore Cangeloso is a state-licensed and board certified Acupuncturist and Herbal medicine practitioner. She is the owner of Wild Earth Acupuncture in Portland Oregon. Lenore has spent many months traveling to deepen her knowledge of the human body, and is a dedicated and skilled practitioner that strives to help you achieve optimal states of wellbeing. You can learn more about Lenore at wildearthacupuncture.com.

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