Effective Use of Mild Acting Herbs IX. Zi Su (Perilla)
by Subhuti Dharmananda
Perilla is a mint plant (Laminaceae Family), Perilla frutescens, growing in the hills and mountains of East Asia (mainly India, China, Japan and Korea). It has been spread around the globe during the previous century; initially it was desired as a decorative garden plant, but then it escaped cultivation; as an example, it now grows in spots throughout the Eastern and Midwestern United States, described as an invasive weed. The plant has long been used as a source of herb materials for Chinese medicine; it is known in China as zisu. Scute is the common name selected 30 years ago by the Oriental Healing Arts Institute to refer to the Chinese herb huangqin. This is a shortened version of the genus name for the source material, which is the root of Scutellaria baicalensis (Baikal skullcap). The plant naturally occurs in Korea, Japan, northern China (especially Mongolia), northern India, and Russia; it is also cultivated.
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