|Authors: || Schnitzler, W.H.G. Schirrmacher, J. Graßmann|
|Keywords: ||Spinach, antioxidative capacity, pholyphenols, carotenoids, ABTS system|
Perilla frutescens belongs to the family Lamiaceae and originates from East India, China and Japan.
Today, P. frutescens is mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea, China and India.
The plant is generally used for its oil but also as a vegetable in Korea, while P. frutescens var. crispa is principally a spice and herb plant with red or green leaves.
The leaves contain major secondary substances such as pholyphenols but also mono-, sequin- and tri terpenes and tetra terpenes, the important carotenoids. “Perilla Red” with dark red to violet leaves has larger amounts of anthocyanins.
Little information is available on the carotinoids content.
But own recent investigations have discovered that lipophilic extracts of the leaves have much higher content of luteine and beta-carotene than in spinach.
There has been very little research until now on the antioxidative capacity of Perilla. Results of extracts with ethanol, water and acid have shown that among 25 kinds of vegetables, Perilla has given the highest antioxidative capacity.
This action correlates with the amount of ascorbic acid and the phenol content.
Comparing “Perilla Red” and spinach in the ABTS system, the phenols in Perilla proved much more potent due to the carotinoids and vitamin E as lipophilic antioxidants. Perilla is a leafy vegetable which is easy to grow under diverse climatic and soil conditions and should, therefore find wider introduction as a valuable provider of food to fight malnutrition in a growing world population.
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