Commonly used chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla

As mentioned above, Perilla is often used together with other Chinese herbs in many herb formulas, especially in the qi formulas used for treating neurotic disorders, and respiratory diseases. In addition, it is also commonly used as a diaphoretic for common cold. Some commonly used Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf are shown in Tables Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf and Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf as recorded in the pharmacopoeia of PRC. And some commonly used Chinese herb formulas containing Perilla seed or fruit are shown in Table Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla seed.

Table Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf

FormulaSourceNumber of HerbsContent (%) of   Perilla Leaf
Pinellia and Magnolia CombinationJin-gui-yao-lue510.0
Ephedra and Magnolia CombinationWai-tai-mi-yao77.5
Cyperus and Perilla FormulaTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang515.0
Ginseng and Perilla CombinationTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang134.4
Dang-guei Sixteen Herbs CombinationWan-bing-hui-chun165.3
Aquilaria and Perilla FormulaTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang119.8
Citrus and Perilla CombinationTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang157.7
Lindera and Cyperus FormulaYi-xue-ru-men610.7
Cyperus, Perilla and Citrus FormulaWan-bing-hui-chun109.8
Ephedra and Cimicifuga CombinationTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang1210.2
Apricot Seed and Perilla FormulaWen-bing-tiao-bian117.6
Areca Seed and Chaenomeles FormulaShi-fang-ge-kuo75.9
Hoelen, Atractylodes and Areca CombinationZheng-zhi-zhun-sheng133.6
Agastache FormulaTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang134.5

Table Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla leaf as recorded in the pharmacopoeia of PRC

FormulaNumber of HerbsContent (%) of Perilla Leaf
Xiao’er Zhibao Pills253.6
Xiangsu Zhengwei Pills1522.5
Wushicha Granules192.9
Jiusheng Powder913.0
Ganmao Qingre Granules115.1
Huoxiang Zhengqi Pills115.3
Liuhe Dingzhong Pills171.5

Table Commonly used traditional Chinese herb formulas that contain Perilla seed

FormulaSourceNumber Source of HerbsContent (%) of Perilla Seed
Perilla Fruit CombinationTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang1012.5
Ephedra and Morus FormulaTai-ping-hui-min-he-ji-ju-fang710.0
Ephedra and Gingko CombinationYi-fang-ji-jie98.8
Atractylodes and Cardamom CombinationWan-bing-hui-chun127.8

The so-called qi formulas are those used for resolving depression, descending qi adversity, and replenishing qi or for symptoms such as epigastric distension, swelling pain, flatulence, vomiting, nausea, vomiting up acid fluid, qi adversity, and asthma. In all, formulas capable of regulating the qi functions and treating the various qi problems are known as qi formulas. In the following are given a few representative qi formulas that contain Perilla leaf or Perilla seed as a component herb.

Pinellia and Magnolia Combination

Formula composition: pinellia 6.0 g, magnolia bark 3.0 g, hoelen 5.0 g, fresh ginger 4.0 g, Perilla leaf 2.0 g.

This formula was first recorded in a Chinese medical classic named “JinGuiYao Lue” (Prescriptions from the Golden Chamber) which was written in the Han dynasty of China about 1800 years ago. The formula is a representative ^formula which the ancients used for treating the so-called “plum kernel qi (a symptom marked by a sensation in the throat where it feels as if something like a plum kernel or a piece of grilled meat is clogged there) and has been applied to the treatment of various qi problems (neurosis).

The formula has the function of relieving mental depression and is thus suitable for those with gastrointestinal asthenia, feeble and lax skin and muscles, mild intestinal tympanites, a sensation of gastric distension, and water stagnated in the stomach. In these patients their pulses are usually floating and weak or demersal and weak. People with such a constitution are mostly very careful, easily becoming sullen, depressed, languid, somatically weak and fatigable. In this formula, Perilla leaf possesses a mild excitant effect capable of relieving mental depression and activating the gastrointestinal functions to approach a vigorous state.

This formula is indicated for neurosis, neurasthenia, hysteria, nervousness-associated insomnia, phobia, neurotic esophageal stenosis, paroxysmal cardiac hyperfunction, esophageal spasms, bronchitis, hoarseness after a cold, asthma, pertussis, pregnancy vomit, climacteric syndrome, gastroptosis, gastric laxity, and edema ().

Ephedra and Magnolia Combination

Formula composition: ephedra 5.0 g, licorice 2.0 g, apricot seed 4.0 g, Perilla leaf 1.5 g, magnolia bark 3.0 g, bupleurum 2.0 g, citrus rind 2.5 g.

This formula was originally recorded in the “Wai Tai Mi Yao” (An Extraminister’s Secret Formulas) written by Wang Tao (675-755 A.D., Tang dynasty). It treats chronic cough which at onset manifests panting asthma causing the patient unable to sit or lie down and producing incessant wheezes in the throat followed by asphyxia. In the original text, this formula did not contain magnolia bark and licorice which were later added by Japanese herbal physicians to augment the therapeutic effects according to their clinical experiences. The formula is used in those with dyspnea as the chief complaint, and scanty phlegm associated with bronchial asthma, showing qi depression. Usually the formula is used for the target symptoms of weak abdominal strength, and a not very tense condition in the lower torso in patients who show only slight chest and hypochondriac distress, not much phlegm, dyspnea along with neurosis. The Perilla leaf contained in this formula possesses the effects of eliminating wind and cold evils, and, acting together with magnolia bark, descending qi.

This formula is indicated for bronchial asthma, pediatric asthma, and pulmonary emphysema (0).

Perilla Fruit Combination

Formula composition: Perilla seed 3.0 g, pinellia 4.0 g, citrus rind 2.5 g, magnolia bark 2.5 g, peucedanum 2.5 g, cinnamon twig 2.5 g, angelica (Radix Angelicae sinensis) 2.5 g, jujube 1.5 g, licorice 1.5 g, fresh ginger 1.5 g.

The formula is recorded in the “Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang” (Taiping Folks Beneficiary Dispensatory) completed in the Song dynasty of China, which is equivalent to the “Zi su zi tang” (Perilla seed decoction) recorded in the “Qian Jin Fang” (Formulas Worth One Thousand Pieces of Gold). This formula can treat chilling in the lower limbs, discontinued respirations, and dyspnea, which are often seen in the physically asthenic or senile individuals who usually manifest the symptoms of adynamia in the lower torso (below the umbilicus), oliguria, copious phlegm, short breaths with up-flushing, a stringy tense pulse that appears surging and big but forceless, and subcardiac depression. In the formula, Perilla seed, peucedanum, magnolia bark, citrus rind, pinellia and cinnamon twig all act to descend the qi upward adversity. Also, once the qi gets soothed, the phlegm is also soothed and unstagnated and hence the formula is also expectorant.

The formula is indicated for chronic bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, tinnitus, hematemesis, nosebleed, alveolar pyorrhea, oral erosion, oral cancer, edema, and beriberi ().

Formulas capable of rendering diaphoresis, resolution of muscles and completion of eruption are known as sudorific formulas or diaphoretics which make use of the diaphoretic and muscle resolving effects to expel the pathic evil out of the surface (skin) or muscles where the evil has just invaded. Diaphoretic formulas mostly have a pungent taste, a volatile and mildly emanative property, and should be decocted gently instead of excessively, otherwise the drug quality will be lost and the efficacy reduced. Meantime, after taking a diaphoretic formula, one should avoid wind drafts or cold things, increase clothing or quilts in order to augment perspiration. The perspiration so induced should better be only to such an extent that the body is just wetted but not thoroughly wetted out. Either an incomplete perspiration or a perspiration that causes copious sweating to make the whole body soaked with dripping sweats is nut the right way of rendition of perspiration, because the former condition cannot drive out the evil completely, while the latter condition can drive the evil out completely though, it is overdone and in that way it also has exhausted the primordial qi. A few more commonly used diaphoretic formulas containing Perilla leaf or Perilla seed are given below.

Cyperus and Perilla Formula

Formula composition: cyperus 3.5 g, Perilla leaf 1.5 g, citrus rind 3.0 g, licorice 1.0 g, fresh ginger 1.0 g.

This formula also comes from the “Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji ]u Fang’. It is a representative diaphoretic qiformula especially good for treating qistagnation and surface evil manifesting qi symptoms. It is suitable for those afflicted with a cold that is accompanied by bothqi and food stagnation and for a cold in those with a weak stomach, or for symptoms induced by qi depression and food stagnation. The target symptoms of this formula include a demersal pulse, subcardiac distension, shoulder ache and pain, headache, vertigo, tinnitus, nausea, and qi stagnation. In the formula Perilla leaf acts as a diaphoretic capable of dispersing surface evils and improving blood circulation, and in particular it possesses a therapeutic effect for poisoning from eating fish.

This formula is indicated for common cold, neurasthenia, neurotic abdomen ache, climacteric syndrome, menopause, fish poisoning, urticaria, neurosis, anosmia, and stuffy nose. (). There are many modified formulas derived from this formula.

Ginseng and Perilla Combination

Formula composition: Perilla leaf 1.0 g, platycodon 2.0 g, “zhi-qiao” (Fructus Aurantii) 1.0 g, citrus rind 2.0 g, pinellia 3.0 g, hoelen 3.0 g, pueraria 2.0 g, peucedanum 2.0 g, ginseng 1.5 g, costus root 1.0 g, licorice 1.0 g, jujube 1.5 g, fresh ginger 1.5 g.

This formula is included in the “Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang”. It is a formula with surface-internal dual resolution effect suitable for treating common cold in any season, fever, headache, cough with water stagnancy, or internal injury by food and drink, gastric obstructive distension, vomiting, and nausea. Patients with the above conditions are usually weak constitutioned who are not suitable for treatment with ephedra-containing formulas or Pueraria Combination. Hence, the formula is often used in small children, senile individuals, asthenic people, and pregnant women who have a cold with cough. In this formula the Perilla leaf together with pueraria and peucedanum possesses a carminative effect.

The formula is indicated for common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, ^’impediment, pregnancy vomit, alcohol intoxication ().

Formula composition: ephedra 4.0 g, morus root bark 2.0 g, Perilla seed 2.0 g, apricot seed 4.0 g, hoelen 5.0 g, citrus rind 2.0 g, licorice 1.0 g.

This formula is listed in the “Tai Ping Hui Min He Ji Ju Fang” as the one formula among all ephedra-containing formulas that is most suitable for a deficiency conformation (symptom complex). It is good for treating contractions of wind and cold evils in the lungs, coughing with up rushing of qi, pectoral distress, spasms in the nape and back, stuffy nose with low heavy voice, dizziness and vertigo, nonfluent discharge of phlegm, a floating and quick pulse and gastrointestinal asthenia with loss of appetite. Although this formula is similar to Ginseng and Perilla Combination, yet unlike the latter which is used mostly in the senile, this formula is used mostly in small children. In this formula Perilla seed as well as hoelen, citrus rind and morus root bark is a qi regulating herb capable of augmenting antitussive, expectorant and antiasthmatic effects.

The formula is indicated for common cold, coughing, asthma, stuffy nose, bronchitis, pediatric asthmatic cough ().

Both Perilla leaf and Perilla seed are important drug materials. Though the distinct uses with the two herbs have been mentioned in Chinese medical classics, there remain many problems requiring investigation in terms of their clinical application.


Selections from the book: “Perilla: The Genus Perilla”. Edited by He-Ci Yu, Kenichi Kosuna, and Megumi Haga. Series “Medicinal and aromatic plants – industrial profiles”. 1997.