Perilla oil is the allergy-fighting natural oil that most of us have never heard of-unless you are a fan of Korean food. Also known as deul gireum (which is a Korean term, not Latin), this oil made from the seeds of a Korean mint plant is an exceptionally good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids.
In fact, perilla oil contains more alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than the much better known flaxseed oil. Because perilla is a species of mint, related to rosemary, the oil carries both the flavor of rosemary and the anti-allergy power of rosmarinic acid. Consuming perilla oil in cooking or in capsules three to five times a week can greatly reduce hay fever, skin allergies, and eczema. The fatty acids in perilla oil are especially useful in fighting IgE reactions, the immediate hypersensitivity reactions that occur seconds after exposure to an allergen.
Researchers have also found that perilla oil may:
- Protect against heart attacks and ischemic strokes by slowing down the action of Platelet Activating Factor (which is also the way perilla oil protects against allergies).
- Fight obesity by fighting the inflammation that causes swelling around belly fat.
- Protect against colon cancer, and
- Protect the hippocampus in the brain from damage that causes short-term memory loss and Parkinson's disease.
There are two easy ways to get perilla oil. One is to visit a Korean restaurant and order namul (seasoned vegetables) or jeon (pancakes). You get more rosmarinic acid from the seasoned vegetables, because the perilla oil is added after cooking.
Or, if you want to watch your calories, take perilla oil capsules instead of fish oil or flaxseed oil. Perilla oil is much less expensive than fish oil, and it won't upset your stomach. One of the best brands of perilla oil is made by LEF.