Family: Lamiaceae
Synonyms: Melissa maxima, Mentha perilloides, Ocimum frutescens, Perilla albiflora, Perilla avium, Perilla ocimoides, Perilla shimadae, Perilla urticifolia.
Common Name: Perilla, Shiso
Local Name:  Stanganu (सतान्ग्नु) Bhanjira, Ban tulsi

Stanganu is an erect, often profusely branched, annual to perennial aromatic plant of Western Himalayas. It is commonly seen growing along roadsides, pathways, home-sites and in waste places between an altitude of 600 to 2400 m. This aromatic plant prefers well-drained, moisture-retentive soil and shows adaptability to both sunny and shaded conditions, quite often sprouting in neglected corners. Propagation of Stanganu is achievable through seeds or stem cuttings, though seeds are best when fresh, retaining viability for only a short period. Its leaves, seeds, seedlings, and oils are prized for their aromatic qualities, enhancing a variety of culinary creations. Seeds are most favourite plant part utilized by local community. Traditionally, they are roasted and made into aromatic salt with chillies, however seedlings can be an excellent addition to salads. Leaves both fresh and dried is a garnish or condiment in various food preparation.  In hill communities, Stanganu finds favour as a spice, valued for its perceived warming properties, with cultivation practices tailored to ensure a consistent seed supply year-round.

Stanganu morphology

It requires a rich well-drained moisture-retentive sunny or shady habitat but not very fertile soil to grow. New plants of Stanganu can be started from seeds or stem cuttings. However, seed has a short viability and should be used when less than a year old.  Leaves, seeds, seedlings and seed oils of Stanganu are often used as  an aromatic herbal addition to various culinary dishes. As Stanganu is known for its warming effect on body, so mostly used as spice by people residing in hills. They even cultivate this plant for regular supply of seeds round the year. However, it is not of much use for the people living in lower altitude of Western Himalayas. Literature review shows that the edible Stanganu has been used as spice all over the world because of its unique flavourand is also being cultivated by some Western countries and regions like USA, Russia, and Europe due to its growing economic importance 2 .

Stanganu Plant:                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Small aromatic shrubs, up to 2.5m high, having a dense pubescence covering on all the parts. 

A plant of Stanganu

Stems 4-angled, striate. Leaves opposite, long-petioled, coarsely settate, pale-green or purplish-violet above, purplish-violet beneath. 

Inflorescence in terminal whorled spike; flowers white. 

Stanganu spike

Achene of 4 nutlets. 

Stanganu is in flowering and fruiting from June to October. Seeds can be collected in early winters; they need to be sustainably harvested either by habitat rotation or by keeping a few on parent   plant.  

Edible Uses: 

Locally Stanganu salt is made with roasted seeds and chilies. Its taste is somewhere between that of basil and mint.  As the leaves, flowers and seeds all are edible, they can be an excellent herbal addition to various culinary dishes. Leaves and seeds are an excellent addition to pakoras, chilla, chutneys and pizza topping etc. They can be taken as herbal tea too.  Stanganu as a whole is very nutritious, due to the presence of different phytoconstituents, vitamins, and minerals. Literature review shows that Stanganu is widely used in different corner of the globe.. In Manipur the grounded roasted seeds are used in a salad called Singju. They are also pounded with ginger and other herbs, and made into balls, eaten as salad.  An edible drying oil is obtained from the seed3,4,5,6. It is rich in linolenic acid7 .The plant yields an essential oil which is used as a food flavouring in candies and sauces5. The essential oil, distilled from the leaves and inflorescences in Japan, is used to sweeten tobacco, and to flavour sauces, chewing gum, and candy 8 . Its edible young leaves and seedlings taken both raw or cooked. Seedlings are an excellent addition to salads, older leaves are used as a garnish or flavouring 9. Leaves, seeds, and seed oil are extensively used in Korean cuisine, marinated in soy sauce & chili flakes. They are stir-fried with garlic and veggies, deep-fried in a batter of flour and eggs, pickled or marinated, or used as wrappers.

The seeds are mostly preserved in salt or are used as a spice in pickles, tempura and miso 5, 9

Stanganu dry seeds

Local edible uses of Stanganu are as follow:

Stanganu salt:


Stanganu dry seeds200g; red or green chilies; 4-8; black salt, 100g; dried mint, curry and tender tirmir (Zanthoxylum aromatum) leaves, 20 to 30 g.


Roast seeds in a flat pan till brown and ground on a grinding stone with salt, mint, curry, tirmir leaves and chilies. This salt can be stored for 1 years. 

Kachru or sosaru:

Kachru is a traditional dish of Western Himalaya cooked as chilla with spices and basen or corn flour. It is served as an evening snack with tea/ chutney/tomato ketch-up.



For preparing a kachru, ingredients required are 300-500g fresh Stanganu leaves, 1/2 kg besan (black gram powder) or corn flour. 1 cup amount fresh coriander leaves, 1 -2 finely chopped onion. 1/2 table spoon ajwain, 3-5 green chillies, ½ table spoon turmeric powder, 2-3 chopped onions and salt according to taste


Make a paste of leaves, besan or corn flour and spices. Heat some oil on a flat heating pan. Put this paste over a pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes then kachru will be ready to serve. 



To prepare chutney, take 100 gm Stanganu leaves and seeds, 100 gm chopped mint leaves, 50 gm anardana or amchoor,5-6 green chillies, 20 gm coriander leaves/ curry leaves, 10g tirmire  young leaves ( Zanthoxylum armatum ) 2-3 onion, and 1table spoon amount ginger. 


Grind well all above ingredients in a mixer grinder and add salt according to taste. Now chutney is ready to serve.


Stanganu lemon/amalaTea:


Stanganu leaves, 3-5g; water, 2 cup amount; sugar/honey/jeggary, 2 table spoons; amala (Indian gooseberry) powder, 1-2g/lemon juice, 5-10 drops.


Dice leaves and boil with water. Add sugar to it and simmer in low flame for 10 minutes. Strain into tea cups. Add lemon juice/amala powder to each and serve hot. 

Food Value of satangnu:

100g of seed contains moisture,6.8g; protein,18.5g (Amino acids; Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Lysine, Tryptophan, Threonine, Tyrosine, Phenylalanine, Cysteine, Methionine, Histidine, Aspartate, Serine, Glutamate, Proline); fat.52g; ash.3.4g; carbohydrate, 22.8g; energy,630 Kcal; Ca, 249.9mg; Mg,261.7mg;P,677.2mg;Fe,9.54mg; Mn,4.93mg;Zn,4.22; Cu, 0.20mg; Cr, 17.6 µg.

The protein content of seed improved with hulling and roasting.

Neutral lipids accounted for about 91.2- 93.9% followed by glycolipids (3.9-5.8%) and phospholipids (2-3%) respectively. The neutral lipids contain triacylglycerol (88.1-90%), sterol ester (4.1-6.2%) and hydrocarbon (1.9-2.7 %), and some amount of free fatty acid. 

Seed oil contains polyphenols such as rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid and ferulic acid, and flavonoids such as luteolin, catechin and apigenin. Both polyphenols and flavonoids are known for their antioxidant properties to protect and restore skin from the sun’s UV damage and thereby reverse the signs of aging. Oil is beneficial too in curing non-communicable diseases. So, it can also be used as an active constituent in the formulation of various functional foods 10,11,12

Seek professional advice before treating this plant medicinally.

Medicinal Uses:

Satangnu is known to have warming effect on body so, people mainly residing in hills take its leaves and seeds to avoid  common cold, cough and fever. Literature review shows that this plant is a pungent, aromatic, warming herb showing  antibacterial, antidote, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, stomachic properties  and used as a  tonic 13,14,15, 16,17,18. The leaves are used in the treatment of colds, chest stuffiness, vomiting, abdominal pain etc 16.The juice of the leaves is applied to cuts and wounds 6 . The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient and expectorant 16. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, colds and chills, nausea, abdominal pain, food poisoning and allergic reactions (especially from seafood), bronchitis and constipation 17,18. Recent studies shows that Santangnu is Anti-Asthmatic, Anti-Diabetic, Anti-Depressant, Anti-Cancer, Antimicrobial, Anti-Oxidant Cardioprotective, Neuroprotectiv. In spite of rich food and medicinal value 12  Satangnu is highly ignored and underutilized food crop  in lower Himalayan belt it is that need to be promoted.

Other Uses

The seeds contain 31 – 51% of a drying oil, which has similar properties to tung or linseed oil  19 . It is used in making paints, printing inks, varnishes, waterproofing etc 3,4, 7, 18, 20,21. 

The plant yields 0.3 – 1.3% essential oil, which contains 20% citra  22 . It is used as a food flavouring and in dental products18,  23


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  2. Nitta, M., Lee, J. K., Kobayashi, H., Liu, D., & Nagamine, T. (2005). Diversification of multipurpose plant, Perilla frutescens. Genetic resources and crop evolution52, 663-670.
  3. Uphof, J. C. T. (1968). Dictionary of economic plants. Dictionary of economic plants., (2nd edn).
  4. Hill. A. F. (1952). Economic Botany. The Maple Press.
  5. Facciola, S. (1990). Cornucopia: a source book of edible plants. Kampong publications.
  6. Manandhar, N. P. (2002). Plants and people of Nepal (pp. 599-pp).
  7. Schery, R. W. (1954). Plants for man.
  9. Larkcom, J. (1991). Orientatal Vegetables John Murray. ISBN 0-7195-4781-4784.
  10. Longvah, T., & Deosthale, Y. G. (1991). Chemical and nutritional studies on Hanshi (Perilla frutescens), a traditional oilseed from Northeast India. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society68(10), 781-784.
  11. Dhyani, A., Chopra, R., & Garg, M. (2019). A review on nutritional value, functional properties and pharmacological application of perilla (Perilla frutescens L.). Biomedical and Pharmacology Journal12(2), 649-660.
  12. Ciftci ON, Przybylski R, Rudzińska M (2012) Lipid components of flax, perilla, and chia seeds. Eur J Lipid Sci Technol 114:794–800
  13. Marinelli, J. (2016). Brooklyn Botanic Garden Gardener’s Desk Reference. Henry Holt and Company.
  14. Adodo, A., & Iwu, M. M. (2020). Healing plants of Nigeria: Ethnomedicine and therapeutic applications (Vol. 15). CRC Press.
  15. Kariyone, T., & Kolso, R. (1971). Atlas of medicinal plants.
  16. Yeung, H. C. (1995). Handbook of Chinese herbs and formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine.
  17. Duke, J. A., & Ayensu, E. S. (1985). Medicinal plants of China. (No Title).
  18. Bown, D. (1995). The Royal Horticultural Society encyclopedia of herbs & their uses. Dorling Kindersley Limited.
  20. Garden, B. B. (1964). Brooklyn botanic garden. Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
  21. Tanaka, T., & Nakao, S. (1976). Tanaka’s cyclopedia of edible plants of the world.
  22. Chopra, R. N. (1956). Glossary of Indian medicinal plants.
  23. Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. 2024-03-18. <

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