The study revealed daily consumption of perilla frutescens can significantly improve GI symptoms (including bloating, passage of gas, GI rumbling, feeling of fullness and abdominal discomfort) with women more receptive to its soothing effects than men.
“Perilla extract showed consistently higher reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms compared to the placebo,” the authors wrote.
“In female subjects, these differences were even more pronounced than in the whole study group, and bloating, GI rumbling as well as abdominal discomfort were improved by trend in the Perilla extract group if compared to the placebo.”
The 4-week pilot study was conducted by a team of Japanese and German researchers and published in the journal, BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The 50 subjects involved were aged 30 to 70 and had reduced bowel movements and GI discomfort. They took part in a two week ‘run-in’ phase to provide baseline measurements of stool frequency and consistency, as well as GI discomfort.
Subjects were randomly placed into one of two study groups and consumed either the study product or placebo (tapioca starch) over a four week period.
Perilla extract was found to significantly improve GI symptoms during the study period while the placebo was only able to reduce abdominal discomfort.
“The placebo effects were only measurable after four weeks of intake, whereas the perilla extract effects were measurable already in the first part of intervention and were even strengthened with ongoing supplementation,” said the researchers.
Propensity for natural supplementation
Around 20% of the population suffers from GI discomfort, particularly women.
Perilla frutescens contains flavonoids and rosmarinic acid and has demonstrated prokinetic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, although the researchers noted existing data limitations.
“Many indications for the use of such remedies are anecdotally or traditionally derived. Physicians are looking for alternative therapies, co- medications or food supplements which demonstrated beneficial effects within randomized controlled trials.”
Source: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
‘Perilla Extract improves gastrointestinal discomfort in a randomized placebo controlled double blind human pilot study’
Authors: Sybille Buchwald-Werner, Hajime Fuji, Claudia Reule, Christiane Schoen