Perilla oil

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A light yellow drying oil expressed from the seeds of mint plants (Perilla ocymoides or Perilla frutescens) native to Asia (China, Korea, Japan and northern India). The seeds contain 35 to 45 percent oil. Perilla oil contains primarily linolenic (41-46%), linoleic (31-42%), and oleic (3-10%) acids. It has been used as a Linseed oil substitute in house paints, varnishes and linoleum, but is not recommended for use as an artist paint because it yellows with age. Perilla oil is also used for cooking, dressing leather, and as a component in inks.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Perilla ocymoides; Perilla frutescens; egoma oil (Jap.); aceite de perilla (Esp.)


  • Combustible.
  • Parchem: SDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

  • Soluble in ethanol, ether, chloroform, carbon disulfide.
  • Saponification value = 191-193
  • Iodine value = 187-205
  • Acid number = 4.3
Density 0.932-0.945 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.4841

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 590; Saponification value = 191; Iodine value = 200
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • John S. Mills, Raymond White, The Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects, Butterworth Heineman, London, 2nd ed., 1994
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, Robert Weast (ed.), CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, v. 61, 1980 Comment: density=0.935, ref. index = 1.481, iodine value=195, saponification value = 192