A sharply flavored staple in Asian cuisine that belongs to the mint family. Leaves are wrapped around sushi, or added to soups, rice, and tempura. Flower buds and sprouts are used as a garnish. The seed pods or berries can be preserved like a spice.
The purple form is called akajiso (赤紫蘇, red shiso), and is used to dye umeboshi (pickled ume) red or combined with ume paste in sushi to make umeshiso maki. It can also be used to make a sweet, red juice to enjoy during summer.