Aka Shiso Juice (赤紫蘇ジュース) is a popular summertime drink in Japan.  We've created a healthy (no refined sugar!) and simple recipe to create this as a refreshing iced tea to make at home.

AKA SHISO also known as Red Perilla, is available to grow from seed as part of our Japanese Medicinal Herb Seeds (pack of 5).


History of Aka Shiso  (赤紫蘇) (Perilla Frutescens):

The native origin of Shiso is Southeast Asia.  Red, Green, and bicolor Shiso is most commonly used in Japanese cuisine.   Aka Shiso (Red Perilla) is traditionally used in Japan as a natural coloring agent for Umeboshi (Japanese pickled plum).  In Kyoto, it is popular to use Red Shiso and its seeds to make Shibazuke (fermented eggplant).  Red Shiso leaves are also dried and crushed into flakes, and mixed with salt Yukari or Furikake (Japanese rice seasonings). 

Tips to grow Shiso from seed:  

Shiso is a member of the Mint family, it is easy to grow from seed and grows like a weed!  To start from seed:

  • start indoors and add 2-3 seeds per starter pot.  
  • add a very thin dusting of soil on top of your seeds (approx 1/16” depth).
  • keep soil consistently watered, moist but not drenched.
  • place starter pot under a grow light or well lit window.
  • ideal germination temperature is 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, if it is too cold indoors you can supplement heat with a heating pad.  
  • germination should take about 14-20 days.
  • once your seeds have sprouted and have their first set of true leaves, transplant to a larger pot and start transitioning outdoors if weather permits.  
  • I prefer to grow Shiso in containers.  If you plant Shiso in a raised bed or in ground, it can take over neighboring plants since it grows and spreads easily.
  • I have found that Shiso grows best in Partial Sun - if it gets too much sun or heat, the leaves will wilt. 

Health Benefits of Shiso (green or red): 

Shiso is rich in carotene (10 times more than pumpkin), Vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E and K.  It also is high in minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc. 

  • known to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial
  • used for respiratory ailments such as allergy, congestion and asthma 
  • improves immune function, helps with stomach aches and digestive upset.
  • used in Japan to treat food poisoning, as it contains high levels of rosmarinic acid which suppresses digestion and stops bacteria growth.
  • a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that help build brain cells, helps control clotting, and known to offer protection for heart disease and stroke. 
  • remedy for skin ailments, soothes sensitive skin and helps prevent skin reactivity

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER:  BEFORE ingesting any herbs for Medicinal use ALWAYS consult with a doctor to ensure it is safe for your personal use and medical condition.

FEATURING RT1home Herb Seeds: AKA SHISO (from our Japanese Medicinal Herb Seed Set)  



Prep Time: 15 min

Course: Beverage

Cuisine: Japanese

Keyword: dairy-free, gluten-free, caffeine-free, millennial, vegan

Servings: 2-4

Calories: 24 kcal



  • SCISSORS / SNIPS - to harvest Shiso leaves (if growing your own). We are using our GARDEN SNIPS
  • BOWL - to collect and rinse leaves
  • MEASURING CUP - to measure leaves + water
  • MEASURING SPOON - to measure lemon + your choice of sweetener
  • STRAINER - to strain leaves
  • POT - to boil water + leaves
  • COCKTAIL ICE CUBE TRAY (optional) - to make ice cubes


  • 1.5 cups AKA SHISO leaves packed
  • 1 Tbsp HONEY (sub maple syrup to make Vegan)
  • 1.5 cups WATER, Filtered
  • 2 tsp fresh LEMON JUICE + lemon slices for garnish
  • 2-3 ICE CUBES - per glass
  • SPARKLING WATER (optional) - can use still water instead


1. Harvest Aka Shiso (Red Perilla) leaves from your plant (ok to include stems).  If you are not growing your own, check your local asian grocery stores if they sell fresh - typically Shiso is only grown during Summer months.  

We are using our own grown Aka Shiso leaves for this recipe, making it extremely fresh. 
2. Thoroughly wash your Shiso leaves with water. 3. Measure 1.5 cup of leaves packed in measuring cup. 

    • If you have extra Shiso - remove leaves from lower stems and store upright in a glass of water in the fridge (this will help keep the Shiso fresh for longer)
    4. Boil 1.5 cups of water in a pot. 5. Once water is brought to a boil, add all of your washed Shiso leaves.  6.  Boil for about 5 minutes (water will start to turn purple and leaves will start to look more green). 7.  Remove from heat, drain and squeeze out leaves over pot to remove all liquid from leaves.
      • BONUS: Compost your Shiso leaves after use or you can save the leaves and dehydrate them to use as a rice seasoning.

    8.  Add pot back to low heat and add approximately 1 Tablespoon of Honey (or maple syrup / agave) Less or more depending on your desired sweetness.  Make sure your added sweentener of choice is fully dissolved. 9.  Squeeze 1/2 of fresh lemon into Shiso mixture. 10.  Stir and remove from heat.  If you want to use immediately, place in fridge or freezer to help cool down.

    11.  Grab your drinking glass and add ice to the top edge. 

    • If using a Tall 18oz Glass, pour about half of the mixture into the glass.  This recipe will make about 2 servings for an 18oz drink
    • If using a Short 11oz glass, pour about 1/4 mixture into the glass. This recipe will make about 4 servings for an 11 oz drink.

    12.  Fill glass with your beverage of choice. I like to use Sparkling water :) 13.  Garnish with a lemon slice and extra Shiso.

    Nutrition facts for one serving (1 of 4 servings) for 11oz glass: Calories: 24 kcal   Carbs: 6.18 g.  Sugars: 4.37 g.  Fat: 0.01 g.  Protein 0.58 g.  Sodium 5.28mg.  Fiber 1.15g.  Calcium 27.39mg.  Potassium 83.85mg.  Iron 1.6mg.  Vitamin A 107.76mcg.  Vitamin C 4.13mg.

    Step by step video guide is also available on our YouTube:


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