I found this herb in an Asian supermarket. The label didn't actually say what it was, and the clerks at the store didn't speak English well enough to ask them.

unidentified herb

My first thought was mint, but I would expect mint leaves to be more wrinkly than that.

My second thought was holy basil, which would be a pleasant surprise as that's generally very hard to find. I looked at pictures of holy basil online, and it looks pretty close, although these leaves look a bit more pointy than in those pictures.

Can someone identify the herb in the picture?

  • 1
    My local Vietnamese store would call it linh tinh: Miscellaneous. Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 12:49
  • 1
    I don't know what the herb is, exactly - but, you might be pretty safe in just buying it, and smell and tasting it, and thereafter using it as its taste dictates. You have a fairly low chance of getting poisoned by an herb sold in a store for consumption, especially if you use it in moderation until you're sure of it. Unfortunately, the chances are low, not nonzero, as some people will eat poisonous things (they would assume no one would buy it if they don't know how to properly prepare it to be safe) - so, pick where your comfort level of risk might lie.
    – Megha
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 21:16
  • Looks like tree basil to me: thaifoodmaster.com/thai_food_ingredients/tree_basil Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 22:46

5 Answers 5


I don't think it's shiso, as that tends to have a more jagged edge. I suspect it's the botanically related Korean kkaennip (aka 'sesame leaf', which is also of the family Perilla):

(but I can't discount bitter leaf, as that's not something I'm familiar with)

  • 2
    Yup, that's young-ish sesame leaf. Bitter leaf is greener on the underside. It's really hard to tell with the given picture though.
    – user293
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 18:02

I believe that is a picture of shiso.


I think this is Bitter Leaf, renowned for its nutritional properties.
See http://www.prosisupermarket.com/admin/Product/bitter-leaf-10.jpg (I am not related in any way :) )

Hope this helps


For me it looks like nettles. But while I have eaten those in the past I have yet to see a store selling them, so I might be mistaken.


It is kinh giới, Elsholtzia ciliata. Different from Korean perilla.

Korean perilla (sesame leaf) is not sold in bulk like that because you need big leaves. They sell them stacked and they are expensive. If you grow Korean perilla by yourself and don't select out the big leaves, it looks like the picture, but why sell it like that?

The other perilla-like leaf used in Vietnamese cuisine is tía tô, which is purple. To the left is ngo gai, so the OP is in the Vietnamese section, and kinh giới is easy to propagate and reasonably shelf stable, so it's one of the most common herbs you see. That's why it is cheap, and it's sold all over.

Rule out Japanese shiso because Japanese herbs usually aren't sold in "Asian" supermarkets.

  • Can you edit your post to explain how the two can be identified?
    – Stephie
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 0:14
  • @Stephie I don't think my process for knowing that is going to be helpful generally, but I added some comments for fun.
    – user65982
    Commented Dec 1, 2019 at 2:16

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