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Home » Plant infomation

Lithospermum erythrorhizon  Siebold & Zucc.


Botanical Name


Lithospermum erythrorhizon Siebold & Zucc.

English Name


Purple gromwell, Red gromwell, Red-root gromwell, Redroot lithospermum



Lithospermum officinale L. var. erythrorhizon (Siebold & Zucc.) Hand.-Mazz.





General Info


Herbs perennial. Roots dark red, with a copious purple dye. Stems usually 1-3, erect, appressed or spreading, branching distally, 40-90 cm tall, short strigose; branches ascending, frequently slightly curved. Leaves sessile, ovate-lanceolate to broadly lanceolate, 3-8 × 0.7-1.7 cm, short strigose, base attenuate, apex acuminate; veins prominent abaxially, more densely strigose. Inflorescences terminal, 2-6 cm, elongated in fruit; bracts similar to leaves but smaller; calyx lobes linear, ca. 4 mm, to 9 mm in fruit, short strigose outside. Corolla white, 7-9 mm, sparsely pubescent outside; tube ca. 4 mm; throat appendages semiglobose, glabrous; limb ca. as long as tube; lobes spreading, broadly ovate, 2.5-3 mm, margin entire or subundulate, apex sometimes retuse; stamens inserted slightly above middle of corolla tube; filaments ca. 0.4 mm; anthers 1-1.2 mm; style 2.2-2.5 mm. Nutlets white or pale yellowish brown, ovoid, ca. 3.5 mm, smooth, shiny, concave adaxially with center line forming a longitudinal groove.

Herb Effects

Antitumor, cardiotonic, contraceptive, depurative and febrifuge (whole plant)


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Medicinal Use

The whole plant is used internally in the treatment of irritant skin conditions, measles, chicken pox, boils, carbuncles, hepatitis and skin cancer. Externally it is used to treat nappy rash, burns, cuts, wounds, abscesses, eczema and haemorrhoids.


Contraindicated in patients with deficiency of the spleen with diarrhea.


Jing-Nuan Wu. An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica. P: 104, Oxford University Press, Inc.2005.



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