Lithospermum erythrorhizon

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Other Names:

Historical Use of Lithospermum erythrorhizon

Lithospermum erythrorhizon in Traditional Chinese Medicine


Zicaogen ×ϲݸù Chinese Name (pinyin): Zicao

Chinese Name  :

Common Name  :Arnebia or Lithoesperm Root

Specific Name  : Radix lithospermi

Scientific Name:
Collection  : The drug is collected in spring and autumn, removed from soil and dried.

Description  : Root of Lithospermum erythrorhizon: Conical, twisted and branched, 7 - 14 cm long, 1 - 2cm in diameter. Externally purplish red or purplish black, rough with longitudinal striations, bark thin, easily exfoliated. Texture hard and fragile, easily broken, fracture, bark dark purple, wood relatively large, greyish yellow.

Identification  : 1.Heat 0.5 g of the powder in a test tube, a red gas is produced and a reddish brown oil drops are condensed on the wall of the test tube.2.Macerate 0.5 g of the powder in 5 ml of ethanol, combine the washing with the filtrate. Concentrate to 1 ml as the test solution. Dissolve L-shikonin CRS in ethanol to produce a solution containing 0.5 mg per ml as the reference solution. Carry out the method for thin layer chromatography (Appendix Vl B), using silica gel G containing carboxymethyl cellulose as the coating substance and toluene-ethyl acetate-fromic acid (5:1:0.1) as the mobile phase. Apply separately to the plate 4 µl of each of the two solutions. After developing and removal of the plate, dry it in the air. The purplish red in the chromatogram obtained with the test solution correspond in position and colour to the spot in the chromatogram obtained with the reference solution. Spray with 10% solution of potassium hydroxide in methanol, the spot turns to blue. Assay: Weigh accurately about 0.5 g of the powder (through No.3 sieve), previously dried at 50ºC for three hours., to a 100 ml volumetric flask add ethanol to volume, shake constantly for 4 hours, filter. Discard the initial filtrate. Measure accurately 5 ml of the successive filtrate to a 25 ml volumetric flask, dilute with ethanol to volume and mix well. Carry out the method for specrophotometry (appendix V B), measure the absorbance at 516 nm. Calculate the content of L-shikonin (C16H16O5) taking 242 as the value of A (1%, 1cm). It contains not less than 0.80% of total pigments of Hydroxynaphthaquinone, calculated as L-shikonin (C16H16O5).

Processing  : Eliminate foreign matter, cut into thick slices or sections.Radix Lithospermi and Radix Arnebia Gutatae: Eliminate foreign matter, wash clean, soften thoroughly, cut into thin slices and dry.Radix Arnebiae Processed: Occurring in irregular cylindrical section or slat shaped slices, 1 - 2.5 cm in diameter, purplish red or purplish brown. Bark dark purple, wood in cylindrical sections relatively small, yellowish white or yellow.Radix Lithospermi Processed: Occurring in irregular cylindrical sections, 1 - 2 cm in diameter, purplish red or purplish black. Bark dark purple. Texture hard, wood relatively large greyish yellow.

Action  : To remove heat from blood, to promote blood circulation, to counteract toxicity, and to facilitate eruption.

Indication  : purpura dark in color due to presence of exuberant toxic heat in the blood; measles with inadequate eruption; sores; eczemas; scalds and burns

Precautions  :

Dosage  : 4.5 to 9 g; for external use, appropriate quantity to be stewed into soft extract or soaked in vegetable oil and applied topically.

Storage  : Preserve in a dry place.

Synonymns for Lithospermum erythrorhizon

Patent Medicines and Medicines with Multiple Ingredients that include Lithospermum erythrorhizon

Pharmaceutical Information

Chemical Constituents

Evidence or the Use of Lithospermum erythrorhizon in the Treatment of Epilepesy

Basic Science

Animal Studies

Cohort, Case-Control and Non-Randomized Trials

Randomized Controlled Trials


1st Five Results: pubmed search

Jue Wang, Yongjing Zhang, Chaomei Li, Yuanyuan Ding, Shiling Hu, Hongli An
Inhibitory function of Shikonin on MRGPRX2-mediated pseudo-allergic reactions induced by the secretagogue.
Phytomedicine: 2019, 68;153149
[PubMed:32032836] [] [DOI] (I a)

Hayato Ueoka, Kanako Sasaki, Tatsuya Miyawaki, Takuji Ichino, Kanade Tatsumi, Shiro Suzuki, Hirobumi Yamamoto, Nozomu Sakurai, Hideyuki Suzuki, Daisuke Shibata, Kazufumi Yazaki
A cytosol-localized geranyl diphosphate synthase from Lithospermum erythrorhizon and its molecular evolution.
Plant Physiol.: 2020;
[PubMed:31974127] [] [DOI] (I a)

Yuping Liu, Haiyan Xing, Xiangliang Jiang, Yan Chen, Mengmeng Huang, Suyun Yu
Network pharmacology-based preventive effect of XZF on cutaneous toxicities induced by EGFR inhibitor.
Biomed. Pharmacother.: 2020, 123;109755
[PubMed:31926375] [] [DOI] (I p)

Mei Liao, Pan Yan, Xuechen Liu, Zhifeng Du, Shuailong Jia, Rahmetulla Aybek, Aiqian Li, Sulaiman Kaisa, Hongliang Jiang
Spectrum-effect relationship for anti-tumor activity of shikonins and shikonofurans in medicinal Zicao by UHPLC-MS/MS and chemometric approaches.
J. Chromatogr. B Analyt. Technol. Biomed. Life Sci.: 2020, 1136;121924
[PubMed:31841980] [] [DOI] (I p)

Doo Jin Choi, Soo-Im Choi, Bo-Ram Choi, Young-Seob Lee, Dae Young Lee, Geum Soog Kim
Cartilage protective and anti-analgesic effects of ALM16 on monosodium iodoacetate induced osteoarthritis in rats.
BMC Complement Altern Med: 2019, 19(1);325
[PubMed:31752825] [] [DOI] (I e)



Side Effect and Warnings

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Adverse Effects