Siebold & Zucc. 1846
Lithospermum erythrorhizon, commonly called purple gromwell, red gromwell, red-root gromwell and redroot lithospermum, is a plant species in the genus Lithospermum. It is called zǐcǎo (紫草) in Chinese, jichi (지치) in Korean, and murasaki (ムラサキ; 紫) in Japanese.
The dried root of Lithospermum erythrorhizon (lithospermum root or Lithospermi Radix) is a Chinese herbal medicine with various antiviral and biological activities, including inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1).
The enzyme 4-hydroxybenzoate geranyltransferase utilizes geranyl diphosphate and 4-hydroxybenzoate to produce 3-geranyl-4-hydroxybenzoate and diphosphate. Biosynthetically, alkannin is produced in plants from the intermediates 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and geranyl pyrophosphate. This enzyme is involved in shikonin biosynthesis.
One Japanese word for the plant, murasaki (紫), inspired the pen name "Lady Murasaki" for the author of The Tale of Genji and is also the source of the general Japanese term for the color purple, murasaki iro (紫色).
The dyes made from its root also had other names, such as shikon (紫根), but all of them were difficult to work with because of their requirement for an alum-rich mordant and the resulting colors' extreme vulnerability to photobleaching. During the Heian Period, sumptuary laws restricted murasaki-dyed clothing to the Empress and her ladies in waiting.
- "Lithospermum erythrorhizon". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- Chen, X., et al. (2003). Shikonin, a component of Chinese herbal medicine, inhibits chemokine receptor function and suppresses human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 47(9), 2810-16.
- Gao, H., et al. (2011). Anti-adenovirus activities of shikonin, a component of Chinese herbal medicine in vitro. Biol Pharm Bull. 34(2) 197-202.
- Dalby, Liza (2001). Kimono: Fashioning Culture.University of Washington Press, pp. 236–237. ISBN 0-295-98155-5.
- Wada Yoshiko; Mary Kellogg Rice, and Jane Barton (1983). Shibori: The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing. Kodansha, pp. 278–279. ISBN 0-87011-559-6.
- http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/m/murasaki.htm Retrieved on 2007-04-20.
- McGann, Kass (2003), Things to Wear — A History of Japanese Clothing: Japanese Dyestuffs, retrieved 2007-04-20
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