Arnebia endochroma Aitch.
Arnebia perennis (Schrenk) A.DC.
Arnebia tingens A.DC.
Lithospermum euchromon Royle
Macrotomia euchromon Paulsen
Macrotomia grandis Bornm.
Macrotomia oginoi Kitam.
Macrotomia perennis Boiss.
Arnebia euchroma is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from thick roots that can be up to 2cm in diameter. The plant produces a cluster of basal leaves and one to many flowering stems up to 50cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of dyestuff.
Asia - Kazakhstan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, through the Himalayas to central Nepal.
Open slopes and rocks, only in the drier areas of the Himalayas; at elevations from 3,300 - 4,500 metres[
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Requires a well-drained gritty soil and a sunny position, growing well in the rock garden, or on a dry wall[
The root is antipyretic, cancer, contraceptive, emollient and vulnerary[
]. It is used in the treatment of measles, mild constipation, burns, frostbite, eczema, dermatitis etc[
Experimentally the root has shown contraceptive action on rats, inhibiting oestrus, the fertility rate and the release of pituitary gonadotrophin hormone and chorion gonadotrophin hormone[
]. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells on the chorion membrane[
The root contains shikonin, an antitumour and bactericidal compound[
]. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of a range pf bacteria including E. Coli, Bacillus typhi, B. Dysenteriae, Pseudomonas and Staphylococcus aureus[
]. Shikonin also promotes the healing of wounds on topical application[
The root contains a copious purple dye[
]. The thick roots are up to 2cm in diameter[
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 8 weeks at 20°c[
]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. It is best to harvest the seed when it is slightly under-ripe, since it is quickly dispersed when ripe[
Cuttings with a heel in the autumn in sand in a cold frame[
Root cuttings in sand in a frame during the winter[