The industrially important secondary metabolite which is used as a red pigment in lipsticks and dye for silk is obtained from Lithospermum erythrorhizon.
Lithospermum erythrorhizon, also known as gromwell or purple gromwell, is a plant species native to East Asia. The roots of this plant contain a red pigment called shikonin, which has been used for centuries in traditional medicine and as a dye. Shikonin is a secondary metabolite that is produced by the plant as a defense mechanism against pests and pathogens.
Today, shikonin is widely used in the cosmetics industry as a natural red pigment for lipsticks and other cosmetics, and in the textile industry as a dye for silk and other fabrics. Shikonin has also been found to have various biological activities, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antitumor effects, which makes it a promising candidate for drug development.