Lithospermum is a genus of plants belonging to the family Boraginaceae. Herbs or small shrubs, they are widely distributed except in Australasia. Species are known generally as gromwells or stoneseeds.
Some species, such as Lithospermum arvense, are sometimes classified in the genus Buglossoides, but that genus is subsumed into Lithospermum by works such as the Flora of China.
Lithospermum officinale, or gromwell, is a European native while Lithospermum caroliniense, a species of puccoon, is native to North America. Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum is native to Japan, where it has been traditionally been used to make a purple dye.
Gromwell contains estrogen-like compounds that disrupt the female hormonal reproductive system and suppress the normal menstrual cycle. Gromwell has been used for centuries as a female contraceptive, and L. arvensis is currently used in Europe for that purpose. Gromwell has dramatic and dangerous hormonal effects on the body and is not approved for use in the United States.