Eyebright

(euphrasia parthenium)

In the wild, European eyebright grows in meadows, pastures, and grassy places in Eastern Europe. Eyebright is also grown commercially in Europe. The plant flowers in late summer and autumn. The whole herb is used in herbal medicine.

Eyebright was and continues to be used by herbalists primarily as a poultice for the topical treatment of eye inflammations, including conjunctivitis/blepharitis and sties. Traditionally, a compress made from a decoction of eyebright is used to give relief from redness, swelling, and visual disturbances due to eye infections. A tea is sometimes given internally along with the topical treatment. It has also been used for the treatment of eye fatigue and other disturbances of vision. In addition, herbalists have recommended eyebright for problems of the respiratory tract, including sinus infections, coughs, and sore throat.

What it does

Eyebright contains tannins, iridoid gycosides and volatile oil. These compounds have astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. Eyebright is probably the best known of all herbal eye tonics and is reported to be supportive to the associated mucous membranes. The astringent compounds in eyebright are used to provide a tonic effect for the eyes and reduce sinus congestion, stinging, sensitivity to light, weeping eyes and catarrhal conditions.

Potential Uses

Blepharitis Conjunctivitis General eye irritation
Catarrh Stye Dry eye

Other information

In addition to treating chronic and acute inflammation of the eye, herbalists also use it for congestive conditions such as catarrh, hayfever and sinusitis.

Cautions

Do not use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using eyebright.

At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with eyebright.

 

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