Being a member of the genus Euphrasia, eyebright (Euphrasia Officinalis) is found in many areas in the world. Although this annual plant is native to Europe, it has been introduced to North America and Asia. Eyebright reaches 5-15 cm in height. Its stems are square and branched while its green leaves are serrated and arranged in pairs. This plant blooms from July to September. The flowers are purple and white and covered with stripes and spots. Today’s article will list out the impressive health benefits of eyebright herb, uses, and side effects.
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Eyebright Herb: Uses, Side Effects, And Health Benefits
I. Uses And Benefits Of Eyebright Herb
In a German book on the medicinal herbs published in 1845, eyebright is listed among the great herbs used to treat eye diseases. Also, eyebright was prescribed in the tobacco form, and it was smoked to reduce bronchial colds. Besides, this herb was popularly used by Nicholas Culpepper in the 17th century to strengthen the brain. It is extensively used in some African countries and throughout Europe.
Today, the juice expressed from eyebright is used by people in Iceland to treat eye ailments while the Highlanders of Scotland soak it in milk and soothe sore or tired eyes by soaking a feather in this infusion and then using it on the eyes. The British people are still using eyebright to reduce the chronic bronchial maladies by including the dried herb in the herbal tobacco and then smoking it.
Eyebright contains tannins, Iridoide monoterpenes including aucubin, euphroside, catalpol, Flavonoids, and Lignans. Chemicals in this herb, such as aucubin and tannin, are well-known for anti-inflammatory properties. Aucubin also has hepatoprotective effects and works against hepatitis B virus. This herb also includes many essential vitamins and minerals, such as niacin, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, selenium, cobalt, silica, and copper. It is also a useful herb with the following effects: anti-catarrhal, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and tonic. Check out the following health benefits of eyebright herb in detail!
1. Treat Pink Eye, Red Eyes, And Cataracts
According to a study published in the Balkan Medical Journal in 2014, applying Euphrasia officinalis L. preparations has the promising effects and considered as a supplementary therapy for many eye disorders.
In another study published in “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” in 2007, 81.5 percent of people who suffer from conjunctivitis showed complete recovery when used Euphrasia eye drops 1 to 5 times daily.
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An eyebright tincture wash helps to treat pink eye (conjunctivitis), cataracts, red, dry eyes, or weeping eye effectively. Simply, combine 5 to 8 drops of this tincture in two cups of cool water and wash the affected eyes with the solution every 4 to 6 hours to ease the symptoms. However, you should not use this treatment for a long time and remember to consult a professional herbalist before using this herb.
2. Treat Eye Inflammation
Research published in the “Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal” in 2005 found the components of the dry extract of eyebright contains anti-inflammatory activity.
Eyebright tea used as a cold compress can be effective in treating inflammation of the eye, including blepharitis, ophthalmia, and styes.
To make Eyebright tea, take one teaspoon of the herb and then boil it in 1.5 cups of clean water for 10 minutes. Strain and then let it cool. For this remedy, allow the tea to cool completely and dip a cotton ball or clean washcloth into it. Apply it to the eye 3 to 4 times a day.
3. Good For Liver
Some people say that the presence of aucubin in this herb helps to clear liver toxicity and may be used in treating jaundice . Besides, the herb is effective in stimulating the healthy liver functioning by purifying and cleaning the blood.
4. Treat Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
One of the best health benefits of eyebright is to help to treat upper respiratory tract infections. Therefore, the herb is also beneficial in treating a common cold, measles, and hay fever. In the case of measles, this herb helps to relieve bronchial and pulmonary irritations. Other conditions treated with this herb include coughs, sore throats, dry, stuffy congestion, hoarseness, sinusitis, etc.
5. Deal With Sinus Irritation
For this remedy, make an Eyebright tea. You may use the tea bag or boil a teaspoon of dried Eyebright leaves along with a cup of clean water for 5 to 7 minutes. Strain and drink this tea. You can have this tea up to 3 times a day for a limited period of time.
6. Improve Memory
Eyebright is full of beta-carotene. According to a longitudinal study in the “Archives of Internal Medicine” in 2007, when used beta-carotene supplements within 18 years, patients (men age 65 & older) reported significantly better on the verbal memory tests as compared with the placebo group. For a great home remedy, mix 2 tablespoons of dried Eyebright powder, 2 tablespoons of fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace. Take 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture every morning with water or fruit juice. Or, drinking 1 cup of Eyebright tea daily can aid in warding off memory loss and protecting your cognition.
7. Treat Acne And Skin Irritation
The natural antibacterial and astringent properties in the eyebright herb help to tighten open pores and heal acne and irritated skin. A simple treatment for acne breakouts is to apply the cold Eyebright tea, Eyebright poultice, or its tincture to the affected skin.
For making the Eyebright poultice, you crush some fresh Eyebright leaves and flower petals and then apply it directly to the acne every night. Wait for 20 minutes and remove the poultice before going to sleep. Finally, wash the skin in the morning. If you don’t find fresh leaves, you can also make a poultice by soaking the crushed dry leaves and petals into warm water for 10 minutes.
To apply the Eyebright tincture or tea, dab a cotton ball in the cold steeped tea or a mixture of 4-5 drops of eyebright tincture in the cold water (1/4 cup). Gently apply a cotton ball to the affected areas. Or, you may also mix 5 to 6 drops of the Eyebright oil with the face moisturizer and then apply it to the skin overnight.
II. Side Effects Of Using Eyebright?
Eyebright is likely safe for most people to take by mouth. However, if you use it directly on the eyes, it is likely unsafe and it is not recommended. This is because it can be contaminated or cause eye infections. Some side effects of using eyebright tincture are confusion, tearing, itching, headache, redness, sneezing, nausea, vision problems, toothache, sweating, constipation, trouble breathing, cough, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and others.
Special Precautions And Warnings
Pregnancy & breastfeeding: Now, there isn’t enough reliable evidence about the safety of having eyebright if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. So, you should avoid using it.
Diabetes: Perhaps eyebright will reduce blood sugar in a few people. When using eyebright, remember to watch for the symptoms of low blood sugar and monitor the blood sugar carefully in case you suffer from diabetes.
Surgery: Perhaps eyebright will reduce blood sugar in a few people. In theory, it might interfere with controlling blood sugar during and after surgical procedures. So, stop using it for at least 15 days before having a scheduled surgery.
III. Where To Buy Eyebright
You can easily find eyebright herb in the forms of tea bags, powder, liquid, loose dried leaves, tablets, capsules, oil, and tincture in many natural and health food stores. You can also find it packaged with the dried bilberries that are used in treating many conditions related to eyes.
Eyebright is a very versatile herb, and all its benefits for health probably can’t be summed up. Do you know other benefits of eyebright herb? Do let us know in the comments box below.