Eyebright, as its name suggests, is a plant that is beneficial for eyes as well as sinus conditions and skin ailments.
The plant, which is native to Britain and Europe, contains carbohydrates, tannins, alkaloids, sterols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, amino acids, essential oils, and vitamins A and C.
Also known as Euphrasia Officinalis, eyebright has been used used as a herbal remedy for various eye diseases since the Middle Ages.
Drinking eyebright tea was also used to aid mental clarity and psychic powers. Dating from the 11th century, people would place cotton pads infused with an eyebright tincture over their closed eyes to induce clairvoyance, and would carry eyebright with them to help them see through lies and deceit.
Eyebright has been used both internally and externally to soothe tired and bloodshot eyes, and to treat styes, conjunctivitis and inflammation of the eyelid edges. It is also traditionally used to treat sore and itchy eyes caused by colds and allergies.
Eyebright contains astringent compounds called tannins that can reduce inflammation and swelling in the eye and also create a protective coating on the surface of the eye.
Eyebright is also useful in treating respiratory conditions such as allergies, bronchitis, colds, and sinusitis. The tannins in eyebright can reduce the mucus production, which relieves the symptoms of respiratory conditions and even increases the firmness of the tissues in the respiratory system.
The herb can easily be found in most health or natural food stores. Eyebright is available in teabags, loose dried leaves, tablets and tincture.
Eyebright is often used in commercial products for the eyes including eye drops and eye wash solutions. Eyebright tincture can also be mixed with distilled water to make your own preservative-free eye wash to relieve dry, tired eyes. It is not recommended to use eyebright if you have recently had eye surgery or laser eye surgery.
Eyebright extract is now widely used in organic skin care products because of its antibacterial, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. The components of the extract also have a therapeutic effect when the extract is consumed as a tea or even when applied topically.
The herb can also provide relief from acne and even cure irritated or inflamed skin. Eyebright extract is particularly effective on oily skin, and is often used as cleanser.
Eyebright is available from health food stores and Amazon
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.