Making a cooling Eyebright eyewash will help dry, tired eyes in need of moisture due to long-term use of computers and smartphones, and the drying effects of fans during the summer heat.
Eyebright has been traditionally used to treat all manner of eye problems including inflammation, conjunctivitis, red-eye, styes, itchy eyes, stinging eyes and weak vision.
Native to Europe, Eyebright has small, scallop-edged white flowers with yellow spots and a black centre, somewhat resembling a bloodshot human eye.
In ancient folklore you would carry Eyebright flowers if you wanted to enhance your psychic powers or to reveal the truth in situations. Folk names attached to these wild flowers are “Christ’s Eyes” and “Christ’s Sight”.
There are certain phytonutrients present in this herb that can reduce the symptoms of eye discomfort. The aucubin found in Eyebright has an anti-inflammatory action, soothing tired and inflamed eyes, whilst tannins act as astringents to help dry up secretions and relieve inflammation of the mucous membranes. This is especially helpful when dealing with conjunctivitis or blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).
The flavonoid quercetin, also found in Eyebright, can benefit symptoms of hayfever (especially runny eyes). This phytonutrient is thought to reduce allergic responsiveness by inhibiting the release of histamines.
Eyebright is also effective against styes (inflammation of one or more of the sebaceous glands in the eyelid). It contains caffeic acid whose antiseptic action will work to combat the infection.
It is thought that the antioxidant properties of this herb can help the eye absorb more vitamin A and vitamin C, and it contains the minerals zinc, copper and selenium, which all help to protect against cataracts.
Herbalists have long used eyebright in poultices to relieve eyestrain. Modern day naturalists also use the extract mixed with water to create an eyewash for treating eye infections, inflammation and pink eye.
Eyebright may also be taken orally to treat things like hay fever, allergies, the common cold, and inflamed sinuses.
The below remedy is for an Eyebright Eyewash using Eyebright tincture. You can also use dried eyebright leaves to create an eyewash.
Add 10 drops of Eyebright tincture to 30mls of freshly boiled water. Let this solution sit until it is cool. Do not put the solution in the fridge to cool.
When the solution is cool, using an eye cup or eye bath that has been rinsed with boiling water, pour the eyewash to about a third full. Place the cup over your eye and tilt your head back, making sure you open and shut your eye a few times and also making sure you look side to side and up and down whilst your eye is open to let the herb solution to get everywhere.
Discard the used solution. Rinse the eye cup with boiling water. Then follow the above steps with the other eye. You can bathe your eyes with this solution 3-4 times a day. Make a fresh batch of this remedy each time you bathe the eyes.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea