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Eyebright - Euphrasia officinalis

Used in diseases of the sight, weakness of the eyes

Although neglected nowadays by the faculty, modern herbalists still retain faith in this herb and recommend its use in diseases of the sight, weakness of the eyes, ophthalmia, etc., combining it often with Golden Seal in a lotion stated to be excellent for general disorders of the eyes. The juice obtained by expression from the plant in the fresh state is sometimes employed, or an infusion in milk, but the simple infusion in water is the more usual form in which it is applied. An infusion of 1 OZ. of the herb to a pint of boiling water should be used and the eyes bathed three or four times a day. When there is much pain, it is considered desirable to use a warm infusion rather more frequently for inflamed eyes till the pain is removed. In ordinary cases, the cold application is found sufficient.

In Iceland, the expressed juice is used for most ailments of the eye, and in Scotland the Highlanders make an infusion of the herb in milk and anoint weak or inflamed eyes with a feather dipped in it.

The dried herb is an ingredient in British Herbal Tobacco, which is smoked most usefully for chronic bronchial colds.

Herbalists use eyebright as a poultice with or with concurrent administration of a tea for the redness, swelling, and visual disturbances caused by blepharitis and conjunctivitis. The herb is also used for eyestrain, and to relieve Inflammation caused by colds, coughs, sinus infections, and sore throat.

The plant was known to classical herbalists, but then was not referred to until mentioned again in 1305. Nicholas Culpeper assigned it to the Zodiac sign Leo, claiming that it strengthened the brain. It was also used to treat bad memory and vertigo.[1] Herbalists use eyebright as a poultice with or without concurrent administration of a tea for the redness, swelling, and visual disturbances caused by blepharitis and conjunctivitis. The herb is also used for eyestrain and to relieve inflammation caused by colds, coughs, sinus infections, sore throats and hay fever. Parts used include the leaf, the stem, and small pieces of the flowers. Typical preparations include a warm compress or tea. Eyebright preparations are also available as an extract or capsule.

Euphrasia (Eyebright) is a genus of about 450 species of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Orobanchaceae (formerly included in the Scrophulariaceae), with a cosmopolitan distribution. They are semi-parasitic on grasses. The common name refers to the plant's use in treating eye infections. Many species are found in alpine or sub-alpine meadows where snow is common. Flowers usually are borne terminally, are zygomorphic, and have a lower petal shaped like a lip. The most common flower colours are purple, blue-white, and violet. Some species have yellow markings on the lower petal to act as a guide to pollinating insects.

The safety of this herb during pregnancy and lactation is not proven.
This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.