Eyebright is a herb that is so called because of its major benefits for the eyes. Herbalists recommend this herb to anyone, who is suffering from various eye problems. There are of course, several other benefits, which will be discussed later in the article. First, let us know, where eyebright comes from. Belonging to the Figwort family (a type of flowering plant), eyebright is one of those herbs that is completely edible. From its flowers, to its stems, and leaves; all the parts of this herb can be used in some manner or the other to treat several health conditions. This plant is scientifically known as euphrasia officinalis and euphrasia, and may commonly be referred to as meadow eyebright, and red eyebright.
The herb can be identified by its small, oval-shaped leaves, and small, white or red flowers. The flowers have a black center, and purple streaks on the petals with a central yellow spot. It grows primarily in grassy areas, such as meadows and pastures. This herb has been used for several years to treat a host of health problems, one of the major ones being those of the eye.
How Eyebright can Benefit You
One of the most common forms, in which, this herb is consumed is, eyebright tea. While the tea bags are available in the market, you may also freshly prepare the tea with its leaves. Take a cup of boiling hot water, and add to it, 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped leaves. Allow the leaves to steep in the water for about 10 minutes, to create an infusion. This concoction may be consumed or used as a compress for various conditions after straining it thoroughly. Apart from this drink, one may also consume eyebright extract capsules or its liquid form. Enlisted below are the various benefits of this miraculous herb.
For the Eyes
Conditions such as inflammation of the eye, cataract, conjunctivitis, and sties can be treated by using an eyebright tea compress. Prepare the tea as mentioned above, and strain it thoroughly, so that, no remnants of the leaves are left. Allow the tea to cool, and dip a cotton pad in the tea and place on the eye for several minutes. Doing this for about 3-4 times a day, is suitable for curing inflammation of the eye caused by conditions, such as, ophthalmia and blepharitis. For conditions such as cataract, strained eyes, conjunctivitis, and sties, add a cup of rose water to the prepared tea, and use it as an eyewash for about three to four times a day. However, this process should not be continued for too long because it is likely that the concoction may be contaminated, as it has been prepared at home. Also, herbalists recommend that, in order to attain the complete benefits, the tea should be consumed, along with it being used as a compress. You may also consume eyebright supplements if you wish to.
For Memory Improvement
Eyebright is rich in beta-carotene and flavonoids, compounds that help improve cognitive function. This means, if you suffer from any kind of memory problems, have trouble remembering where you left your keys or forgot why you opened the refrigerator, you may consume the tea every morning, to improve your memory over time.
For the Liver
A study conducted on mice has shown that, regular consumption of this multipurpose herb in any form helps eliminate harmful toxins from the liver, thereby, protecting it from any sort of damage, it may be prone to. This, of course, is possible only if you are consuming a healthy diet without alcohol. It is common knowledge that the liver can easily be damaged, if you consume excess alcohol. In such a case, this herb will not prove useful. You must consume a diet that is healthy in order for this herb to work its magic on you.
For the Skin
Eyebright can be used topically as an anti-acne agent too. Simply apply the tea with a cotton pad on the acne affected area and leave it overnight for maximum benefits. You may also make a face pack by crushing fresh eyebright leaves and adding a few drops of rose water to it. Apply it on your face and keep it for 20 minutes, before bed time, and wash it off before sleeping. You will notice that the irritation caused by acne has largely reduced. Also, you may consume the tea on a regular basis to keep your skin clear. Not only acne, it is beneficial for the irritation caused by other dry skin conditions.
For Colds and Allergies
Consuming eyebright tea or supplements regularly improves your immune system, so that, you are more resistant to conditions such as the common cold. Further, if you have developed cold already, having fresh tea will help reduce discomfort caused due to mucus discharge or cough. Adding honey to the tea is a good idea, as it not only enhances the flavor, but also joins eyebright in treating the cold effectively. Further, if you are prone to seasonal allergies, the tea will help reduce the symptoms of these allergies too.
To avail of all the aforementioned benefits, it is recommended that you speak to a qualified herbalist. The idea is to consume eyebright in moderation. Though it is a natural medicinal herb, it is important that you do not consume it in excess amounts. Too much of it may prove counteractive and affect you negatively. Be particularly careful when using the tea as an eyewash because any impurities in the tea may worsen your eye conditions. Herbalists recommend using ready-made eyebright eye washes that are available in the market for such conditions for safety reasons. If you have had any kind of eye surgery do not use this herb in any manner without consulting your doctor. Also, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should consult their doctors before consuming the herb in any form. As such, consuming eyebright under the guidance of a qualified herbalist is the best way to attain all its benefits. As mentioned earlier, a lot of people assume that herbal remedies can be utilized in any amount. However, as the adage goes, too much of anything is not good. Keep this in mind, and you will be able to live a healthy lifestyle.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert advice.