Euphrasia Officinalis is a herb which belongs to the Figwort family. The whole foliage (stem, leaves, and flowers) of Euphrasia Officinalis is edible and can be used in herbal medicine.
Euphrasia Officinalis is taken by mouth to treat swollen (inflamed) nasal passages, allergies, hay fever, common cold, bronchial conditions, and inflamed sinuses (sinusitis). It is also used for cancer, coughs, “pink eye” (conjunctivitis), earaches, epilepsy, headaches, hoarseness, inflammation, jaundice, runny nose, skin ailments, and sore throat.
Despite serious risk of infection, some people apply eyebright directly to the eye in the form of a lotion, poultice, or eye bath to treat a variety of conditions including conjunctivitis; inflammation of the eyelids at the edge of the lashes (blepharitis); eye fatigue; inflammation of the blood vessels, eyelids and conjunctiva; and for “glued” and inflamed eyes. Eyebright is also applied to the eyes to prevent mucous and mucous membrane inflammation of the eyes.
In foods, Euphrasia Officinalis is used as a flavoring ingredient.
Historically, Euphrasia Officinalis has been used in British Herbal Tobacco, which was smoked for on-going lung conditions and colds.
Eyebright is primarily used in the treatment of eye infections and eye-associated irritations. Perhaps most noteworthy is eyebright’s ability to treat conjunctivitis or pink eye. The University of Maryland Medical Center informs consumers of the herb’s infection-fighting and fluid-drying abilities, which can prove especially helpful when treating symptoms of conjunctivitis. In a study published in a 2007 edition of “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine,” researchers found that when treated with Euphrasia eye drops one to five times daily, 81.5 percent of patients with conjunctivitis displayed complete recovery.
Colds and Allergies
Eyebright is also recommended for the treatment of colds and allergies. Certified Nutritional Consultant Phyllis Balch says in her book “Prescription for Herbal Healing” that eyebright may be useful for treating hay fever, sinusitis and nasal congestion due to its anti-inflammatory and natural astringent properties. Astringent properties may be accounted for by tannins found in eyebright. Tannins offer relief from mucus discharge caused by colds, by tightening nasal mucous membranes.
In addition to its eye care benefits, eyebright may have hepatoprotective benefits. Healthline.com says eyebright contains aucubin, a promising liver-protecting iridoid glycoside. However, Healthline.com also indicates that the promotion of eyebright’s hepatoprotector activity remains limited due to insufficient scientific evidence.
Eyebright acts as an anti-inflammatory. Healthline.com indicates that the iridoid glycoside aucubin found in eyebright contains properties similar to the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) idomethacin. Moreover, a study published in a 2005 edition of the “Pharmaceutical Chemistry Journal” examined the components of a dry extract of eyebright and found the extract to possess anti-inflammatory activity. Further research may prove helpful in determining the efficacy of eyebright as a treatment for inflammatory conditions.
Drugs.com says eyebright contains flavonoids and beta-carotene–constituents that may help to strengthen memory. A longitudinal study published in a 2007 edition of the “Archives of Internal Medicine” found that when treated with beta-carotene supplements for 18 years, subjects (men age 65 and older) performed significantly better on verbal memory tests than the placebo group. Although research on beta-carotene is promising, additional research may be needed to validate eyebright as a memory enhancer.
Euphrasia Officinalis is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth. However, when used directly on the eye, Euphrasia Officinalis is POSSIBLY UNSAFE and is not recommended. It can be contaminated and cause eye infections. Side effects of Euphrasia Officinalis tincture include confusion, headache, tearing, itching, redness, vision problems, sneezing, nausea, toothache, constipation, cough, trouble breathing, trouble sleeping (insomnia), sweating, and others.
None are recorded.
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Source: LiveStrong, http://www.livestrong.com/article/123411-eyebright-benefits/