Eyebright is a flowering herb that is native to Europe, but some of it can also be found in the US as well as Western and Northern Asia. Actually, there are around 450 different species of eyebright, but all of them are used medicinally in the very same manner. Also, since the plant is highly in demand these days, experts say that it is becoming extinct.
Being semi-parasitic, eyebright attaches itself to grasses and other plants in order to thrive. This makes harvesting it a bit of a challenge. It is during the hottest months of the year when eyebright are best obtained because that’s when they’re in full bloom. Flowers are the ones collected and prepared for extraction of their volatile oils.
The volatile oils of eyebright are scientifically-proven to possess amazing antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that eyebright contains certain nutrients such as potassium, sulfur, iron and vitamins C, A, D and E, plus B-complex, too. It also has small amounts of zinc, copper and iodine, experts add.
Wondering how eyebright got its name? It’s for the fact that it is primarily used by traditional healers in dealing with all sorts of problems concerning the eyes. However, various active compounds in the herb make it come with a variety of impressive health benefits, whether it is taken internally or employed topically. Some of them include:
Relieves an Upset Stomach
Eyebright tea is the perfect beverage after a meal, most especially if it’s a large one or consisting of spicy, fatty or greasy foods. That’s because the beverage is known as an excellent reliever of an upset stomach.
Traditionally, eyebright tea is also consumed to enhance the digestive process. It is said to encourage the liver to produce and secrete bile, something that helps in breaking down fat molecules into fatty acids.
Promotes Healing of Acne
When used topically, eyebright is known to be very good against acne. Such is for the fact that the herb possesses mild astringent properties which tighten the skin and reduce the symptoms of acne. Since acne is actually an inflammatory disease of the skin, eyebright’s anti-inflammatory properties also help relieve it.
Treats Eczema, Too
Acne is not the only skin problem that eyebright can deal with, but also eczema — courtesy of its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. It is said that oral and topical use of eyebright can help in treating eczema.
Wards Off Infection of Wounds
Eyebright has antimicrobial properties, making it effective in zapping bacteria. This is why applying it in oil or tea form on cuts and scrapes that are yet to heal can save them from becoming infected.
Controls Eye Infections
Primarily, eyebright is employed for the treatment of an assortment of eye problems, most especially those that are caused by invading microbes. For instance, the herb is a well-known remedy for conjunctivitis (pink eyes) and opthalmia. Just about any other infection of the eye may be treated with eyebright. On the market, there are lots of eye washes and eye drops available that contain eyebright extracts in order for them to work effectively.
Alleviates Eye Irritations as Well
Many of those eyebright-containing eye washes and eye drops are also effective against the likes of eyestrain or excessive sensitivity to light. Many also use them to relieve excessive watering or tearing of the eyes.
Helps Relieve Allergies
Traditional healers also employ eyebright in dealing with an assortment of allergies and symptoms that are associated with them. For instance, the herb is used for controlling a runny nose, sore throat, sneezing and coughing. Sometimes eyebright is also used for the management of sinus congestion.