Eyebright herb has been tried for centuries to help support eye complaints (irritation, inflammation, blepharitis, disturbed vision, eye fatigue, conjunctivitis). It is traditionally taken orally as a stomachic and to help support coughs and hoarseness, hay fever and nasal congestion and externally in case of skin complaints.
Eyebright Euphrasia officinalis L.
Other Names: Echter Augentrost (German); euphraise officinale, casse-lunettes (French); eufrasia, erba degli occhi (Italian).
Description: Eyebright is an annual herb of up to 0.4 m in height, with small, deeply toothed leaves arranged in opposite pairs. The flowers are white or pink with a yellow spot and have a dark area in the centre formed by purplish veins. Euphrasia officinalis is a species complex of several closely related taxa (including E. minima, E. nemorosa, E. rostkoviana, E. stricta). The typical form of the herb is sometimes regarded as E. rostkoviana.
Origin: Europe (eyebright and related species). The commercial herb is harvested in the wild during the flowering period, mainly in eastern Europe.
Parts Used: Aerial parts (Euphrasiae herba).
Therapeutic Category: Traditional eye lotion, anti-inflammatory.
Active Ingredients: The plant contains several iridoid glycosides (up to 0.9%), including aucubin, catalpol and euphroside. Of interest is also the presence of dehydrodiconiferylalcohol 4-alpha-D-glucoside (a lignane) and eukovoside (a phenylpropane glycoside). Other compounds reported include tannins and several phenol- carboxylic acids (caffeic acid, p-hydroxyphenylpyruvic acid and vanillic acid) and various flavonoids.
Health Effects: Iridoid glycosides or the metabolites formed in the body appear to inhibit prostaglandin formation and are therefore anti-inflammatory. Phenolics, such as phenyl-carboxylic acids and flavonoids contribute to the disinfectant effects. Some of the traditional uses are thus plausible but have not been demonstrated for extracts of eyebright. The German Commission E found no convincing scientific evidence in support of the traditional uses.
Notes: Eyebright herb is often quoted as an example of the "doctrine of signatures" because the bright flowers are thought to resemble eyes and hence suggest therapeutic value in supporting eye ailments.
Status: Traditional health; Pharm.
Preparation and Dosage: A 2% decoction is used three or four times a day as eye wash. For internal use, a tea is prepared from 2 - 3 g of the dried herb.
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Stir 1/4 of a teaspoon into a glass of water and consume 3 times daily, with meals.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."