What is Eyebright (Euphrasia) used for?
The herb Eyebright, also known as Euphrasia is commonly used for minor eye issues. Eyebright can help with eye complaints such as styes, redness, blepharitis, dry eyes, allergies and conjunctivitis. It can be helpful as a first aid treatment for minor eye injuries too.
How does Eyebright help your eyes?
Eyebright is packed full compounds that can be useful when you have a minor eye complaint. Pharmacological investigations of Eyebright extracts have revealed it has antioxidant (1), anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial (2) properties.
Eyebright contains tannins that help to reduce inflammation and dry up any unwanted secretions. The caffeic acid content is anti-septic. Eyebright's iridoid glycosides, such as aucubin, help to counter infection and inflammation (3).
Your eyes can have an inflammatory reaction to an infection, irritation from chemicals or allergens, or too much screen time.
If you spend hours in front of a computer, phone or T.V screen, suffer with allergies, or are exposed to harsh cleaning chemicals, you might notice your eyes become easily dry and inflamed.
Inflammatory reactions can cause further damage to the corneal epithelium. It's really important that inflammatory reactions get cleared up as quickly as possible. Eyebright's toning and anti-inflammatory actions can be helpful in speeding up healing.
How to take Eyebright
The above ground parts of the Eyebright plant are used to make teas or tincture drops. Oral tincture drops are taken internally (orally), in a little water or juice. They are not applied externally to the eye. If you want to get the actions of Eyebright through topical application (applied directly to the eye), then eye drops containing Eyebright extract is the simplest way. Our Moisturising Eye Drops or our Extra Moisturising Eye Drops contain Eyebright (Euphrasia extracts), together with hyaluronic acid to help soothe eye problems such as dry, tired or irritated eyes.
Is Eyebright suitable for most people?
Eyebright is a well-tolerated herb with a long history of use as a traditional medicine. Nonetheless, always follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding dosage and safety. As I mentioned above, it's safest to use standardised preparations rather than making your own compress or rinse (unless you are working with a herbalist). This is because you want to avoid foreign matter being introduced into the delicate eye area and potentially causing more eye problems.
With eye conditions, it is always a good idea to check with a health care professional that the issue is suitable for home treatment.
Can Eyebright improve eyesight?
Eyebright works really well as 'first aid' for eye issues and so will help eyesight if it has been affected by an eye injury or infection. There is not enough research to determine whether it can improve eyesight on a more general level. So this is not the most appropriate role for this herb. A varied diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables is key to eye health. If you would like to find out more, have a read of our blog: 'The best foods for healthy eyes and eyesight'.