Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
Euphrasia officinalis commonly called eyebright are Angiosperms of the family Orobanchaceae which have been used in the management and treatment of eye infections, diseases and problems over the years. Eyebright occurs as hundreds of different species which are semi parasitic often depending on grasses and other plants for survival. There are many species found especially in the alpine regions or places where snow is common. Euphrasia flowers are usually zygomorphic, borne at the terminal regions with petals that are lip-shaped. The flowers occur in a variety of different colors like blue to white, purple and violet. The flowers are borne starting July to the September month. Other notable features across all the hundreds of Euphrasia species are the pointed leaves and the branchy stems.
Eyebright has several chemical components that have made it useful for those so many years; tannins, vitamins A, C, D and E, vitamin B, phenolic acids, volatile oils, essential oils, bitters, flavanoids and iridoid glycosides. These chemical components give it astringent, antioxidant, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatorry proprerties.
The main use of euphrasia, as suggested in the common name eyebright is as a remedy for all sorts of eye problems except when lens and surgical correction is required. It is of extreme benefit to all allergic reactions that could affect the eyes, fighting free radicals that could damage the eyes. Eyebright also has the effect of tightening the mucous membranes around the eyes. In light of this, eyebright has especially been helpful to people suffering from blepharitis, conjunctivitis and related disorders.
The astringent properties of euphrasia aid in reductiron of the excessive mucus that are associated with cold seasons and flu, sinusitis, respiratory problems in the upper region and problems with the inner ear.
Dosage and Administration
The dosage and administration of eyebright varies depending on the magnitude of the problem and the manner in which it is consumed. For example, those with liver problems can take drinks made of eyebright; say a cup daily which can be reduced if it produced nausea and dizziness in patients.
Modern herbalists have made eyebright extracts which can be in juice form. Dried leaves, eyebright capsules and goldenseal capsules are all ways in which eyebright can be used. Herbal tobacco has also been made from euhrasia and is recommended for smoking for those with chronic bronchitis.
Eyebright that is used in the treatment of pink eye and other eye afflictions is often mixed with golden seal and should be extremely diluted. The most often recommended dosage is 15 to 30ml per week. The fluid extract is diluted in the ratio of 1 to 2 with water.
Eyebright capsules can also be obtained from chemist shops or by doctor prescription. 2 or 3 capsules are steeped for 5mins in boiling water and strained through a fine sieve or cloth. The mixture is kept cold in a refrigerator and used for eyewash.
The aerial parts of eyebright are the most often used. The fluid extract used for making eyewash are obtained from fresh plant especially when it is flowering and is cut off just from where the stem starts. The best foliage condition is experienced in July or in August when it is in full flowering season.
All benefits of eyebright are limited to medicinal uses and it is not edible. Unknown tor many people, it is not only used for the treatment of eye conditions but can also be used for strengthening a weak memory and brain. Euphrasia can also be used for treatment of health conditions which have been aggravated by a smoky atmosphere, cigarette smoke, chemical; sprays, exhaust fumes of vehicles, airborne pollutants and a horde of other allergic reactions.
Eyebright is also helpful in the treatment of headaches, mucous membrane conditions and inflammations in the nose, throat including catarrh.
The use of eyebright can lead to reactions with other complimentary medicines and it would be advisable to contact a herbalist before consuming eyebright extracts further. The use of eyebright is not recommended for women when they are pregnant as the chemical components may interfere with the natural development of a child. In addition, a lactating mother should not use eyebright.
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