5 herbs to support your vision
About 80% of the information we perceive is obtained through our visual organs. That’s quite a lot, isn't it? We can learn, communicate, relax, create, get inspired, and make this world a better place in many ways thanks to our ability to see. However, nowadays the load on our visual organs is higher than ever. Frequent use of computers and phones, reading small text, and an excess of visual information are all responsible for our eyes being constantly tired. In addition, there are many other factors that contribute to failing vision. Read here about 7 habits that spoil your vision.
To combat these stressors, we have prepared a selection of herbs to support your eyes naturally. The world around us is worth seeing in all its fine detail!
Ginkgo Biloba is a tree regarded as a “living fossil” because it has been found in fossils dating back 270 million years. It was cultivated over 5000 years ago in Ancient China and used as medicine. The name of “the loneliest tree” was given to Ginkgo because it has no surviving botanical relatives. It is able to grow more than 130 feet and live for over a thousand years. Moreover, you may find some Ginkgo trees in China that are said to be over 2,500 years old.
Ginkgo leaf contains flavonoids, phenolic compounds, antioxidants, terpenoids, and other nutrients responsible for valuable health benefits.
Antioxidants in ginkgo may help to protect the ocular system against oxidative stress, thus preventing macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition, ginkgo biloba promotes blood flow to the eyes and protects the cornea, macula and retina from free radical damage.
Bilberry is the small, edible, dark-blue berry of a spreading, low-growing, deciduous shrub with thin branches, small pinkish blossoms and bright green, oval leaves. It is often used in various jams, juices, pies, candies, and other sweets. However, in addition to excellent taste, bilberries have many health benefits. It is a source of anthocyanin - the antioxidant that gives the berry its dark blue color. Also, it is rich in A, B1, B2, C, E, and K vitamins, as well as manganese, iron, chromium, and zinc.
Around the world, bilberries are appreciated for their ability to support eye health. Due to the anthocyanin, bilberries are known for their capacity to improve night vision and soothe vision handicaps in low light by reducing vascular permeability and capillary fragility. It was reported that during World War II, British fighter pilots used to eat bilberry jam in order to improve their night vision. Also, bilberry is used to protect the eyes against macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts, and as a natural remedy for retinopathy - damage to the retina.
Eyebright is a wild plant natively grown in Europe with the scientific name Euphrasia officinalis. The word "Euphrasia" comes from the Greek word "Euphrosyne", meaning "gladness." Eyebright is a source of rutin that offers nutritional support to the eyes, tannins that possess anti-inflammatory properties, A, C, and E vitamins, which are known as powerful antioxidants, and vitamin B1 that is responsible for intracellular eye metabolism. Also, eyebright is rich in zinc, copper, and selenium, making it useful for healthy retinas and lenses.
Eyebright has traditionally been used in herbal medicine as a natural remedy for eye problems such as conjunctivitis, blurry vision, cataracts, weakened vision, and swollen eyes. Even the name "eyebright" confirms that it was valued for its beneficial properties for eye health.
Calendula has traditionally been used for culinary, cosmetic, ornamental, and medicinal purposes. The word “calendula” comes from the Latin word “calens”, meaning the first day of the month. The Romans used to believe that it bloomed on the first of every month. Calendula buds are edible and are used in soups, stews, and salads.
This herb is rich in triterpenes, polyphenols, flavonoids, carotenoids, saponins, glycosides, and other potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Due to the beta-carotene content, calendula is used to prevent macular degeneration and the development of cataracts, thus maintaining vision. Also, researchers have shown that calendula possesses antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and immune-boosting abilities. It helps to overcome eye infections and protect vision by defending sensitive eye tissues from the damaging effects of UV light, aging and oxidative stress.
Spinach is lauded as one of the world’s healthiest foods! This is due to the high content of minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients, such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. Also, spinach is rich in niacin, folate, vitamins A, B6, C, and K, thiamine, and riboflavin.
Spinach natively grows in the Middle East and it was cultivated centuries ago in what was once Persia. From there, it was brought into China and Europe, where it rapidly became a staple for many dishes.
Spinach is known as a great source of vitamin A, which beneficially affects the eyesight by protecting the health of the macula, retina, and cornea. Besides, there are two additional nutrients — zeaxanthin and lutein, which are the main antioxidants necessary to prolong eye health, especially with older age.
Studies have shown that thanks to the presence of these nutrients, increasing the consumption of foods such as spinach could be useful for reducing the risk of age-related eye complications, including macular degeneration.