Learn the Herbs: Eyebright
Eyebright, or Euphrasia Officinalis, is a small, delicate plant that grows in the grassy meadows of Europe. Known among gardeners for its remarkably beautiful white flowers with purple stripes and yellow spots. The plant comes from the family of Orobanchaceae or the broomrapes and is popularly known bythe name eyewort.
The written records of Eyebright’s use in traditional medicine trace back to the 14th century. However, experts believe that it existed long before that. Let’s dig a little deeper to learn more about this tiny plant, its properties, and its uses.
Chemical Composition of Eyebright
The following chemical constituents have been identified in Eyebright:
- Iridoid glycosides, such as aucubin, eurostoside, euphroside, geniposide, catapol, mussaenoside, and ixoroside
- Flavonoids, such as tannins, quercetin, and apigenin
- Phenolic acids, such as ferulic acid, caffeic acid, vanillic acid, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, and gentisinic acid
- Flavones, such as luteolin, chrysoeriol, galactosides, and apigenin
- Amino acids
A Brief History of Eyebright’s Use
The written documents from the 14th century mention Eyebright’s use, both internally and externally, for eyes and sinuses. However, during the 16th century, the herb became primarily associated with eye problems. It had to do with the popularity of the Doctrine of Signatures,a theory that proposed that plants' or herbs’ physical resemblance to certain body parts is an indication that they have properties to treat issues related to them. Since the flower of Eyebright somewhat looks like a human eye (with white petals and a black center), the plant was considered a nature’s gift to deal with eye issues. Hence, the name Eyebright.
Through the centuries, Eyebright was used as the cure-all for all eye problems, such asinflammation, itchiness, stinging, redness, styes, conjunctivitis, and even weak vision.
During the Middle Ages, the use of Eyebright to clear the respiratory tract and relieve bronchial colds also gained popularity. The herb was combined with tobacco and smoked for this purpose.
In traditional Austrian medicine, Eyebright was also used for GI issues.
Health Benefits of Eyebright
Though Eyebright has a long-standing history of being used as herbal medicine, even in homeopathy. Following are some of the benefits of Eyebright that we have some scientific evidence for, along with plenty of anecdotal evidence:
It Can Help Relieve Eye Problems
Eyebright has centuries’ long history of use for a wide range of eye problems. However, the study is not backed by scientists.
A research study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2000 showed Eyebright’s effectiveness in alleviating the symptoms of conjunctivitis. 53 out of 65 participants showed complete recovery within 14 days by administering Eyebright eye drops up to five times a day, whereas the others showed significant improvements in symptoms.
Scientists associate the eye beneficial properties of Euphrasiawith Aucubin, tannins, and caffeic acid.
Aucubin has anti-inflammatory properties, tannins act as astringents, and caffeic acid is antiseptic.
It Can Offer Relief from General Respiratory Issues
Tannins and flavonoids present in Eyebright work great to alleviate respiratory issues, like colds, general discomfort, allergies, congestion, coughs, and sinusitis.
Tannins have been found effective in reducing mucus discharge and relieving irritation, whereas flavonoids help relieve inflammation.
The Sum UpEyebright is packed with numerous chemical compounds that are beneficial to the eyes and respiratory system. If you’re suffering from any of these problems and looking for natural alternatives, consult an expert to learn how you can incorporate this herb into your daily routine to get the desired results. For pure and organic formulations of Eyebright, look nowhere else than the Secret of the Tribe. We offer Eyebright tincture and capsules. Get your hands on them to experience the benefits of Eyebright.