Eyebright is a plant which belongs to the Figwort family and is said to be originated in Europe. The herb’s name comes from its common use as an alternative treatment for eye related ailments.
Its flowers are arranged in a spike; the white petals often have a red tinge, but may be purple-veined or have a yellow spot on the lower petal.
The flowers have the appearance of bloodshot eyes. It contains vitamins B, C, E, and beta-carotene, alkaloids and antioxidants.
The nutritional and herbal ingredients make it beneficial for many eye problems including ophthalmia (severe inflammation of the eye), blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids), conjunctivitis (pink eye), cataracts, weeping eye, and bloodshot or strained eyes.
Thanks to eyebright’s astringent tannins and flavonoids, the herb can help minimize unpleasant allergy symptoms, including runny noses and watery eyes.
The astringent tannins tighten mucus membranes, which helps to reduce discharge. If you are using eyebright to treat eye problems, it is essential that the eye compress or drops are prepared in a clean, sanitary environment.
It is used as an anti-inflammatory for hay fever, sinusitis, upper respiratory tract infections, and catarrh (inflammation of the mucous membranes). Eyebright is able to be purchased in the forms of teabags, loose dried leaves, capsules, liquid, tablets, powder, tincture, and oil.
“In addition to its eye care benefits, eyebright may have hepatoprotective benefits. Healthline.com says eyebright contains aucubin, a promising liver-protecting iridoid glycoside.
However, Healthline.com also indicates that the promotion of eyebright’s hepatoprotector activity remains limited due to insufficient scientific evidence”.
Side effects of topical eyebright may include itchiness, increased sensitivity to light, swollen eyelids, changes in vision, watery eyes, or changes in eye pressure.
Nausea, sweating and confusion have also been reported with oral eyebright use and as such eyebright must be administered with caution, it’s always a better choice to contact a health care provider before use.