Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
Other common names: Euphrasia herb, augentrostkraut, oculara, euphrasy
*Note: There are several medicinal species in the euphrasia genus, many of which have hybridized with each other over time. For the sake of simplicity I am focusing on this particular species.
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Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory (especially to mucous membranes), febrifuge, vulnerary, bitter, astringent, decongestant, stomachic, antitussive, analgesic, tonic, antihistamine, anticatarrhal, hepatoprotective, cholagogue.
Harvest in summer while the plant is in bloom.
Part used: Aerial parts
Tannins, bitter principles, glucose, volatile oils, iridoid glycosides, flavonoids (including quercetin and apigenin) and others.
Eye infections, strain and other irritations, fever, poor appetite, indigestion/stomach upset, cold and flu symptoms, congestion, bronchitis, inflammation, coughs, sinus infections, earaches, headaches, sore throat, cuts/scrapes, bleeding, allergies, excess phlegm, moist skin conditions, liver protection (from toxic exposure), memory loss.
Eyebright can be used in capsules, tea, extracts, syrups, lozenges and tinctures.
Eyebright infusion makes a fantastic eyewash, and the plant also can be used as a poultice ingredient.
Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Use caution when sourcing eyebright for use in an eyewash – if it is not from a clean source, or if it has been sprayed with pesticides, it can cause serious infection/irritation of the eye. Ask a doctor before using if you are taking any medications, or if you have gallstones/kidney stones.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Culpeper associated this herb to the sign Leo, and believed it was useful for mental acuity and memory, in addition to its use for eye irritations. It was historically considered to be a cure for blindness, and was even thought to allow the sight of faeries and other beings.
Energetically, eyebright promotes sight of all kinds – seeing the truth through illusions, cutting through deception, and making decisions clearer. It is also used in energy healing to aid in study or memory. It has a dry constitution.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.