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Eyebright Herb (Euphrasia officinalis): Benefits, Uses and Possible Side Effects

The eyebright herb is an annual plant that measures between 2 and 10 inches tall. Originating in Europe, Asia, and North America, these plants have serrated oval-shaped leaves and white flowers with purple lines and yellow flecks at the center.

For centuries, traditional medicine has used the eyebright herb (Euphrasia officinalis) to alleviate different mild ocular problems like reddening and irritation. Similarly, it could help promote skin health and reduce blood sugar levels. In this article, we’ll go into detail about what you need to know!

Uses and Benefits of Eyebright Herb

In Greek, Euphrasia means “joy” and refers to what people feel when this herb alleviates any discomfort they may be experiencing around their eyes. Discover the other possible benefits below.

1. Rich Source of Active Compounds

The eyebright herb is rich in active compounds like luteolin and quercetin. According to a study published in the Central European Journal of Immunology, these flavonoids can inhibit mast cells. These are the immune cells that are capable of releasing histamine, a compound that causes allergy symptoms like a runny nose or watering eyes.

However, specialists believe that traditionally, people would use the eyebright herb for the treatment of allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. This is because it has antihistaminic properties. However, this requires further investigation.

Additionally, there’s scientific evidence that the eyebright herb contains aucubin, a chemical compound that forms part of the iridoid group and stands out for its effects on our health.

According to a test-tube study, aucubin can reduce the scarring a heart attack causes. This is vital because they affect the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.

Similarly, a study conducted on rodents found that this compound minimizes the scarring on heart tissue after a heart attack, which happens due to a reduction in the oxidative damage free radical’s cause. However, this still requires further study.

2. Alleviates Mild Eye Problems

The name of the eyebright herb refers to the benefits it has for our ocular health. However, despite being heavily studied, the evidence is still limited.

Research published in the Balkan Medical Journal demonstrated that eyebright herb extract can contribute to controlling inflammation in the cornea cells.

Similarly, a test-tube study determined that a few eyedrops with eyebright herb and chamomile helped to protect the cornea cells from inflammation and damage caused by the sun.

Finally, another clinical study that worked with 65 adults with ocular inflammation trialed eyedrops with eyebright herb and rose extract on pollen allergy, wind, dust, infections, and ocular fatigue. They found that these drops completely alleviated the redness, swelling, burning, and sticky secretions around the eyes in approximately 81% of participants.

It also demonstrated that the other participants experienced notable improvement. However, this still requires human investigations that certify the efficiency of the eyebright herb in treating ocular irritation and inflammation.

Similarly, no evidence confirms whether the eyebright herb can alleviate the symptoms of eye illnesses like macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma due to a lack of research.

3. Other Benefits of Eyebright Herb

In addition to improving our eye health, the eyebright herb could also benefit other parts of the body. The following are some of the more extended common uses:

  • Improves skin health: According to a study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the eyebright herb can prevent sun damage to the skin because it fights the so-called free radicals. It’s worth mentioning that this damage can cause wrinkles to appear. It also increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Reduces blood sugar levels Research published in Fitoterapia suggested that giving an oral extract of eyebright plant leaf to rodents with diabetes reduced their blood sugar levels by 34% in 2 hours. Additionally, the extract didn’t affect the glucose levels of the rodents without diabetes.
  • Fights harmful bacteria: A lab study found that the vegetable compounds in the eyebright plant tend to inhibit the growth of the bacteria associated with ocular infections like Staphylococcus aureus and Klebsiella pneumoniae.
  • Protects the liver health: According to a study on animals and test tubes, the aucubin present in the eyebright plant should protect the liver from the damage that free radicals cause.
  • Reduces colds and coughs: Traditionally, people have used the eyebright herb to alleviate colds, coughs, and sinusitis.

Where can you find it?

You can find the eyebright plant in several forms, whether that’s as herbal tea, liquid extract, homeopathic granule, capsules, and eyedrops.

Possible side effects

It’s important to be careful with the way that you use an eyebright herb to alleviate vision problems. Despite its popularity in homemade eyewashes to help with eye fatigue, these aren’t that safe. In fact, it could actually cause an infection.

With that in mind, we recommend you use sterile eye drops. However, if you’ve had eye surgery or wear contact lenses, you should consult an ophthalmologist before using eye drops.

Similarly, you should also consult your doctor if you take any medication for diabetes. This is because some studies suggest that the eyebright herb can reduce blood sugar levels.

Finally, because specialists haven’t tested this plant on pregnant or breastfeeding women, it’s best to avoid it if this is your case. Also, remember that this plant isn’t a certified treatment for any condition or illness. Thus, it shouldn’t substitute any given medication.

Dosage and recommendations

There’s not a specific dosage of the plant that will work for everyone. However, some products manage the quantity according to the form it comes in. Here are some of them:

  • Tea: Between 1 and 2 teaspoons of dried eyebright plant or 1 teabag per cup of hot water. Because this tea usually has a bit of a bitter taste, you can sweeten it if you like.
  • Liquid extract: Between 1 and 2 milliliters, 3 times a day maximum.
  • Homeopathic granules: Between 3 and 5 granules diluted under your tongue a day with a concentration of 30c.
  • Capsules: Between 400 and 470 milligrams, 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Eyedrops: 1 or more drops per eye, when necessary, 3 to 5 times a day.

Conclusion! Is the eyebright herb effective for visual health?

The eyebright plant is small in size and originates in Europe, Asia, and North America. It stands out with its white flowers, purple lines, and a yellow center.

Similarly, its name refers to the benefit it’s most known for, which is promoting ocular health. In Greek, Euphrasia means “joy.” This is what people experience after this herb alleviates eye discomfort.

Additionally, although people have been using it for centuries to alleviate eye-related issues, scientists haven’t confirmed all of its benefits. For that reason, you shouldn’t substitute any kind of given treatment for different forms of this plant.

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