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 Eyebright :
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Euphrasia officinalis



Habitat: Meadows and grassy places in Britain and Europe.

Collection: Gather the whole plant whilst in bloom in late summer and dry it in an airy place.

Part Used: Dried aerial parts.


  • Iridoid glycosides, including aucubin.
  • Tannins, both condensed and hydrolysable gallic acid types
  • Phenolic acids including caffeic and ferulic
  • Volatile oil.
  • Miscellaneous; an unidentified alkaloid, sterols, amino acids and choline.
Actions: Anti-catarrhal, astringent, anti-inflammatory.

Indications: Eyebright is an excellent remedy for the problems of mucous membranes. The combination of anti-inflammatory and astringent properties make it relevant in many conditions. Used internally it is a powerful anti-catarrhal and thus may be used in nasal catarrh, sinusitis and other congestive states. It is best known for its use in conditions of the eye, where it is helpful in acute or chronic inflammations, stinging and weeping eyes as well as over-sensitivity to light. Used as a compress externally in conjunction with internal use it valuable in conjunctivitis and blepharitis.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "mild stimulating astringent. Vaso-constrictor to vessels of nasal and conjuntival membranes. Specific for congestive conditions of the eyes with profuse lachrymation." They give the following specific indications: Catarrhal blepharitis, rhinitis, sinusitis and conjunctivitis. Hay fever, acute coryza, irritable sneezing and lachrymation.

Ellingwood considered it specific for "irritating and catarrhal disease; first of the upper portion of the respiratory tract, and afterwords of the mucous structures of the throat and bronchial tubes. It is more immediately beneficial if the discharge is thin and watery. `Snuffles' ininfants demands this remedy. It is specific to acute disorders of the nasal mucous membranes. Where there is watery discharge from these membranes, where there earache, or headache, and especially if the distress be across the eyes, in acute catarrhal affections, it has a direct influence upon the lachrymal apparatus." In addition he recommends it for the following patholgies: cough, hoarsness, catarrhal manifestations following measles, catarrhal conjunctivitis, catarrhal deafness, chronic nasal catarrh, acute coryza, influenza, blepharitis and conjunctivitis.

Combinations: In catarrhal conditions it combines well with Golden Rod, Elder Flower or Golden Seal. In allergic conditions where the eyes are effect edit may be combined with Ephedra. As an eye lotion it mixes with Golden Seal and distilled Witch Hazel.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 5-l0 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Compress: place a teaspoonful of the dried herb in half a litre (l pint) of water and boil for l0 minutes, let cool slightly. Moisten a compress (Cotton wool, gauze or muslin) in the luke warm liquid, wring out slightly and place over the eyes. Leave the compress in place for l5 minutes. Repeat several times a day. Tincture: take l-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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