Eyebright’s potential benefits seem to have been realised only in the 14th century, when the herb was recommended to cure coughs and ‘all evils of the eye’, by physicians such as Matthaeus Sylvaticus of Mantua, Italy. Modern homeopathic practitioners, however, appreciate eyebright rather more for its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties, which can be helpful when treating allergies, inflamed sinuses and symptoms of colds and flu. The early healers weren’t wrong though – eyebright can also soothe allergy-reddened and swollen eyes.
The parts of the plant that grow above the ground.
Eyebright is known to contain the tannin euphrasia-tannin acid, along with the sugar alcohol mannite and glucose, but its volatile oils have not yet been chemically analysed. It is thought that the chemicals in eyebright may act as astringents and kill bacteria. The tannins are thought to decrease inflammation.
Eyebright is prescribed to:
- Soothe the symptoms of allergies, colds or flu, including runny mucus and swollen, itchy eyes.
- Reduce inflammation and congestion of the mucous lining in the nasal passages.
- Reduce inflammation in the sinuses (sinusitis).
- May ease a sore throat.
Flora Force Products containing Euphrasia officinalis
Domestic & culinary uses
Eyebright is not generally used in modern cuisine.
Eyebright is a weed, albeit an attractive one, that grows in fields and meadows in most temperate climate regions of the world. It is a parasitic plant that must attach its roots to the roots of other plants in order to survive. Nearly all of the eyebright sold on the market is produced in Europe.