If you have ever been to the high mountains of our West or Switzerland in Spring, chances are you were captivated by the sweet flowers of Euphrasia, better known as Eyebright, poking their merry heads through the snow. This alpine wild flower was first brought to our attention back in the 14th century by Nicholas Culpepper, a renowned healer and herbalist.
It has many uses, as a poultice, as a tea and as a tincture, and it is famous for strengthening and purifying the eyes.
All parts of the plant are used, including the stems. It has been used to relieve colds, sinus infections and congestion with great success. Eyebright comes in many colors, displaying it's trifoliate flowers in exquisite shades of purple, bluish white and white.
Some varieties display a yellow spot on the flower to guide bees to the ideal spot for pollination. Eyebright is even touted as a natural way to rid your eyes of cataracts and it does a fantastic job of opening clogged and blocked tear ducts. If it spares me the scalpel or the needle, I am all for it!
Dr. John Christopher, of whom I wrote this past Summer, used Eyebright in his famous Cayenne eyewash, with documented success and wonderful results. Eyebright also is useful for soothing and cleansing the eyes when conjunctivitis strikes.
Allergy eyes will thank you for using a warm decoction of Eyebright tea, applied as a compress or as drops. A few drops of tincture in a bit of warm, pure water and swirled in a glass eyecup, will wash away the pus and mucous along with the itch and redness. Relief is almost instantaneous.
For blocked tear ducts, you can't do better than Eyebright and Cayenne together as a team. If you are recoiling in horror at the thought of deliberately sticking hot pepper in your eyes I understand, but using a drop at a time in pure water and washing out the eyes will never hurt you.
Yes, of course it will sting a little, but not nearly as much as Restasis. I think having a needle poked into the tear duct is a lot scarier than using an eyewash. The combination of the two remedies brings blood to the vessels of the eyes and soothes the irritation and infection present in the eyes. It also opens clogged sinuses like magic.
If you have a background in tincture making, you can make your own using Dr. Christopher's formula, but if you are like me and don't have the time nor the inclination, there are some great products available for you.
A favorite is the Eyebright tincture made by Dr. Richard Schulze at www.herbdoc.com. And of course, you can buy Dr. Christopher's formula at his web site as well. If you decide to try Eyebright, be sure to follow the instructions to the letter and start slowly, one drop at a time.
When you are used to the sensation, add another drop. You may keep adding drops, but usually three are plenty. If your eyes are really troublesome and infected, don't be surprised if you wake up with crusty lids. This is the poison and infection exiting the body. Some warm, wet compresses will solve the problem easily. Remember, Natural Healing is the process of cleansing, not suppressing as antibiotics do. Whilst drugs will give you relief, they do not eliminate, they suppress. To be truly healthy, you MUST cleanse.
This is why we classically trained Naturopaths are obsessed with the health of the bowel. Accumulated, festering, toxic material is the cause of all chronic illness. Just to reassure you, nobody has ever gone blind or burned their corneas from properly using this remedy. Instead, they were rewarded with better eye health and in many cases, improved vision.
Although there are no known contraindications concerning the use of Eyebright in pregnancy, don't use any herbal preparation or medication if you are pregnant or nursing without first checking with your health care provider. As a reminder, Fall descends upon us next week, time to do my seasonal fast for robust health this coming Winter! May God bless and keep all those so cruelly lost on September 11, 2001. We will never forget them or their loved ones.
Dr. Kleine regrets she cannot give advice by phone or e-mail. To make an appointment call 631.472.8139 or e-mail us at Drfootsi@myway.com.