COMMON NAME: Eyebright
LATIN NAME: Euphrasia Officinalis
HABITAT: Europe, North America, Northern Asia, Western Asia. Eyebright grows on wastelands, meadows, on the slopes and on the roadsides. It is found everywhere in Europe.
Eyebright (lat. Euphrasia officinalis) belongs to the genus Euphrasia of the Orobanchaceae family. The genus includes 241 species. For a long time, many European species were united under one name -. Euphrasia officinalis, until in 1896 the Austrian botanist R. Wettstein did not crush the genus Euphrasia into numerous separate species, the status of which continues to be refined by researchers up to date.
Eyebright is an annual semi-parasitic herb that reaches 10-15 cm, and under favorable conditions, it is 30 cm in height. The plant has a taproot capable of going deep into the soil. Haustoria often develop on the roots, with the help of which the herb attaches to the donor plant and nourishes. If Eyebright grows among the grasses or other useful plants, it can grow at the expense of them, but it will gradually dry out the “donors”. In addition, this herb is able to grow without the help of haustoria, although it develops much more slowly. The stem is straight, sometimes strongly branched, and reddish-brown in color. Eyebright leaves are small, ovate, toothed. At the bottom of the stem, they quickly fall off. The flowers of the plant are also small, 6–10 mm in size, white or pale-violet, with a yellow rounded spot in the middle. Flowering continues until mid-October. After pollination seed boxes with many oblong small seeds ripen on Eyebright.
CHEMICAL COMPASITION: Euphrasia Officinalis is a real storehouse of such micro- and macroelements as silicon and magnesium, zinc and boron, iron, chromium, manganese, magnesium, iodine, copper, selenium, phosphorus etc. Eyebright contains aukubin and other iridoid glycosides. In addition, lignans, flavonoids, tannins of the pyrocatechin group, bitterness, essential oil, fatty oil, resins, gallotanins, aromatic acids are found in its composition. The high biological activity of the plant is also explained by the presence of coumarins, glycosides (which have a beneficial effect on the work of the heart), anthocyanins, as well as vitamins A, C, E, D and B vitamins.
ACTIONS: A wide spectrum of positive effects of Eyebright are characterized by its rich chemical composition. Euphrasia Officinalis possesses antibacterial, astringent, anticatarrhal, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiphlogistic, antispasmodic, antistress, immunity booster, liver tonic, nervine, stimulant actions on human’s body.
- Eyebright has been widely used in traditional medicine. Judging by its name it has long been taken for the treatment and prevention of eye diseases. It successfully deals with age-related changes in vision, as well as inflammatory processes affecting the conjunctiva and the optic nerve.
- In addition, Eyebright is used to treat gastrointestinal diseases. It has astringent properties, and therefore improves intestinal motility and normalizes stool. In addition, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and can be used for catarrh of the stomach and colon, gastritis with high acidity, enterocolitis, and indigestion. In case of decrease and lack of appetite caused by diseases of the digestive system.
- Euphrasia Officinalis helps with acute respiratory diseases, sore throat, bronchitis, hoarseness. It is helpful for the treatment of vocal cords inflammation, for coughing, for asthma, flu and runny nose.
- Eyebright has glycosides, which have a beneficial effect on the heart.
- Euphrasia Officinalis is actively used topically to treat rashes, eczema, dermatitis, diathesis and other skin diseases.
When used in moderate doses it does not have any side effects.
Sometimes Eyebright may cause confusion, headache, nausea, and active perspiration.
Should not be taken during pregnancy and breast-feeding period.
The first mention of Euphrasia Officinalis is dated back to the 13th century. From the Middle Ages, patients with jaundice and memory loss were cured with Eybright. It was also used for the treatment of bronchitis and digestive disorders. However, the main field of application of this herb in traditional medicine has always been eye disease. For example, in Scotland, they relieved inflammation and improved vision with the help of feather compresses soaked with Eyebright milk. Moreover, in Tibet healers treated conjunctivitis with the help of Eyebright. Unfortunately, there is no exact information on the origin of Euphrasia Officinalis.
It is only known that this herb received its name as it was mainly used for the treatment of eye diseases.
Ancient people sometimes called Eyebright Toad grass. This name was given to Euphrasia Officinalis due to its ability to cure angina, sometimes referred to as angina pectoris.
*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.