Herbs

EYEBRIGHT, Euphrasia officinalis

Eyebright Plant

Way back in the 17th century, an herbalist by the name of Nicholas Culpepper wrote about the virtues of the herb eyebright. He said that if more people used this precious herb, it would half spoil the spectacle-makers trade. He also said if you put it in a little white wine or broth and put it in the eye, it will lessen the infirmities of the eye that cause dimness of sight and if you use it faithfully, it will even strengthen the brain and the memory.


Now, I never knew Mr. Culpepper and I don’t know if all his claims are true, especially about putting the herb eyebright in white wine or broth. I don’t think that’s a good idea and I know I wouldn’t do it, but I heard it said that taking the herb eyebright in capsules and bathing the eyes with eyebright tea will improve the eyesight. This is an old herbal practice that has been handed down from generation to generation for thousand of years.


The eyebright plant is a beautiful little annual that grows from about 2 to 8 inches tall and blooms from June until August. It is a member of the snapdragon family. It has square stems and small, green, pointed leaves in opposite pairs which are serrated at the edges. The flower, which is white or purple, has a two-lobed upper lip and a three-lobed lower lip that resemble a snapdragon.


There are hundreds of stories of how this simple little herb in a combination has helped so many people improve their eyesight.


One story I remember in particular was of a little baby girl who was born blind. The doctors had done all they could to restore the baby’s eyesight, but nothing seemed to help her. One day a friend asked her parents why they didn’t try the herb eyebright. He said that he had taken the capsules and drunk the tea and bathed his eyes in the tea every day for more than a year and it had really helped his eyes. The parents were very skeptical and said, “If doctors and all their knowledge can’t help her, how could herbs possibly do any good?” After a time, they said, “What can we lose, it can’t hurt her.” Eventually they gave the baby some eyebright tea several times a day and put a few drops of the tea in the baby’s eyes night and morning. Within a year, the baby was reaching out for bright objects.


When you look around a room and see how many people wear glasses, you realize there should be a better way to strengthen our eyesight when it starts to fail. But, first of all, why does it fail? A lot of it is eating sweets and other bad eating habits. What child will eat vegetables when he or she can have goodies?


Eyebright is not the only herb that will help improve the eyesight and make the eyes healthier. Some other herbs that help the eyes are rue, fennel, goldenseal, chamomile, raspberry leaf, bayberry and blue vervain. These herbs, along with eyebright, are used in Grandma’s herbal Bright Eyes formula.


Eyebright is also used for pinkeye, conjunctivitis, eye strain, and is anti-inflammatory and astringent. It has vitamins A, C, B complex, D, and E. It also has iron, silicon, some copper and zinc.


We could go on and tell many wonderful stories of how people have used different herbs and achieved what some people call miracles.


People all over the world have had extensive knowledge of herbal medicine for thousands of years. For example, this prescription was found in a 13th-century manuscript:


To Strengthen the sight, Take Eyebright and red fennel, a handful of each, and a half a handful of Rue,
Sistil, and wash your eye daily therewith.
 

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