The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Eyebright

Scientific Names

Eyebright

  • Euphrasia officinalis L.
  • Euphrasia americana L.
  • Scrophulariaceae
  • Figwort family

Common Names

  • Euphrasy
  • Red eyebright

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Parts Usually Used

Entire plant except roots, dried
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Eyebright

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Red eyebright is a small, downy, annual herb 4-8 inches high; its square, leafy stem that is slender, semiparasitic (root is attached to grasses), grows up to 12 inches high and bears opposite, stiff, tiny, bristle-toothed, ovate leaves. The two-lipped, red or purple and white flowers grow in axillary leafy spikes from June to September. Three lower lobes notched, with purple lines. Highly variable. Fruits are capsules, cupped in sepals.

Some call Lobelia by the common name of eye bright.
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Where Found

Very common in dry, meadows, pastures, and other grassy areas of Europe and western Asia and probably naturalized in various places in the United States. Subarctic south to Quebec, Maine, Massachusetts, New York. Native of Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, tonic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic
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Biochemical Information

Bitters, inositol, volatile oils, PABA, sulfur, tannins, and vitamins A, B3, B5, B12, C, D, and E.
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Legends, Myths and Stories

According to the story of Arnoldus de Villa Nova, “it restoreth sight to them that have been blind a long time before.” Culpeper says it will restore the sight decayed through age.
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Uses

Used as an eyewash or poultice for eye inflammations, blepharitis, eye strain, treating styes. Prevents secretion of fluids and relieves discomfort from eyestrain or minor irritation. Good for all eye disorders.

An infusion or poultice has been used for symptoms associated with colds, such as coughs, hoarseness, earaches, headaches, sore throat, nasal congestion, allergy, and catarrh. In Europe it has sometimes been taken for hay fever.

Taken internally, it may be helpful in maintaining good vision and eye health.
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Formulas or Dosages

Make preparations fresh each time.

Infusion: steep 1 heaping tsp. fresh herb in boiling water for a few minutes. Take 1-2 cups a day.

Decoction: Boil 1 tsp. dried herb in 1 cup water for 5 minutes.

Tincture: take 15-40 drops every 3-4 hours, as needed.

Herbalists often combine eyebright with goldenseal in eye lotions.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamins A, B3, B5, B12, C, D, and E.
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How Sold

Capsules: take 1 capsule for up to 3 times daily.

Extract: mix 15 to 40 drops in liquid every 3 to 4 hours.

Eyewashes: eyewash products containing euphrasia (eyebright), plus other herbs such as golden seal, bayberry, raspberry leaves, and cayenne pepper, are available commercially. Put the eyewash in an eyecup and rise out the eye 3 to 4 times daily.
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Warning

Experimentally, may induce side effects, including dim vision. Avoid use without a doctor’s supervision. This plant is not considered safe today.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Magic of Herbs in Daily Living, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Co. (1988).

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

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