Quest Vitamins LTD,
As its name suggests, eyebright found its use in folk medicine as an eye tonic. Used in German medicine to stimulate the Immune System, eyebright is said to fight colds, Hay Fever, Coughs, congestion, and Sore Throats. Because it contains tannins, eyebright exhibits astringent properties.
The use of eyebright dates back to the Middle Ages, when the herb was used as an eyewash for irritations and Infections. Eyebright is believed to have been used to treat eye problems not so much because of its effectiveness but because of the appearance of its bloodshot petals (1). This idea is based on the medieval philosophy the Signature of Doctrines, which states that the appearance of herbs reveals their proper use.
Traditional dosages consist of boiled tea with 1 tablespoon of eyebright. This formula is used as an eyewash or taken internally three times daily.
Eyebright should be used in weak solutions when applying directly to the eye.
Eyebright contains astringent substances and volatile oils, which give the herb antibacterial properties. Unfortunately, no scientific evidence exists to verify its effectiveness.
Uses of eyebright:
Safety in young children, nursing and pregnant women, and patients with severe liver or kidney disease has not been determined.
Eyebright may potentiate the antibiotic action with Echinacea. Milk or cream eliminates the interaction.
1. Lawrence Review of Natural Products. Eyebright monograph. St. Louis, MO: Facts and Comparisons Division, J.B. Lipincott Company, 1996.