Nourish - Supporting Eye Health Naturally: Herbal Remedies | Part 4
Now aside from eating healthily, supplementing as needed and ensuring you’re living a lifestyle that benefits your eyes, another way to support your eye health is through herbal remedies. And that’s what we’re covering today in part for of supporting eye health naturally.
Of course, it goes without saying that it is advisable to speak with a trained herbalist/naturopath for more specific and advanced uses of herbs for eye health. That being said, that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves in times of much less severe ailments.
Home remedies are great for minor ailments, but if you have:
- severe eye pain
- discharge that is green or yellow
- are diabetic or have other chronic conditions that affect your eyes
then it’s always best to seek the advice of a medical professional to be safe.
Eye problems can include:
- dry eyes
- itchy eyes
- watery eyes
- puffy eyes
- eye discharge
- eye floaters
- twitches in the eye
- red/bloodshot eyes
- tired eyes and blurry vision.
These problems can often be a result of:
- A foreign matter in the eye
- Environmental factors such as the weather, air conditioning, heating, pollution etc.
- Lifestyle factors such as your job where you stare at a screen, or hobbies where you stare at something very close up for long periods of time e.g knitting
- Being overworked or overtired
- A bacterial infection e.g sharing makeup and contracting conjunctivitis
- An allergy – this could be from the environment e.g dust, animals, pollen etc. or even something like make-up
- An irritation – again this could be from make-up, left in contact lenses, a foreign particle in the eye etc.
- A nutritional deficiency
Supporting Eye Health Naturally With Herbal Remedies
The treatment of eye problems really depends on what the problem is, and what the root cause is. Minor eye problems such as dry or sore eyes can often be easily treated and supported with a little natural help, or even resolve themselves.
It is, however, very important that you consult your doctor or optician in the case of any serious conditions and follow their treatment advice. This blog is simply for guidance. If left untreated, some eye problems can severely damage vision if not treated correctly. Always, always, if in doubt, ask your doctor or naturopath.
So let’s get to some natural and herbal solutions that can help treat your eye problems and speed up your recovery from home.
No. 1 – Euphrasia
Euphrasia is a herb that has traditionally been used for hundreds of years to treat eye problems and promote eye health. Hence, earning its alternative name, Eyebright.
This herb is particularly useful for relieving dry, tired and itchy eyes since it helps lubricate and cleanse them.
Euphrasia is available in tincture or eye drop form, and we stock both by the brand A.Vogel.
The tincture can be taken orally to support and increase overall eye health. Similarly, the eye drops can be used for dry, irritated or tired eyes. Also, the drops are ideal for contact lens wearers and can be used while wearing the lenses. It’s not uncommon for people wearing contact lenses to experience dry eyes throughout the day.
Many eye problems can be treated using Euphrasia, therefore this is a herb I highly recommend.
No. 2 – Chamomile
Chamomile does not just make a soothing tea. It is also a great anti-inflammatory wash for the eyes. Interestingly, this herb can do wonders when it comes to fighting against itches, irritations, allergies and infections.
Make an Eye Wash
(a herbal infusion to directly wash out the eye)
First things first – cleanliness! When making an eyewash make sure everything is squeaky clean since you don’t want to introduce bacteria into the eye. Next, gather your ingredients.
General Eye Wash Recipe – adapted from The Herbal Academy
- 1 tablespoon chamomile flowers
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup of distilled water
- A boiled Glass eyecup
- Boil your eyecup for 5 minutes to sterilize it.
- Steep your chamomile in a covered heat-proof container for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the chamomile out of the tea. (You can use a coffee filter which will help to remove all the little bits of chamomile out of solution. It is vital that you remove all the traces of herb as you DO NOT want this in your eye!)
- Add the pinch of salt and stir well to dissolve.
- Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. Then you may use it in your eyecup to wash out the eyes.
Don’t forget to sterilize the cup between eyes so that you don’t spread germs from one eye to the other. Or use two eyecups, one for each eye.
If you don’t have an eye cup, you can try (with very clean hands) to fill the palm of your hand with the liquid, hold it tightly over your eye and let the liquid swish directly over your eyeball.
Other herbal choices instead of chamomile, or as an addition to it, may include:
- Eyebright; also a great herb for relieving the discomfort of allergenic eyes
- Calendula; a great natural remedy for irritated eyes caused by allergies, dryness, dust, wind and eye strain. It may even aid in conjunctivitis.
Eye Relief Without An Eyecup
An eyecup is not something we all just have lying around, so don’t worry. If you don’t have one or simply do not wish to buy or use an eyecup, you can still get the benefits of a herbal eyewash by making a healing eye compress instead.
Simply prepare the herbal liquid as described above and soak a clean cloth in the herbal liquid. Gently squeeze out any excess liquid and lay the cloth over your eyes for around 5 to 10 minutes and repeat a few times per day.
Don’t store this tea; make a small, fresh batch each day.
No. 3 – Camellia Sinensis
Don’t throw away that tea bag! Tea comes from a specific species of plant known as the Camellia Sinensis. Green, black and white tea are fantastic for eye health, both internally and externally. That’s because they contain antioxidants, tannins and caffeine, all of which help to support eye health naturally.
Placing tea bags on the eyes is a popular home remedy. This little trick may help to reduce dark circles, puffiness and redness around the eyes. Often, this method of using herbs on the eyes is used to help treat irritation, styes, and conjunctivitis.
How to do it
Make a tea using two tea bags and then squeeze out the excess liquid from the bags. Allow the bags to cool down so they’re warm and place them over the eyes as a compress.
Alternatively, chill them in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes and place them over closed eyes for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Do this treatment a few times throughout the day until symptoms disappear.
Optional teas to use include: Black, white and green tea
Optional herbs include: chamomile, rooibos, eyebright, calendula, lavender, fennel
How does it work?
Reduce dark circles and puffiness with teabags by applying cold black or green tea bags to your eyes.
The Camellia Sinensis plant is useful here because it contains antioxidants called flavonoids and tannins that have an anti-inflammatory effect. Interestingly, the tannins help to tighten the skin and thus draw out the fluid. This helps to alleviate the puffiness.
Equally, the caffeine in black and green teas has an effect on puffy, swollen eyes. This too can help to keep skin taut, reduce puffiness and inflammation.
Additionally, the tannins within this plant are also great to use as a natural treatment for styes. Plus it’s antibacterial and pain-relieving properties help to reduce swelling and irritation. These tannins are also a big factor in bringing down a black eye as they help to reduce bruising and swelling.
For dry eyes, use warm tea bags on the eyes to help retain moisture and alleviate dryness. This could be black or green tea, but equally eyebright, or lavender tea work.
Other herbs aside from Camellia Sinensis are also great to use in tea bag form. Puffy or tired eyes love a nice cold chamomile tea bag after a long day.
The soothing properties of tea and herbs can help to relieve many irritations or minor ailments you may be experiencing.
No. 4 – Rose
Rosewater has wonderful anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. This makes it lovely to use when your eyes are tired after a long day at work or staring at your computer screen for too long.
If you have tired, dry, red or irritated eyes, or are suffering from dark circles under the eyes, rose water is a great go-to herb.
How to use rosewater for eyes
- Simply dip two clean cotton balls in rose water and place them on your eyelids for 15 minutes to cool and relax the eyes.
- To help lift puffiness and reduce dark circles apply the dipped cotton balls under eyes.
- Another option is to rinse the eyes with water in which a few drops of rose water have been added to or use rose water as an eye drop. A few drops of rose water a day in an infected eye for 2-3 days may help you treat ailments such as allergic conjunctivitis, as well as ease itching, inflammation and irritation.
However, if your symptoms are severe, such as eye pain, bleeding of the eye or sudden blurry vision, or if you suspect that you have a more serious condition, it is important to consult your optician or GP immediately.
I also advise that you check with the company and the product bottle to make sure the rose water is suitable for using directly in the eye before use. And definitely don’t mix it up with the one you use in baking!
No. 5 – Eye Massage
Although this doesn’t involve herbs, I think it’s worth a mentioning here that eye massage is another great way to look after your eyes. Here’s a link to a website explaining in detail how to do it. This is wonderful for anyone suffering from dry or tired eyes. Especially if you’re somebody that sits in front of a computer for long periods of time, or strains their eyes often. If you are fixated on a specific task, it’s not uncommon to stop blinking!
This eye massage doesn’t take you long, but it does help increase blood circulation to the eye area and release muscle tension.
One last point
If you are suffering from conjunctivitis, note that there are two types; viral and bacterial. Generally, with viral conjunctivitis, your eye is watery with a clear, thin discharge.
With bacterial conjunctivitis, your eye will have a thick, green or yellow discharge. Viral tends to clear up on its own, however, it’s advisable to see a doctor/optician for treatment if it’s bacterial.
Well, that about sums it up for Supporting Eye Health Naturally parts 1-4.
I hope you’ve learnt something new or found something helpful throughout these blog posts to support your eye health from now on and into the future 😊
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
Please be aware that this information is simply a guide to helping you take up some good lifestyle practices to look after your eye.
If you think there is something wrong with your eyes or that you are experiencing symptoms such as eye pain, bleeding of the eye or sudden blurry vision it is important you consult your optician or GP. Equally, always follow their advice. We only have one pair of eyes, so it’s important to look after them!
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.