Eyebright – Euphrasia Officinalis
Eyebright is a medicinal herb native to Europe and now found in many countries around the world.
The beautiful flowers can be either white or purple-veined tickled with yellow. The flowers may be striped or spotted. The lower lips of the flower have three loops and the throat of the flower is yellow.
Eyebright grows in grassland. It is very tolerant to different soils. Eyebright is an annual herb. The seeds are spread around the host plants. Eyebright has an upright stem and is from 5 – 10 cm (2 -12 in) tall.
As an herb the whole plant above the root is used. Eyebright is harvested during the flowering season from July to September. The eyebright is dried and most often used to make tea.
Eyebright is recommended by many herbalists to help treat sore and running eyes. In our time and age more and more people are experiencing tired and sore eyes as they spend hours daily gazing at a computer screen.
Drinking eyebright tea daily might very well assist your eyes to cope with the computer age. Eyebright is used as a remedy for red or strained eyes.
Eyebright has been used for centuries to improve and preserve eyesight.
Eyebright is also used by people suffering from hay fever.
Eyebright tea is helpful for the respiratory system. It helps relieve irritation in the throat and chest. It is often recommended for people who experience discomfort because they have inhaled smoke.
Eyebright used externally as eyewash can be used both on humans as well as pets. It is of utmost importance that eyebright used as eyewash is produced under strictly sterile conditions.
Eyebright tea is enjoyed by many who claim it lifts the spirits and clears the mind. It is said to improve memory and concentration.
In the Doctrine of Signatures eyebright was recorded as a medicinal herb to treat problems of the eye: “the purple and yellow spots and stripes which are upon the flowers of the eyebright doth very much resemble the diseases of the eye, as bloodshot and so on. By which signature it hath been found out that this herb is effective for curing the same.”
The Doctrine of the Signatures is a philosophy conveying that God had marked useful plants with signs that resembled certain body parts and in that way gave humans a clue for the medicinal benefits of the herbs.
Mankind needed to study God’s “signature” to understand how to benefit from herbs, vegetables and fruits. It became widely known during the 17th century.
Scientists today do not support the Doctrine of Signatures.
Eyebright’s official name is Euphrasia. Euphrasia is derived from the name “Euphrosyne”.
Euphrosyne was one of the three Graces in Roman mythology. The three Graces were followers of the goddess of love named Venus. The three Graces were known for their beauty and they were responsible for handing out the gift of physical beauty to humans they themselves chose.
One legend tells the story that Euphrosyne received the eyebright flower and then gave it to the humans so that mankind could preserve their eyesight and enjoy all the splendors of the world.
In Greek mythology they were known as the three Charities and were followers of the goddess Aphrodite. Aphrodite was the equivalent of Venus.
In Greek/Roman mythology the three Charities/Graces are named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia.