This month’s featured bulk herb is eyebright, or Euphrasia officinalis. Euphrasia is derived from the Greek “Euphrosyne” (gladness), the name of one of the three graces who was distinguished for her joy and mirth. Eyebright is a small annual member of the figwort family native to Europe but now found around the globe. It’s semi-parasitic, obtaining some of its nutrients from a host plant, and therefore, often wildcrafted due to the difficulty of cultivation.
The use of eyebright dates back centuries, as authors from the 14th century and onward refer to its use to benefit the eyes and sinuses. It has been traditionally used to treat a variety of inflammation-related eye conditions, such as conjunctivitis, as well as respiratory conditions, such as allergies, hay fever, sinusitis, and colds.
The phytonutrients in eyebright have anti-inflammatory and drying properties, which can help reduce inflamed eyes and mucus membranes and provide relief from allergies and colds. Quercetin, one of these phytonutrients, is thought to inhibit the release of histamines, calming the body’s allergic response. Tannins present in eyebright may offer relief from mucus discharge during infections and allergic reactions. The hepatoprotective (liver-protecting) and anti-inflammatory properties of eyebright stem from the presence of an iridoid glycoside (a type of chemical compound mostly found in plants) known as aucubin. Eyebright also contains flavonoids and beta-carotene, which may help strengthen memory.
You can find powdered eyebright in our bulk herbs department. A typical dosage is 1-2 grams of powder up to 3 times per day. You can use the powder to make a tea, tincture, capsules, infused oils, or topical concoctions.
View our full list of bulk herbs, spices, and teas here.