Eyebright Fights Microbes and Inflammation

eyebrightEuropean researchers have been looking at what makes eyebright tick and why it has long been regarded in traditional folk medicine as a helpful herb for eye conditions.  Turns out that eyebright supports more than eye health.  Wikipedia describes eyebright as having  possible benefits not only for blepharitis and conjunctivitis, but for eye strain, colds and sinus infections, allergies and hay fever and sore throats and coughs.

Anti-Microbial Action

Eyebright has anti-microbial action and is more effective in concentrations of at least 512 micrograms per milliliter against a number of nasty microbes associated with eye infections.

Eyebright has been found to be more effective against these gram-positive microbes.

  • Enterococcus faecalis:  This microbe is now resistant to some drugs and is commonly found in root canal extractions.  Especially in a hospital setting, it can cause UTI, meningitis, heart infections, and bacteria in the blood.
  • Staphylococcus aureus:  This microbe is found on the skin and in the respiratory system.  It’s the most common genus in staph infections.  It can cause everything from skin infections, like pimples to pneumonia, meningitis, toxic shock, wound infections and much more.
  • S. epidermidis:  It is normally found on the skin and like other microbes, a problem for those with weak immune systems.  It readily grows on medical implants.
  • Candida albicans: It  frequently grows as a yeast and causes a variety of oral and genital infections. It takes on a more invasive filament-like cell form under some conditions.

Eyebright has a more limited effectiveness against these gram-negative microbes.

  • Escherichia coli – gram-negative microbe, some strains (such as flora in your digestive system) are harmless; others cause gastroenteritis, UTI, meningitis, and damage to the intestinal system.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae – gram-negative microbe, found naturally in the mouth and soil, but some strains can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, UTI, wound infection and more.

Complex Makeup

Researchers found that eyebright is comprised of more than 70 constituents.

  • N-hexadecanoic acid (18.47%), also known as palmitic acid is a fatty acid, which, combined with vitamin A  is an anti-oxidant.
  • Thymol (7.97%), found in oil of thyme, is a natural and strong anti-microbial agent.  It can help reduce the resistance of bacteria to prescription drugs such as penicillin.  It also has powerful antioxidant properties and is an effective fungicide (i.e., helpful against Candida).
  • Myristic acid (4.71%) is another common fatty acid, named after the nutmeg.
  • Linalool (4.65%) is an alcohol-type chemical noted for its presence in scented herbs and widely used in commercial applications.  Japanese researchers report that inhaling this odor reduces stress in lab animals.
  • Anethole (4.09%) is another aromatic compound which is a powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal agent effective against many types of bacteria, yeast and fungi.

Eyebright is one of the important ingredients of Dr. Grossman’s Advanced Eye  and Vision Support Formula which is part of our good eye health protocol, and Revision Formula, and Women’s Tear Stimulation Dry Eye Homeopathic Eyedrops.

Learn more about eye conditions that for which eyebright has been considered helpful: blepharitis, eye infections, conjuntivitis, and styes.

References:   Assessment of eyebright, Composition & Antimicrobial Activity of Euphrasia, Wikipedia

 

This entry was posted in Blepharitis, Conjunctivitis (pink eye), Dry Eyes, Eye Infection, Eye Styes, Eyebright (Euphrasia) on by .

About Marc_Grossman

Marc Grossman, Doctor of Optometry and New York State Licensed Acupuncturist, is a holistic eye doctor and co-author of a number of books on natural vision care. Since 1980 Dr. Grossman has been helped many people maintain healthy vision and even improve eyesight. He is dedicated to providing information to those with conditions ranging from myopia and dry eyes to potentially vision threatening diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. His combined multi-disciplinary approach using nutrition, eye exercises, lifestyle changes and Chinese Medicine provides him with a wide array of tools and approaches with which to tackle difficult eye problems.