Eyebright-Bayberry Eye Wash
I was skeptical about using an herbal eye wash. Frankly, the thought of putting herbs in my eyes was uncomfortable. At first glance, it seemed like getting sand kicked in your eyes would be more pleasant. On the other hand, Mr. Joybilee has glaucoma and drops chemicals in his eyes daily. Perhaps organic herbs would be more pleasant than chemicals.
I came across an herbal eye formula while I was researching Bayberry. The herbalist John Christopher had a bayberry – eyebright formula for eye troubles. I made up a batch for home use but I hesitated to tell you about it right away. What if it doesn’t work? I needed to test it for a couple months before I shared it.
Mr. Joybilee has used the eyebright formula for about 2 months now. He has seen an improvement in his vision. Anecdotal though that is, it’s worth telling you about, in case you wanted to try this herbal eye wash recipe from “Dr. Christopher”.
Note that herbalist John Christopher was not a medical doctor nor did he have any advanced degrees. His clients nicknamed him “Dr. Christopher” because they found healing in his recommendations.
Dr. Christopher’s Eye Bright Formula is known to clear the eyes, removing mucus, and brightening vision, while it increases the circulation to the eyes. There are testimonials of the healing of cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye problems.
This eyebright formula contains just 5 herbs, chosen for their antimicrobial and stimulating actions on the eye tissues. These herbs cleanse, nourish, and rebuild the eyes. It’s important to use the formula regularly for best effect, using it as an eye wash and a tea.
In Mr. Joybilee’s case, his low blood pressure was robbing his eyes of normal blood circulation. After using the formula for only a week, he noticed that things he had trouble seeing before were suddenly clear, reading was easier, and he didn’t need to squint to read the small print. We won’t know if it is helping his glaucoma though, until he sees his specialist again in the fall. In the meantime he’s continuing with the prescription eye drops and using this eye wash once a day.
5 herbs for vision health
John Christopher’s Eyebright Formula contains several herbs, each with a different purpose.
Eyebright herb (Euphrasia officinalis) has been used to heal eye problems since Dioscorides used it for eye problems when he treated soldiers in the Roman Legion. Eyebright is first and foremost an eye tonic. It is anti-inflammatory and astringent, toning the tissue of the eye and relieving pain and irritation. It has been used as an eyewash to treat pink eye, blood shot eyes, conjunctivitis and other inflammatory conditions of the eyes. It is disinfectant. It strengthens weakened and strained eyes. Eyebright was shown in laboratory studies to have significant antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activity, when used topically and when taken orally.
Bayberry root bark (Myrica pensylvanica, Myrica cerifera) is astringent, drying of mucus membranes. It is antiviral, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, stimulant, and encourages the growth of new, healthy eye tissue.
Red raspberry leaf is the most nutritious part of the raspberry plant. The leaves contain calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, and vitamins A, B, C and E. It is tonic, astringent, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and encourages the growth of new, healthy eye tissue, while it nourishes.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) contains berberine and is strongly antimicrobial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and astringent. It is used in this formula to kill infections and reduce inflammation.
Cayenne powder (Capsicum annuum) is the fruit of the hot pepper plant. It increases circulation and acts as a catalyst for other herbs. Cayenne powder stimulates the eye tissue and increase the circulation to them. The cayenne powder causes this eye wash to sting and burn a bit. It is uncomfortable at first. You do get used to it after a while. If you have very sensitive eyes you can leave it out of the recipe.
Because the herbal formula is used as an eye wash I made them into tea bags for ease of use. The tea bags filter out most of the solid herb particles, to keep them out of the eye.
Eyebright Herbal Eye Wash
Yield: 60 doses (made into tea bags of 1 tsp. each)
- 1/3 cup eyebright herb
- 1/3 cup bayberry bark
- 1/3 cup red raspberry leaf
- 1/3 cup goldenseal, powdered
- 2 tsp. cayenne, powdered (optional, see note above.)
- 60 small heat-seal tea bags
- 2 glass eye cups
- Mix all the herbs together in a medium bowl. Mix them together thoroughly using a wire whisk, being careful to keep the powders in the bowl.
- Preheat a steam iron to the cotton setting.
- Using a teaspoon measure fill each tea bag with one teaspoon of the eye wash herbs. Iron the open edge of the tea bag with the iron. This will seal the tea bag closed. Check the seal on the tea bag to ensure that it is fully closed before setting it aside.
- Repeat until all of the herbal mixture has been transferred to the tea bags.
- Keep the eye wash tea bags in a closed glass jar.
- Place an herbal eye wash tea bag in a heat proof mug. Pour boiling water over the tea bag. Cover the mug with a lid. Allow this to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bag. Allow the eye wash to cool to room temperature before using. Do not use this eye wash until it has cooled to room temperature.
- Fill a sanitized glass eye cup half full of the eye wash. Place the eye cup over the eye and tilt the head backward, so that the eye wash covers the eye. Blink several times as if swimming under water. Try to keep the eye wash over the eye for one minute. Empty the eye cup. Repeat on the second eye using a clean eye cup. Use this eye wash once a day in both eyes.
The cayenne may cause a slight burning sensation on the eye in sensitive individuals. John Christopher told his clients, “You will notice a slight burning sensation when you first apply the tea. This results from the cayenne in the combination. Do not be alarmed for this is a perfectly normal reaction and is harmless.” Your eyes will get used to the burning sensation and it will become easier to wash your eyes with the herbal formula with time. If you are very sensitive, you can make the eye wash without the cayenne. I used the cayenne in my own tea bags because the increase in circulation that it offers was important in our circumstances, and worth the mild discomfort.
When you are finished using the eye wash, the remaining eye wash can be drunk like a cooled tea. Internal use of the eye wash is also helpful for the eyes.
Making vision health tea
The eyebright tea bags can also be used to make tea. The formula is effective both internally and topically. Make the tea in the same way you would make the eye wash, by steeping the tea bag in a covered mug for 15 minutes. The tea can be drunk hot or cold.
More herbal remedies for vision health
Where to buy the herbs and tea bags?
I bought the herbs I used in this recipe from Mountain Rose Herbs, Amazon, and Starwest Botanicals.
Pavel Novy, Hana Davidova, Cecilia Suqued Serrano-Rojero, Johana Rondevaldova, Josef Pulkrabek, and Ladislav Kokoska, “Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Euphrasia rostkoviana Hayne Essential Oil,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 734101, 5 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/734101 http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/734101