What is Euphrasia Officinalis? | Benefits & Uses
One in five Americans have allergies. There are prescription and over-the-counter medications, but they can have side effects, especially when combined with other medication. The good news is, natural medicine offers us other choices such as supplements, botanical medicine, and lifestyle modifications that can help.
One herbal supplement that can be particularly useful? Euphrasia offcinalis. Keep reading for all the details on what Euphrasia officinalis is and how it works.
What Is Euphrasia Officinalis?
Euphrasia officinalis, also referred to as Eyebright, is a wild European plant commonly used as an all-natural remedy for allergies. It’s specifically known for targeting nasal discharge and watery eyes.
Background on Euphrasia Officinalis
Euphrasia officinalis’ stems, leaves, and flowers are used in tea and dietary supplements and have been used in traditional herbal medicine for centuries in Europe.
The herbal plant carries several beneficial flavonoids such as luteolin and quercetin. These flavonoids help prevent your immune cells from releasing histamine—a chemical compound that triggers allergy symptoms like a runny nose and watery eyes.
What Is Euphrasia Officinalis Used For?
Supporting the body when it responds to allergies is important. Euphrasia officinalis carries chemical compounds that can help your body fight off the irritating symptoms allergies bring.
Nasal & Eye Discharge
Euphrasia officinalis has long been used in botanical medicine for its astringent and drying effect on the eyes and mucus membranes, which can be red and inflamed during seasonal allergies. The key indications are profuse watery discharge from the eyes and nose.
In an uncontrolled study that involved individuals suffering from catarrhal conjunctivitis, over 98 percent of those that took Euphrasia officinalis experienced improvement or complete recovery from their allergies.
Euphrasia officinalis’ uses include eye, nasal and respiratory support. The aerial parts (dried), gathered in late summer while in bloom are the parts used.
The chemistry of Euphrasia officinalis includes:
- Iridoid glycosides (aucuboside, aucubin, are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial)
- Flavonoids (rutin, quercetin, apigenin glycosides)
- Tannin (mild), acrid bitter principle, volatile oil, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, sterols, choline, fixed oils, fatty acids, vitamin C, and beta-carotene
Eyebright has been occasionally used for skin problems, especially hives. A recent 2018 study in the Journal of Molecular Sciences expands on the use of Euphrasia tincture in skin problems.
The study Protective called, “Effects of Euphrasia ofﬁcinalis Extract against Ultraviolet B-Induced Photoaging in Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts”, the authors investigated the protective effect of Euphrasia ofﬁcinalis (95% ethanol extract) on UVB-irradiated photoaging in normal human dermal ﬁbroblasts.
Their abstract states:
“The results show that Euphrasia ofﬁcinalis extract exhibited obvious reactive oxygen species (ROS) and 2,20-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radical scavenging activity, enhanced NHDF cell migration, and reduced UVB-induced apoptosis. The UVB-induced increases in MMP-1 and MMP-3 and decrease in type I procollagen were ameliorated by Euphrasia ofﬁcinalis treatment, which worked by suppressing the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and nuclear transcription factor activator protein 1 (AP-1) signaling pathways. Taken together, our data strongly suggest that Euphrasia ofﬁcinalis ethanol extract could reduce UVB-induced photoaging by alleviating oxidative stress, pro-inﬂammatory activity, and cell apoptosis.”
The study used human cell cultures and ethanol extract of Euphrasia officinalis plant. It is surprising that it showed strong antioxidant effects that prevented skin aging and promoted the expression of new type 1collagen by mRNA promotion. The study is interesting and gives us a new understanding about the complexity of action that a traditional anti-allergenic herb, Euphrasia officinalis may have on skin and photo aging.
Why Is Euphrasia Officinalis Important?
Euphrasia officinalis is critical today, because we’re in for much more severe allergy symptoms and exposure to allergens.
Research shows changes in global warming are leading to more severe seasonal allergies:
- A report by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) found that unchecked global warming will increase respiratory allergies, which can increase the frequency of asthma attacks. Though CO2 is a boon for plants that use it as food, CO2 is harmful for humans. The NWF study went on to say that increasing CO2 levels in the air is linked to an increase in pollen.
- In a similar warning, the Union of Concerned Scientists released a study stating, “A changing climate worsens allergy symptoms.” Rising temperatures extend the growing season and the duration of allergy season, and an extended spring season alters the amounts of blooms and fungal spores that are known to exacerbate allergy symptoms.
How Do You Use Euphrasia Officinalis?
Euphrasia officinalis can be used orally via a tea or tinctures and topically via compresses to the eyes and face. Wise Woman Herbals proudly offers Euphrasia spp. liquid extracts. Add 20 to 60 drops to water and consume by mouth one to four times a day.
Learn more about how to take liquid herbal extracts here.
Does Eyebright Have Any Side Effects?
Eyebright is relatively safe when taken with foods, but may cause side effects when taken with other medications. Some of these side effects might include:
- Tooth pain
- Trouble breathing
- Eye redness or swelling
Overall, botanicals have long had a role in helping support the symptoms of allergies. Herbal anti-inflammatories are often able to provide an effective anti-inflammatory effect without the negative side-effects associated with the pharmaceutical steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Since every person has different health conditions, we recommend speaking to a trusted physician prior to taking new supplements.
Herbs like turmeric, ginger, and Feverfew can help stabilize the mast cell response and prevent degranulation before it occurs. This can be a better approach than trying to inhibit the enzymes after the arachidonic acid has been released.
In general, the following approach can be helpful:
- Supportive symptom management, using appropriate herbal medicines
- Decongestants, tissue restoratives, mucolytics
- Mast cell stabilization, using anti-inflammatories
- Adrenal support
- Modification of the underlying contributing factors by avoiding offending foods, pollens, or animal dander
- Increasing Immune support
- Enhancing stress management
- Cleansing and detoxification methods
Combat Allergies with Eyebright Liquid Extract
If you’re looking for an all-natural solution to your allergies, check out Wise Woman Herbals’ Eyebright (Euphrasia spp.) liquid extract. This herbal supplement can help support your immune and respiratory system.
Our team prioritizes freshness, safety, and potency to ensure our herbal extracts can be a wise selection for your health and wellness plan.