The best herbs for eye health contribute to the proper functioning of the eyes through two mechanisms: locally applied to the eyes, they have an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effect, which is helpful for eye hygiene, and in the case of conjunctivitis or other infectious or inflammatory afflictions of the anterior pole of the eye.
When the herbs for eye health are consumed orally, they supply vitamin A and anthocyanines, which improve visual acuity. Vitamin A is also needed for the proper functioning of the retinal cells, which are sensitive to light processes.
Anthocyanines are substances of a glycosidic nature that give their typical blue color to some flowers and fruits. They have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory action and exert a protective effort on the capillaries, especially the retina. These substances thus improve blood circulation in the retina.
Moreover, anthocyanines favor the production of light-sensitive pigment in the retinal cells. Therefore, herbs containing vitamin A and anthocyanines improve visual acuity and night vision when consumed internally.
Herbs for Eye Health
Top Herbs With Anthocyanines
The bilberry plant has the highest concentration of anthocyanines and has a higher effect on vision. However, other plants may be used as alternatives.
Common Eye Conditions
Conjunctivitis and Blepharitis: The conjunctiva is a delicate membrane that connects the eyeball and inner eyelid. It is usually transparent, but it turns a blood-red color when irritated or inflamed (conjunctivitis).
In most cases, microorganisms produce conjunctivitis (viruses or bacteria) and worsen on being exposed to smoke, dust, polluted water, or excessive light. To strain one’s eyes may also produce irritation or congestion of the conjunctiva.
Phytotherapeutic healing is based on the local application of anti-inflammatory, emollient, and antiseptic herbs. All emollient herbs are highly recommended. In chronic or constant cases, conjunctivitis may be associated with a lack of vitamin A or toxicity due to liver or kidney dysfunctions.
Blepharitis is the technical name for eyelid inflammation. In local application, it is treated with the same herbs as conjunctivitis. It is worth paying attention to the lack of nutrients, especially vitamin A, and trace elements such as iron.
Keratitis: This condition is the inflammation of the cornea, a transparent disc approximately one millimeter thick, which covers the anterior part of the eyeball. Its seriousness depends on the fact that an inflamed cornea may become opaque and make vision more difficult. Apart from specialized treatment, these herbs, as well as those used for conjunctivitis, are recommended.
Sty: Sties are little furuncles that appear on the edge of the eyelids. The treatment aims to make them ripe and open. Herbs recommended for conjunctivitis may also be applied, if possible, in compresses over the eyelids.
Diminished vision: The herbs that protect the retina capillaries, such as the bilberry, or those containing the required vitamin A for light-sensitive cells, may improve visual acuity.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 128, 130. Print. [herbs for eye health]