Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)

Traditional Indications

Eyebright is an anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, astringent, digestive, ophthalmic and tonic. Eyebright has a long history of herbal use in the treatment of eye problems and is still in current herbal use. Eyebright tightens the mucous membranes of the eye and appears to relieve the inflammation of conjunctivitis and blepharitis. Its ability to counter catarrh means that it is often used for infectious and allergic conditions affecting the eyes, middle ear, sinuses and nasal passages. It is taken internally in the treatment of catarrh, sinusitis, hay fever, upper respiratory tract infections etc. As an ophthalmic, an infusion of the plant can be taken internally or used as an eyewash. Eyebright is specifically an upper respiratory tract anti-catarrhal. (1)

Eyebright is a medicinal plant traditionally used in Europe for the treatment of various health disorders, especially as eyewash to treat eye ailments such as conjunctivitis and blepharitis that can be associated with bacterial infections. The main constituent followed by thymol (7.97%), myristic acid linalool and anethole showed antimicrobial effect against all organisms tested with the exception of P. aeruginosa. The best activity was observed against all Gram-positive bacteria tested. (2)

An in-vitro study The present study analysing the activity of extracts of Eye bright on cultured human corneal epithelial cells concluded promising effects of the application of Eye bright as a supplementary therapy for eye disorders. (3)

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation induces skin photoaging, which is associated with the elevation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and the impairment of collagen. Euphrasia officinalis ethanol extract could reduce UVB-induced photoaging by alleviating oxidative stress, proinflammatory activity, and cell apoptosis. (4)


1. PFAF. Euphrasia officinalis 2019 [Available from: https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Euphrasia+officinalis.
2. Novy P, Davidova H, Serrano-Rojero CS, Rondevaldova J, Pulkrabek J, Kokoska L. Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Euphrasia rostkoviana Hayne Essential Oil. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2015;2015:734101-.
3. Paduch R, Wo┼║niak A, Niedziela P, Rejdak R. Assessment of eyebright (euphrasia officinalis L.) extract activity in relation to human corneal cells using in vitro tests. Balkan medical journal. 2014;31(1):29-36.
4. Liu Y, Hwang E, Ngo HTT, Perumalsamy H, Kim YJ, Li L, et al. Protective Effects of Euphrasia officinalis Extract against Ultraviolet B-Induced Photoaging in Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts. International journal of molecular sciences. 2018;19(11):3327.