Euphrasia officinalis is the botanical name of an annual plant commonly called eyebright. It has many alternate names including meadow eyebright, euphrasia, red eyebright, ögontröst in Swedish, eufrasia in Spanish, augentrostkraut in German, augnfró in Icelandic and casse-lunettes in French. The plant was a native to Europe but is today grown all around the world. Eyebright grows up to fifteen centimeters tall. It is semi parasitic or parasitic since it clings on to the roots of host plants to extract nutrition. The plant has square stems and serrated green leaves. The blooming period of the plant is July through September. The plant has flowers, usually purple and white with stripes and spots. The aerial parts of Euphrasia officinalis are used for a plethora of medicinal purposes.
Eyebright has tannins, carbohydrates, alkaloids, phenolic acids, sterols, iridoid glycosides such as loganin, verbenalin and aucubin, amino acids, flavonoids, vitamins and essential oils. While the extract is used in many natural skin care products, it has traditionally been used to cure bloodshot eyes and other irritations. The use of this extract to cure eye irritations dates back to the Middle Ages. There are records from the eleventh century of the herbal extract being a remedy for eye diseases. The extract is also consumed in the form of herbal tea. The herbal tea is considered effective at providing relief from sinusitis, inflammations, respiratory problems, mucous buildup and rhinitis.
Eyebright extract is widely used in organic skin care products because of its antibacterial, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. The components of the extract also have a therapeutic effect when the extract is consumed as a tea or even when applied topically. The topical application has only a regional or immediate calming effect and not on the entire body. There are no known side effects of the extract, either when it is used topically or when consumed as a tea. However, moderation is recommended.
In recent years, companies manufacturing natural skin care products around the world have endorsed the use of Euphrasia officinalis extract for its effect on dark circles, puffiness under the eyes and other facial signs of ageing. The extract is presently used in various creams, lotions, gels and even in exfoliating creams. The extract can provide relief from acne and even cure irritated or inflamed skin. The extract is particularly effective on oily skin. It has a tightening effect which is really desirable as losing the natural elasticity of the skin is one of the first adverse effects of ageing.