This morning, just as I was surfacing from sleep, I heard an article on the BBC Radio about a gentleman who had received ground breaking gene treatment to the back of his eye which appears to have significantly assisted his recovery from a rare eye disorder. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25718064)
My first reaction was “Wow! How amazing!”. My second reaction was “I would NOT want to be on the business end of that needle” (yes, I am a profound needle-phobe!) and my third reaction was wondering about what the long term implications of that kind of therapy might be. However, that might be the theme of a future blog post.
As this treatment was used to treat a rare genetic condition, I would not claim Herbalism could help cure it. But what Herbalism can help with is the function of the eyes generally. Eyes are important. You only have 1 pair of them, so what can you do to help keep your ocular function tip top?
Isn’t it strange? Clinical trials recently have found that the given folk wisdom about eating carrots to help eyesight is actually true. You see, Mother is ALWAYS right!
You should also maintain your hydration and eat a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. If you are looking for health supplements, then you need one which has a combination of selenium, Vitamin C and E and beta carotene.
Other herbal remedies to improve vision include herbs which strengthen the small capillaries around the eyes and indeed increase the circulation to them. Bilberry is widely used, as is Gingko Biloba, also known as Ginseng. In fact, gingko is the herb of choice for natural treatment of conditions like peripheral vascular insufficiency and macular degeneration.
I can’t write about herbal treatments for the eyes without mentioning Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis). It can be used internally or externally in all eye problems and will help the eyeball and the surrounding tissue. It is particularly efficacious when treating styes, conjunctivitis or other inflammation of the eyelids. When dealing with these sorts of inflammation, it is usually best to use internal and external treatment.
Internally, the remedy should be antimicrobial which will help to detoxify and tone the whole body which will help get rid of the infection. Youcould make up a tea using equal measures of Blue Flag, Cleavers, Echinacea, Eye bright and Pokeweed Root. A cup of this, drunk three times per day should really help. Additionally, you could make eyewash or a compress with Eyebright. One tablespoon of the dried herb in 1 pint of water, boiled for 10 minutes and then cooled, can be either sluiced around the eye, or put onto a cotton wool pad and placed on the eye for 15 minutes. It should be repeated several times per day.
To be honest, the best way of ensuring good eye health is to have regular optician appointments. I have had to wear glasses since I was 8 years old, and I have heard many stories about people going to the optician and being sent directly to the hospital when the optician has found something suspect. If you are given a prescription for glasses (or contact lenses) then wear them. It is so important.
Have you got any family cures for eye strain or other eye conditions?