Last updated: August 6, 2021

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Eyebright is a plant that is often used for eye diseases, colds and as an anti-inflammatory. If you are still not sure whether eyebright is the right choice for you and how it works, you can find the answer here. We also show you what scientific findings there already are on eyebright and what you need to bear in mind when buying it.

In our eyebright test 2021 we explain everything you need to know about eyebright. We have compiled all the necessary information about the healing effect of eyebright and how you can recognise it in nature.




The most important facts

  • The healing effect of eyebright as an anti-inflammatory, eye remedy and cold reliever has not been scientifically proven beyond doubt. Some studies showed that eyebright eye drops can have a soothing effect on irritated eyes.
  • Eyebright is available as a tea or infusion, in the form of capsules, eye drops and ointments. Eyebright as a tea can taste bitter. When using eyebright eye drops, contact lenses should be removed beforehand.
  • Eyebright is a summer herb. You can find it in some meadows and fields, especially in the foothills of the Alps. If you want to pick eyebright yourself, make sure you clean it thoroughly before using it, otherwise you risk infection.

The Best Eyebright: Our Picks

Buying and evaluation criteria for eyebright products

Depending on what you want to use eyebright for, a different product is recommended. When buying eyebright, you should therefore pay attention to various aspects, which we have listed here.

If you choose the right product for you, you can save money and give your body exactly what it needs. We recommend that you pay particular attention to quality, dosage and ingredients in case you are allergic to any of them.

Internal versus external use

Depending on the application you choose, there are different dosage forms. The best product for your needs depends on what you need the eyebright product for. Eyebright products are therefore divided into products for internal and external use.

For internal use, you can choose between teas, capsules and tablets with eyebright. For colds or allergic reactions, eyebright products for oral use can help.

If you are looking for a product for external use, you can choose between ointments, creams, drops, tinctures and more. These are often a good solution for eye and skin problems, when eyebright should be applied directly to the affected area.

Dosage

Dosages range from 0.05% eyebright tincture to 5% eyebright tincture content in the product. Some manufacturers dilute the eyebright content from D3 up to D6. In the case of eye drops in particular, water or salt solutions are also added so that the product is better distributed in the eye. Depending on the dosage of eyebright, you may need to use the product more often.

The tolerability of the product can also depend on how high the eyebright content is and which additives the manufacturers have added. The package size also determines how long the product will last. If you only need a small amount of eyebright, a smaller pack size or a product with several small ampoules is recommended. If you are unsure of the correct dosage for your problem, consult a doctor or pharmacist.

Tolerance for adults / children / animals

Eyebright products are often safe for adults in small amounts. However, you should check the package leaflet to see if a product is suitable for you. Some eyebright products are not suitable for contact lens wearers, for example, or should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. Because it is often well tolerated, there are also some eyebright products for children and animals.

However, before using them on children, make sure that the product is suitable for children and that the child does not develop an allergic reaction to eyebright. Products for dogs, cats and even horses can usually be purchased without a prescription. For animals, there are mainly eyebright eye drops that are supposed to help with dry eyes, glaucoma and more. Although good results have already been achieved with eyebright in veterinary medicine, not every product is also suitable for animals. When buying, therefore, make sure that the product is specifically labelled for use on animals.

Combination with other additives

Some eyebright products are combined by manufacturers with other medicinal herbs or other additives. For example, calendula (marigold) is often combined with eyebright, which is said to be particularly helpful in the treatment of wounds.

Some manufacturers also use hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid is found in the connective tissue of the body and occurs naturally in the vitreous body of the eye. This is supposed to make the product better absorbed by the body and the active ingredient from the eyebright better distributed. Alternatively, manufacturers offer eyebright products with liposomal additives. Liposomes are small vesicles that can transport an active ingredient inside them. The membrane of the liposomes often consists of phospholipids, which are found in the body's own cell membranes. Active substances can thus be absorbed more easily by the body.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about eyebright answered in detail

In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of eyebright and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.

What is eyebright?

Eyebright is a plant from the summer herb family. The Latin name of the plant is Euphrasia officinalis. It has been used as a medicinal plant for eye problems since the Middle Ages. (1) The plant originates from Europe, but later also came to America and Asia.
Did you know that eyebright has been used as a remedy since the 13th century? The plant was mainly used as an eye remedy. Eyebright was processed in compresses, as teas and wine was also brewed from it. (1, 2)

Eyebright has small, white flowers with purple veins and a yellow dot on the lower, spreading petals. It grows 5 to 25 centimetres tall, with ovate, toothed leaves. Depending on when the plant flowers, however, it looks different - for example, summer and autumn plants differ.

How does eyebright work?

Eyebright contains several active ingredients, including aucubin, euphroside and catalpol. Other active ingredients are:

  • Iridoiglycosides
  • Tannins
  • Phenolic carboxylic acids(3)

Which of the active ingredients is responsible for the positive effect of eyebright on eye diseases has not yet been scientifically proven.

Augentrost

Tea and infusions made from eyebright are prepared with one tablespoon of eyebright herb, which is poured over half a litre of boiling water and left to steep for ten minutes. (Image source: Drew Jemmett / unsplash)

Eyebright is also often used in homeopathy and as a food additive. (4) Eyebright is considered to be well tolerated, which is why internal use in the form of tea or capsules is usually safe. Some experts are critical of external use, as hygienic application and correct cleaning of the plant are not always given.(5)

When is the use of eyebright useful?

Eyebright has many areas of application for which it can be used.

Anti-inflammatory

Eyebright is especially recommended for inflammations in the eye. In a scientific study, it was found that eyebright ethanol and ethyl extracts can help in the treatment of eye diseases.(6) However, as the study was conducted in vitro, i.e. not on patients directly, these results need to be further verified.

Wound healing

One study investigated the effect of eyebright on the protection of eye cells. It was found that the eye drops investigated were able to protect the eyes from cell death caused by UVB radiation and improved wound healing. However, since the eye drops examined contained both chamomile and eyebright extract, it cannot be confirmed beyond doubt that eyebright is responsible for the positive effect.(7)

Augentrost

Eyebright is often offered in ointment or gel form for improved wound healing and eye problems.(Image source: Pezibaer / pixabay)

In another study, eye drops with eyebright were used on newborns who had eye discharge, with partial success. The study concluded that eyebright should not be used alone for treatment, but can alleviate symptoms such as watery or irritated eyes.(8)

Improving the appearance of the skin

Euphrasia officinalis also has a reputation in the medical world for improving the appearance of the skin. For example, eyebright can be used to reduce the skin's exposure to UVB radiation and thus reduce skin ageing.(9) In addition, eyebright can help with pimples and acne due to its anti-inflammatory effect. How high the protective factor of eyebright is, however, still has to be scientifically investigated in more detail.

Colds and allergies

Traditionally, eyebright can also be administered for colds and inflammations of the respiratory tract, as eyebright can have an anti-inflammatory effect.(10) Whether eyebright actually has a soothing effect, however, still needs to be scientifically investigated in more detail and proven in further studies.

What types of eyebright products are there?

Eyebright products come in different forms and varieties. Depending on whether you need them for internal or external use, different varieties are recommended. We have listed the advantages and disadvantages of the different eyebright products here.

Dried plants / tea

You can prepare both a tea and an infusion from the dried herbs. Eyebright tea is intended for internal use, infusions for external use.

Advantages
  • helps with colds, gastrointestinal complaints and inflammations
  • easy to prepare
  • comparatively cheap
Disadvantages
  • often tastes bitter
  • care must be taken with infusions and compresses

You can also make compresses from the tea and hold them over your eyes. You have to be careful not to get the tea in your eye, otherwise it can get infected. Hygiene is very important and should not be neglected.

Capsules

Eyebright capsules are for internal use.

Advantages
  • alleviate inflammation symptoms
  • help with gastrointestinal complaints
  • help with cold symptoms
  • usually well tolerated
Disadvantages
  • Effect not proven
  • expensive compared to alternatives

Capsules are taken with some water or other liquid to help them pass into the digestive tract.

Eye drops / spray

Eye drops and spray with eyebright extract are used for external application for eye problems.

Advantages
  • easy to use
  • helps with glaucoma, conjunctivitis, dry eyes
  • also often suitable for animals and children
Disadvantages
  • incorrect storage/application causes inflammation
  • additives can trigger allergic reactions
  • effect not proven

Eyebright sprays are sprayed onto the face with the eyes closed. Eye drops are usually dripped directly into the crease of the eyelid at the lacrimal sac.

Ointment / gel

Ointments and gels are suitable for external use in wound healing and for dry skin.

Advantages
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • supports wound healing
  • supports skin regeneration
Disadvantages
  • incorrect storage / application causes inflammation
  • additives can trigger allergic reactions
  • effect not proven

Since the effect of eyebright has not yet been fully researched, you should make sure that you follow the package instructions and your doctor's recommendations exactly when using eyebright products. Otherwise, unforeseen side effects may occur.

What do I need to be aware of when using eyebright?

Eyebright products are well tolerated by most people as long as they are taken in appropriate doses. For eye drops, for example, one drop per eye three times a day is often recommended.(11) However, the dosage depends on the product, so you should always read the package insert carefully and seek professional advice in case of emergency.
Contact lenses should be removed before using eye drops.

If you wear contact lenses, you should remove them before using eye drops. Otherwise, the product will not be able to distribute properly in your eye and irritation may occur. In some cases, contact lenses may also become deformed or discoloured.

When using eyebright products for animals, you should make sure that the product is explicitly labelled for use on animals.

Although the use of eyebright on animals is usually safe (12), some eyebright products for humans may contain additives that can be harmful to animals.

Augentrost

Eyebright products can help animals with crusty eyes, conjunctivitis and other ailments. (Image source: Honest Paws / unsplash)

Since eyebright has been little researched as a remedy, you should consult your doctor if you have any known pre-existing conditions or health restrictions. You should also be careful if you are already taking other medications, as eyebright may react to them.

How much do eyebright products cost?

Eyebright products are usually available without a prescription. The price of the products depends on the size of the products and the concentration of eyebright.
Type Price range
Eye drops or spray Approx. 6 to 20 €
Tea / Herbs Circa 4 to 30 €
Gel / Ointment / Cream Circa 7 to 15 €
Capsules Circa 20 to 30 €

Most eyebright products cost around €50-60 per 100 grams or millilitres. Exceptions are teas and herbal mixtures, which you can buy for a little less, as the eyebright is usually not additionally processed.

What side effects can eyebright cause?

Side effects of eyebright products are not known so far. However, there is not enough clinical data to use eyebright safely. In the case of children, elderly people, known pre-existing conditions and in the case of pregnancy, a doctor should first be asked for advice. So far, there are hardly any scientific studies on eyebright overdoses and what effects they can have. Overdose symptoms have therefore not yet been documented. Nevertheless, we advise you not to exceed the amount stated on the package and to follow your doctor's instructions.

What are the alternatives to eyebright?

There are several alternatives to eyebright, depending on what it is used for. For example, you can use magnesium or arnica as an alternative for certain applications. The following table will give you an overview of the different alternatives to eyebright.
Indication Alternative
Anti-inflammatory Foods such as lemons, onions, garlic and products with magnesium can have an anti-inflammatory effect. Other anti-inflammatory foods include grains like amaranth and millet or plants like spinach and broccoli. (13)
Wound healing products with arnica or calendula can support the wound healing process. (14, 15) It is important that arnica and calendula are not rubbed directly into an open wound.
Improving the skin's appearance products with salicylic acid applied directly to the skin for acne dry out pimples (16) Drying out the skin makes it look more even, but excessive use can dry out the skin.
cold Echinacea (17) and Zinc (18) have shown good results in clinical trials in the treatment of colds. Echinacea is therefore used in some cough medications.

Inform yourself in detail in advance about the properties of a product and which active ingredients are used.

Can I collect / grow and prepare eyebright myself?

Yes! Eyebright seeds can be bought in specialist plant shops, as can plants that have already been grown. You can also find eyebright in some meadows and pastures. You can find it especially in the foothills of the Alps.

Augentrost

Eyebright grows mainly on poor soils, such as those found in the mountains. (Image source: Angelo Burgener / unsplash)

If you are looking for eyebright yourself, do not collect plants that grow near fertilised fields or near roads. The plants can accumulate pollutants to which your body can react negatively. Also, be sure to harvest only healthy-looking plants without bugs or leaf rot.

Usually, only the above-ground parts of the plants are processed for their healing properties. Also make sure that you clean the plants thoroughly before preparing them. This is especially important if you use them externally, for example as a compress on the eye. If the plants are not clean enough, you will contaminate your eye and it can become inflamed.

Image source: Whiskybottle / 123rf

References (18)

1. Willem F. Daems † (gemeinsam mit Mientje Daems und Gundolf Keil): Euphrasia. Beiträge zur mittelalterlichen Pharmakologie des Augentrosts und der Erdbeere. In: Würzburger medizinhistorische Mitteilungen. Band 14, 1996, S. 253–260.

2. Pseudo-Arnaldus de Villanova. 13.-14. Jh: Der Tractat … von Bewarung und Beraitung der Wein … Druck. Esslingen nach 1478: Mitteilungen. Band 14, 1996, S. 253–260.
Source

3. Wszelaki, Natalia; Melzig, Matthias F.: Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie 2011; 32(1): 40-46; DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1262418 Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

4. European Medicines Agency (2010): Assessment report on Euphrasia officinalis L. and Euphrasia rostkoviana Hayne, herba (PDF). Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

5. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. In: PDR for Herbal Medicines, Medical Economics Company, Inc, New Jersey 2007, 844–845.

6. Paduch R, Woźniak A, Niedziela P, Rejdak R. Assessment of eyebright (euphrasia officinalis L.) extract activity in relation to human corneal cells using in vitro tests. Balkan Med J. 2014 Mar;31(1):29-36. doi: 10.5152/balkanmedj.2014.8377. Epub 2014 Mar 1. PMID: 25207164; PMCID: PMC4115993. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

7. Bigagli E, Cinci L, D'Ambrosio M, Luceri C. Pharmacological activities of an eye drop containing Matricaria chamomilla and Euphrasia officinalis extracts in UVB-induced oxidative stress and inflammation of human corneal cells. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2017 Aug;173:618-625. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2017.06.031. Epub 2017 Jun 24. PMID: 28704790. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

8. Meier-Girard D, Gerstenberg G, Stoffel L, et al. Euphrasia Eye Drops in Preterm Neonates With Ocular Discharge: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. Front Pediatr. 2020;8:449. Published 2020 Aug 11. doi:10.3389/fped.2020.00449. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

9. Liu Y, Hwang E, Ngo HTT, Perumalsamy H, Kim YJ, Li L, Yi TH. Protective Effects of Euphrasia officinalis Extract against Ultraviolet B-Induced Photoaging in Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Oct 25;19(11):3327. doi: 10.3390/ijms19113327. PMID: 30366440; PMCID: PMC6275060. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

10. Delfosse M. Drogues végétales et plantes médicinales. Association pharmaceutique belge (APB), Brussels 1998; 194-196.

11. Stoss M, Michels C, Peter E, Beutke R, Gorter RW. Prospective cohort trial of Euphrasia single-dose eye drops in conjunctivitis. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Dec;6(6):499-508. doi: 10.1089/acm.2000.6.499. PMID: 11152054. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

12. Lans C, Turner N, Brauer G, Lourenco G, Georges K. Ethnoveterinary medicines used for horses in Trinidad and in British Columbia, Canada. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2006 Aug 7;2:31. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-2-31. PMID: 16893454; PMCID: PMC1559680. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

13. Rehberg C., Dorschner G Entzündungshemmende Ernährung. Zentrum der Gesundheit. Zuletzt aktualisiert am 14. September 2020. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

14. Metzger, J.: Gesichtete homöopathische Arzneimittellehre, Band 1, MVS Medizinverlage, 12. Auflage, 2005.

15. Max Wichtl (Hrsg.): Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka: Ein Handbuch für die Praxis auf wissenschaftlicher Grundlage. 5., vollständig überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8047-2369-6, S. 91 ff.

16. Aktories, K. et al.: Allgemeine und spezielle Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, 11. Auflage, Urban & Fischer Verlag/Elsevier GmbH, 2013

17. Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, Coleman CI. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Jul;7(7):473-80. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(07)70160-3. Erratum in: Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Sep;7(9):580. PMID: 17597571; PMCID: PMC7106401. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

18. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;6:CD001364. PMID: 21328251. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Source

Why you can trust me?

Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Willem F. Daems † (gemeinsam mit Mientje Daems und Gundolf Keil): Euphrasia. Beiträge zur mittelalterlichen Pharmakologie des Augentrosts und der Erdbeere. In: Würzburger medizinhistorische Mitteilungen. Band 14, 1996, S. 253–260.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Pseudo-Arnaldus de Villanova. 13.-14. Jh: Der Tractat … von Bewarung und Beraitung der Wein … Druck. Esslingen nach 1478: Mitteilungen. Band 14, 1996, S. 253–260.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Wszelaki, Natalia; Melzig, Matthias F.: Zeitschrift für Phytotherapie 2011; 32(1): 40-46; DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1262418 Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
European Medicines Agency (2010): Assessment report on Euphrasia officinalis L. and Euphrasia rostkoviana Hayne, herba (PDF). Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C, editors. In: PDR for Herbal Medicines, Medical Economics Company, Inc, New Jersey 2007, 844–845.
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Paduch R, Woźniak A, Niedziela P, Rejdak R. Assessment of eyebright (euphrasia officinalis L.) extract activity in relation to human corneal cells using in vitro tests. Balkan Med J. 2014 Mar;31(1):29-36. doi: 10.5152/balkanmedj.2014.8377. Epub 2014 Mar 1. PMID: 25207164; PMCID: PMC4115993. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Bigagli E, Cinci L, D'Ambrosio M, Luceri C. Pharmacological activities of an eye drop containing Matricaria chamomilla and Euphrasia officinalis extracts in UVB-induced oxidative stress and inflammation of human corneal cells. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2017 Aug;173:618-625. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2017.06.031. Epub 2017 Jun 24. PMID: 28704790. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Meier-Girard D, Gerstenberg G, Stoffel L, et al. Euphrasia Eye Drops in Preterm Neonates With Ocular Discharge: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. Front Pediatr. 2020;8:449. Published 2020 Aug 11. doi:10.3389/fped.2020.00449. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Liu Y, Hwang E, Ngo HTT, Perumalsamy H, Kim YJ, Li L, Yi TH. Protective Effects of Euphrasia officinalis Extract against Ultraviolet B-Induced Photoaging in Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Oct 25;19(11):3327. doi: 10.3390/ijms19113327. PMID: 30366440; PMCID: PMC6275060. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Delfosse M. Drogues végétales et plantes médicinales. Association pharmaceutique belge (APB), Brussels 1998; 194-196.
Klinische Studie
Stoss M, Michels C, Peter E, Beutke R, Gorter RW. Prospective cohort trial of Euphrasia single-dose eye drops in conjunctivitis. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Dec;6(6):499-508. doi: 10.1089/acm.2000.6.499. PMID: 11152054. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftliche Studie
Lans C, Turner N, Brauer G, Lourenco G, Georges K. Ethnoveterinary medicines used for horses in Trinidad and in British Columbia, Canada. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2006 Aug 7;2:31. doi: 10.1186/1746-4269-2-31. PMID: 16893454; PMCID: PMC1559680. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Rehberg C., Dorschner G Entzündungshemmende Ernährung. Zentrum der Gesundheit. Zuletzt aktualisiert am 14. September 2020. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Wissenschaftlicher Artike
Metzger, J.: Gesichtete homöopathische Arzneimittellehre, Band 1, MVS Medizinverlage, 12. Auflage, 2005.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Max Wichtl (Hrsg.): Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka: Ein Handbuch für die Praxis auf wissenschaftlicher Grundlage. 5., vollständig überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8047-2369-6, S. 91 ff.
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Aktories, K. et al.: Allgemeine und spezielle Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, 11. Auflage, Urban & Fischer Verlag/Elsevier GmbH, 2013
Wissenschaftlicher Artikel
Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, Rinaldi M, Coleman CI. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Jul;7(7):473-80. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(07)70160-3. Erratum in: Lancet Infect Dis. 2007 Sep;7(9):580. PMID: 17597571; PMCID: PMC7106401. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
Klinische Studie
Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;6:CD001364. PMID: 21328251. Zuletzt aufgerufen am 09.10.2020.
Go to source
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