Herbal remedies offer an uncomplicated and generally harmless way to treat the symptoms of conjunctivitis. There are several useful herbs that can be helpful in treating this condition.
For the best results, it is often recommended that the medicinal herbs should be used both externally and internally, either on their own or in combination.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the transparent tissue layer of tissue called the conjunctiva, which covers the inside of the eyelid and the white of the eye.
Conjunctivitis may be a symptom associated with the herpes virus, the common cold, staph infections, allergies, or measles. Irritation of the conjunctiva may be caused by environmental factors, including second-hand smoke, air pollution and the chlorine in swimming pools.
Conjunctivitis of a bacterial origin is a condition that needs to be treated early since some forms are very infectious. Any persistent infection of the eyes may cause further issues and potential tissue destruction.
A growing understanding of the potential problems associated with prolonged use of antibiotics or corticosteroids, their relative ineffectiveness in many cases, and the especially troubling increase in bacterial resistance to most antibiotics, has led to a reconsideration of the advantage of using herbs as a natural treatment for conjunctivitis.
Eye infections due to viral causes bring about an additional factor because antibiotics are not effective against viral infections.
Natural Herbs Used for Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye)
Aloe Vera (Aloe vera)
Aloe is one of the oldest and best known natural herbal remedies for pink eye. Aloe has a soothing effect and is most effective when used as a compress.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is another herb that has been used to treat conjunctivitis. It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiseptic components and is soothing and helps to fight infection. Even if it is a popular remedy for a pink eye it may cause an allergic reaction for those who are sensitive to the group of plants which cause hay fever. Chamomile and any products which include chamomile should always be used with caution by people with allergies to plants in the Matricaria or Artemisia genus.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
A very old home remedy for conjunctivitis is to make a grated potato compress and apply to the inflamed eye. This remedy is recommended by many herbalists and is considered as a simple and effective natural relief for the symptoms of a pink eye because of its astringent (drying and disinfecting) qualities. The freshly grated potato can be wrapped in cheesecloth as a soothing compress.
Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
A compress made from a tea prepared from the flowers of eyebright tea could be a helpful natural remedy for pink eye. Eyebright has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine constituents which could make it especially useful in allergic conjunctivitis. These factors give eyebright its ability to soothe the inflammation and help to fight infection and dry up excess fluid. Eyebright includes the chemicals aucubin, loganin and verbenalin, which research has indicated will reduce inflammation. Aucubin also stimulates healing.
Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
This medicinal herb has been used traditionally to treat conjunctivitis and it is known for its soothing and astringent actions. Plantain contains silicic acid, nature’s precursor to aspirin, making it effective in relieving pain and inflammation. For the relief of the symptoms of a pink eye, a compress of freshly crushed plantain leaves can be applied.
Other natural herbs that have been used for conjunctivitis (pinkeye) treatment.
- Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
- Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium)
- Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
- Ox-eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)
- Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)
- Black Tea (Camellia sinensis)
- Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum vulgare)
- Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
- Myrrh (Commiphora molmol)
- Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
- Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
- Amur Cork Tree(Phellodendron amurense)
- Red Raspberry Leaves (Rubus idaeus)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis)
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
- Rose Petals (Rosa gallica, Rosa laevigata, Rosa rugosa)
- Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
- Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra)
- Horsetail (Equisetum arvensis)
- Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)
- Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
- Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
- Neem (Azadirachta indica)
The Use of Supplements as a Treatment for Pinkeye
Natural herbal remedies for conjunctivitis are not meant to replace existing medical care. Always tell your health practitioner about any herbs and supplements you are using. Natural herbal treatments may be helpful when used in addition to the treatment recommended by your doctor.
As more research is being done on the effectiveness of herbal remedies for a pink eye, doctors are becoming more accepting of herbal treatments which complement conventional therapy. At the least, health care providers are increasingly more confident that there will be no harm done when natural herbal remedies are used as directed.