I’m often asked, “What is good for eye health?” I get the question so often that I really should create a healthy eye blend for our tea line. I’m working on it!
Anyway, the truth is, most things good for the eye are best eaten or applied fresh.
Eye Health: Natural Eye Care Remedies
Here is a list of my favorite eye strengtheners, soothers, and natural eye care remedies:
There is a reason why we envision cucumbers on the eyes of celebrities when we think about spa treatments. Cucumber slices, or better yet cucumber juice, are anti-inflammatory and can greatly reduce redness in and around eyes.
Yellow beets in particular, or the greens of both yellow and red beets, are high in the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin. These are both known to benefit eye health when consumed regularly.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is a perfect anti-inflammatory wash for the eyes. It is gentle enough to use on any eye in your house, but strong enough to handle anything from a minor irritation to a full blown infection. I like to use chamomile tea as a wash after I have been out weeding all day, or after mixing up teas in our commercial kitchen. It’s a soothing remedy – cool and refreshing at the end of a long day of hard work. (Find organic dried chamomile here.)
Right about now, you may be wheezing and sneezing through the thick of allergy season. Did you know that orange peel contains chemicals that have been shown to calm the histamine response in the body? Try some candied peel, or add some orange peel powder to your next smoothie and see if it doesn’t help with your itchy nose and watery eyes. (You can find organic orange peel powder here.)
There are so many benefits to eating cabbage, especially if you ferment it first! Our eyes are supported with the high levels of beta-carotene found in this delicious vegetable.
Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
The bilberry fruit is high in antioxidants. This characteristic has earned it a long reputation for use with all kinds of disorders of the eyes. Its relative blueberry is also worth munching on if your eyesight is getting weaker. Just one summer of eating these delicious berries will give you a surprising improvement.
Rose Petals (Rosa spp.)
While tea bags may be popular for puffy eyes, damp rose petals placed on the eyelids do wonders for soreness and puffiness. I usually pour hot water over a few petals and allow them to cool in the fridge. Use the petals over the eyes after they have been strained out. And the resulting tea can be used as an astringent on the skin for a few days.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is high in Vitamin A and is therefore good for the eyes. So when someone calls you out on your overindulgence in fresh pesto this summer, you can simply reply, “It’s all the better to see you, my dear!”
Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Eyebright has a long reputation as a topical (and) natural eye care remedy for eye irritations such as conjunctivitis.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis candensis)
I learned long ago that goldenseal was a great herb for the eyes and had a few chances to try it out myself. I’ve combined a nugget of goldenseal root with a chamomile or eyebright tea for inflamed or infected eyes in children and animals with great success. (Find organic goldenseal root here.)
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
The leaf of the ginkgo tree is best known for its ability to improve the memory. However, it benefits the eyes at the same time. Ginkgo has been shown to improve circulation to the back of the eye, supporting improvements in such conditions as macular degeneration and glaucoma. It is easy to find ginkgo tea, capsules, or tinctures if you would like to try it out.
What’s your favorite go-to herb for eyes? There are quite a few more I could add to the list, but I would love to hear what you’ve tried and liked!