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Euphrasia officinalis

Euphrasia officinalis

Common name:  Eyebright

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Parts used:  Aerial


  • Iridoid glycosides (aucubin, aucuboside, catalpol, euphroside, ixoroside)
  • Flavonoids (apigenin & glycosides)
  • Phenolic acids (caffeic & ferulic) & Tannins (Condensed & hydrolysable)
  • Volatile oils
  • Bitter principle
  • Alkaloids
  • Carbohydrates (arabinose, glucose, galactose) & Fatty Acids
  • Resin
  • Phytosterols (b-sitosterol, stigmasterol)
  • Vitamins C & b-carotene
  • Amino acids (lycine, leucine & valine)

Medicinal actions:

  • Anticatarrhal
  • Astringent
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Laxative (Stimulant)



Medicinal uses:

  • Traditionally has been used for acute catarrhal diseases of the eyes, nose, and ears (e.g. acute coryza, infections, poor vision, styes/hordeolum, sinusitis & conjunctivitis).
  • Especially indicated when condition is associated with heat or pain in the eyes or frontal sinus with profuse watery flow, both topically (as poultice or eye wash) and internally.
  • Considered a mucous membrane tonic in any case of copious discharge of mucous (watery or acrid) such as leucorrhea, gonorrhea, coughs, earache, headache, catarrh of the bladder, diarrhea, and mucous discharge from the intestinal tract.


  • Limited information available regarding constituents and pharmacology.
  • Combines astringent and anti-inflammatory actions to produce an overall anti-catarrhal action and mucous membrane toxifying effect.
  • Tannins have astringent properties which are likely responsible for usefulness as a topical treatment for inflammatory states and ability to reduce mucous and phlegm.
  • Caffeic acid is bacteriostatic & iridoid glycosides (aucubin) have activity against hepatitis B in vitro and animal studies have demonstrated hepatoprotective, anti-tumor, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Volatile oils that are antibacterial against Miccrococus aureus, E. coli, some fungi and other microbes.


  • Infusion: 2-4 g/cup, TID.
  • Tincture: 2–6 mL (1:5, 40%), TID. 125 ml weekly max.
  • Capsules: 800 mg, BID.
  • Topical Compress: 1 tsp dried herb in 1 cup water and boil 10 minutes, let cool.  Moisten a compress (cotton wool, gauze, or muslin) in the lukewarm liquid, wring out slightly and place over the eyes.  Leave compress in place for 15 minutes.


  • Caution should be be applied for any home-made preparations used for ophthalmic purposes (e.g. eye wash).
  • Due to reported presence of unidentified alkaloids, avoid excessive doses or prolonged treatment, and in pregnancy & lactation due to unknown effects.

Contraindications: None known.

Interactions: None known.


  • Find a complete list of references for this monograph as well as images and a review of its evidence based applications in Dr. Marciano’s Herbal Textbook.


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