Perhaps more commonly known by its colloquial name of eyebright, euphrasia is a flower which is thought to have benefits for eye health. It is native to the UK and Europe, particularly to sub-alpine meadows.
Euphrasia's use in herbal medicine dates back to at least the 14th century. As well as being used for eye health, it was believed to be a treatment for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, colds and hay fever. The plant does have anti-inflammatory properties, and it is also an astringent.
Eyebright is also known to have infection fighting properties, and it can dry up wounds. This makes it useful as a treatment for conditions such as conjunctivitis, where it has been shown to be effective.
Euphrasia contains acubin, which is an iridoid glycoside known to have liver protective qualities. One study also found that acubin exhibited anti-inflammatory properties similar to those found in many NSAID medications.
For treating eye conditions, eye fatigue and styes, euphrasia is commonly used in a poultice. It is also available in capsule and tablet format, and as eye drops. Many people like to keep the eye drops handy for tired, sore eyes or to relieve dry eyes in a working environment.