Euphrasia

The meadow flower euphrasia officinalis has great importance among the Weleda medicinal plants. Popularly known as ‘eyebright’, it does, in fact, have a healing effect on eye diseases. Euphrasia flourishes in unfertilized dry meadows and pasture grass of central and southern Europe, right up into the high mountain areas of the Alps as far as the snowline at 2,300 metres. This tiny meadow plant – growing only ten to 30 centimetres high – thrives thanks to its resilience and high adaptability.

Resilient and adaptable bloom of the high meadows

The meadow flower euphrasia officinalis has great importance among the Weleda medicinal plants. Popularly known as ‘eyebright’, it does, in fact, have a healing effect on eye diseases. Euphrasia flourishes in unfertilized dry meadows and pasture grass of central and southern Europe, right up into the high mountain areas of the Alps as far as the snowline at 2,300 metres. This tiny meadow plant – growing only ten to 30 centimetres high – thrives thanks to its resilience and high adaptability.

Drawing energy by photosynthesis from sunlight, euphrasia also grows as a semi-parasite in the roots of the surrounding grasses and straws. It takes water and nutrients from other plants, using their life force for its own growth. This property makes euphrasia very interesting in anthroposophic medicine, since in treating eye disorders euphrasia weakens ‘foreign life’ on the conjunctiva by withdrawing the life force of the invader.

Weleda processes more than one hundred kilograms of fresh euphrasia annually for medicinal tinctures. Euphrasia is wild gathered responsibly and sustainably in the wine-producing region of Rhineland-Palatinate in south-west Germany. When flowering time comes, collectors gather on two or three weekends in July and August. They gently hand-pick the plants from the ground in between the grasses, so that the fine roots do not break off. The collected harvest is delivered to the Weleda processing plant within 24 hours and processed immediately.

At the processing plant the whole euphrasia plant – leaves, flowers and roots – is crushed, pressed and processed into a tincture. The tannins and bitter substances extracted in this way have an astringent effect and play a role in the fighting of inflammation, while slightly antibiotic glycoside aucubin also acts against inflammation.