HERBS FOR EYE HEALTH

See more clearly with th­ese vi­sion-boost­ing botan­i­cals

Amazing Wellness - - HERBAL HEALING -

HAVE YOU EVER MET ANY­ONE WHO HAD sharp, clear eye­sight well into their older years? Why not you? Grad­u­ally los­ing your vi­sion might not be in­evitable.

Eye­glasses, con­tact lenses, and laser surgery are all tremen­dous tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances, but they don’t heal the eyes and vi­sion. In fact, the health of your eyes, like the fit­ness of any other part of the body, is closely as­so­ci­ated with to­tal­body well­ness. It’s easy to treat the eyes as sep­a­rate “parts,” prop­ping them up with help­ful de­vices. But the eyes are con­nected to the cir­cu­la­tory sys­tem, an ex­ten­sion of the ner­vous sys­tem, and are made of mem­brane tis­sue linked to the en­tire body.

Herbal­ists talk about a liver/skin/ eye con­nec­tion. The eyes, liver, and skin share sim­i­lar nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments, and they all are prone to dam­age from in­flam­ma­tion. The holis­tic view is that eye dis­ease is caused, at least in part, by ox­ida­tive dam­age, toxic buildup, and de­creased cir­cu­la­tion to the eyes. Reme­dies with an­tiox­i­dant, cir­cu­la­tion, or detox­i­fi­ca­tion prop­er­ties will di­rectly or in­di­rectly ben­e­fit the eyes.

Bil­berry

Bil­berry, a blue-black berry from Europe, is a cousin of the Amer­i­can blue­berry. Its ex­tract con­tains po­tent an­tiox­i­dants that pre­vent free-rad­i­cal dam­age to cells and cap­il­lar­ies that can weaken their mem­branes. The re­sult is stronger, more flex­i­ble cap­il­lary and cell walls. It strength­ens reti­nal con­nec­tive tis­sue and re­duces both the leak­i­ness and fragility of the ocu­lar blood ves­sels, mak­ing it ideal for treat­ing mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion.

Bil­berry is es­pe­cially noted for im­prov­ing night vi­sion. It also helps to pre­vent de­gen­er­a­tive eye dis­ease and in­crease func­tion of the color-sens­ing cones of the eye, im­prov­ing the bright­ness of the im­age be­ing viewed and in­creas­ing vis­ual acu­ity. In 2013, a study ex­am­ined the eyes of 30 healthy mid­dle-aged vol­un­teers with my­opia (near­sight­ed­ness). Bil­berry ex­tract pro­duced sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment.

Many peo­ple take bil­berry ex­tract, stan­dard­ized to con­tain 25% an­tho­cyano­sides, at doses of 60–120 mg daily, or up to 240–480 mg per day, to man­age ac­tive eye con­di­tions. Bil­berry is just a species of Euro­pean blue­berry, though, so its con­stituents are very sim­i­lar to blue­berry. The con­sen­sus among mod­ern holis­tic prac­ti­tion­ers is that blue­ber­ries—and the en­tire blue­berry fam­ily, which in­cludes huck­le­berry and cran­berry—work just as well as bil­berry. And blue­ber­ries are more widely avail­able, and less ex­pen­sive, than Euro­pean stan­dard­ized extracts of bil­berry.

Cal­en­dula Tea and Leafy Greens

Lutein and zeax­an­thin, key nu­tri­ents for eye health, are found in cal­en­dula tea (made from pot marigold petals). Lutein is also found in dark-green leafy veg­eta­bles (think spinach). Blind spots, the

dried cal­en­dula

flower

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