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Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): Herbal First Aid

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): Herbal First Aid

Pink Eye, also know as eye flu and conjunctivitis, is an infection of the conjunctive membrane of the eye. It is usually the cause of a virus. It’s contagious, just like any other virus, and is easily treated with herbs.

Pink eye gets its name from the congested or engorged blood vessels in the eye which cause the white of the eye to take on a pinkish hue. Whether you’ve contracted pink eye all on its own or you’re experiencing it as a part of another illness, such as flu, internal and external herbal treatments are your best allies.

For further information on conjunctivitis or Pink Eye, see the Mayo Clinic’s site.

Herbal Allies for Treatment of Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)

For external treatment of conjunctivitis, use an eye soak or an eye compress on your closed eyes for at least ten minutes twice a day. If you can manage it, apply the eye soak or compress every two or three hours. Chamomile ranks high as an ally against conjunctivitis because of it’s soothing and anti-bacterial properties. Chamomile is sold alone in tea bag form which is easy to warm in water and then apply directly to the eyelid. Rose petal and Calendula also provide anti-bacterial action.

For general swelling and discomfort, herbs with a lot of astringency, such as black tea or Eyebright will ease swelling. Eyebright has particular affinity for conjunctivitis derived from allergens.

For internal treatment of conjunctivitis, take an infusion or tincture of a selection of anti-bacterial herbs such as Oregon Grape Root, Thyme, and Garlic.

Conjunctivitis can be the result of allergies or irritation. If this is the cause of your condition, supplement your diet with immune system fortifiers like nettle, plantain, echinacea.

List of Herbal Allies for Treatment of Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

For external treatment:

  • Chamomile
  • Rose
  • Calendula
  • Eyebright (for allergen-derived conditions)
  • Black tea (astringent, but not anti-bacterial)

For internal treatment:

Nutrition for Treatment of Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Foods that strengthen the immune system, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of fluids will help the body recover from conjunctivitis more quickly. Be sure to take vitamin supplements during an infection. Both Vitamin E and Zinc support the immune system while Vitamin A specifically guards against viral infections.


Candace Hunter

Candace Hunter is a self-taught herbalist and artist who never, ever practices on guinea pigs in part because her family and friends are generally up to the job. She is co-author of The Practical Herbalist's Herbal Folio series and author of Herbalism for the Zombie Apocalypse. She edits The Practical Herbalist website and Practical Herbalist Press publications. She has also recently entered into the field of podcasting with reckless abandon. Listen to her on Real Herbalism Radio today, see her work at, or find her on Facebook at Candace Hunter Creations.

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