Cleansing Your Eyes With Herbs

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Around the world, there has been an increasingly growing number of people who currently suffer from strained-dry eyes, the culprit? Our screens! If it's not from our cell phones it's from our tablets, tv's, or computers. Technology has been at the forefront of our days for only the last couple of decades and while there are many contradicting arguments to be had over it, I strongly believe it has changed our lives for the better. Now we get our news at a faster rate, we get to communicate with our loved ones, it's created millions of jobs, it's brought the world together and it's brought you right to this article, which I am incredibly grateful for. If you are anything like me, and the rest of the world, our eyes are paying the price for this gift. As a social media manager by day, and an online educator by night and weekends, my whole life revolves around screen time and it's incredibly hard for me to leave screen time at a minimum. Or, maybe for you it's not the amount of screen time you get that is bothering your eyes, perhaps it's seasonal allergies or chronic dry eye, maybe even a cold that is making them irritated and watery. No matter the case, I have been known to use herbal eye washes to calm any eye ailment I have.

Cleansing Your Eyes With Herbs

Before washing your eyes at home for any reason, you should first ask yourself if you need special attention. A trip to the doctor may be in order. There are a couple of ways to use herbal eye washes to calm your eyes when they are stressed, and most times it depends on how my eyes are feeling that determines which method I use, but you may be comfortable with using one and only one method for each eye stressor you come across. But first, why use herbs in the first place? When it comes to the use of herbs it's important to note that each herb comes different qualities and energetics, and with each person comes different reactions. For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, using an herb that already irritates you would not be your best solution. If you're unsure if an herb will irritate or cause an allergic reaction before you use it, it's best to do what's called "a patch test". A patch test should be performed 24 hours before you use an herb for the first time. You can wipe the dried herb on your wrist, or take a cotton ball and dunk it into an herbal infusion and tape it over your wrist. If within the 24 hours you find that there was or was not a reaction from the plant, then you will know how your body will react going forward. As you continue, I will provide a few recipes that you can use at home for your stressed eyes.

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Glass Eye Cup

One way to wash your eyes is using a glass eye cup. A glass eye cup is small and formed specifically for the human curve of the eye. Until dropper bottles were created, this method was (and still is) an effective way to cleanse the eyes with either a prescribed solution from your doctor, salt water or an herbal infusion. Before using your eye cup you will want to disinfect it thoroughly to kill any germs and make sure no debris is left behind. I prefer boiling my eye cup before every eye wash treatment, and I always make sure to clean the cup after each eye rinse and fill my cup with a brand new solution before continuing onto the next eye. Sanitation is important when it comes to doing anything with our sensitive eyes. When using an eye cup you will want to fill your cup about 3/4 of the way full with your herbal infusion. Then, tip your eye over the eye wash cup making sure the grooves of the cup fit nicely within the socket. You may close your eyes as you are adjusting the comfort of the cup in your eye socket. Next, tip your head back and quickly open and close your eyes 3-5 times so the solution can cleanse. You also have the option to keep your eye open for a few seconds to a minute, but that's often expert level eye washing skills.

Tea Bag Compress

One of the most popular and comfortable ways to wash your stressed eyes with herbs is by using a compress, like one one from a tea bag. I highly recommend making your own tea blend and filling a natural tea bag instead of purchasing tea off of the shelf that is used with fillers and bleached bags. Even if you purchased tea bags filled with herbs from a reputable source, it's important to remember that the herbal infusion is going into your eye, and if the premade blend is not suitable or makes sense for your stressed eyes, it's not going to give you the benefits you are looking for. Plus, doing it on your own is all of the fun, and a great learning tool of getting to know our beloved plants. When you have your herbal blend mixed up and portioned out into a tea bag steep the bag in warm water allowing it to sit for a few moments. While the tea bag is cooling, or just warm enough to handle safely on your eyes, lay back on a couch or a bed and place one or two tea bags over your eyes for 10-30 minutes allowing the herbal waters to slowly infuse side of your eyes. Once you're finished you can take a plain warm towel to clean off your eyes and continue on with your day. 

Herbal Eye Wash Blend Recipes

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Herbal Eye Cleansing Q&A

"Could my child benefit from eye washing with herbs?" -  If your child is over the age of one, herbal eye washes are a great solution to use when wanting to calm their eyes. It's important to note which herbs would work best for a child, and what herbs may be more comfortable for them. Children most likely will not react well to herbs that have a warm quality to them, and I would also consider which method you would be using. I would start with a tea compress first and then progress as the child gets used to a water solution being around their eyes. Remember they're eyes are extremely sensitive.

"Am I able to wash my eyes with herbs while I am pregnant?" - I wouldn't recommend using herbs while you are pregnant in any scenario unless you have a personal relationship with an herbal practitioner who knows everything about your constitution and pregnancy. Always consult with your doctor.

"Is tap water fine to use?" - I wouldn't recommend washing your eyes with tap water, herbs or no herbs. I would purchase quality filtered water, or use your water filtration system at home if you have one. On top of using filtered water, it's an extra bonus when doing an herbal infusion because you will want to heat your water to a complete boil which is a natural way to kill bacteria in the water. Once your water is completely cooled, you're able to use! 

"How often should I perform this practice?" - Not only does it depend on the ailment you are trying to support with herbal eye washing, it actually depends even more so on the herb itself. I feel confident in mentioning the frequency in the above recipes given, but any other herb or ailment would have to be discussed privately with your local herbalist.

Supporting Alternatives To Digital Eye Strain:

  • Talk to your eye care professional about eye glasses with blue light deflecting technology. If you don't need a prescription I highly recommend Baxter Blue! I have these glasses in the style Matte Havana, and I use them every single day.

  • Download flux on your computer to adjust the blue light on your computer. I use it daily!

  • Update the settings on your smart phone to decrease the brightness of blue and white light to yellow.

  • Practice time without technology to give your eyes a break.