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Eyes and health, herbal medicine and nutrition to protect eyesight

Eyes and health, herbal medicine and nutrition to protect eyesight

May 12, 2021
Broken glasses water, infusion of calendula and sage but also foods rich in antioxidants, all help to protect vision and eyes, counteracting dry and tired eyes, weak eyes and difficulty in night vision
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With our eyes we play, work, discover and explore. But the eyes can also get tired, appear red, irritated, we may find more difficult to focus on objects or see in the dark. But nature and diet can help us, taking care of vision and eye health. Let's see better. In the following we will talk about mild ailments, which can happen in everyday life due to allergies, too many hours spent at the computer for work, unbalanced diet, prolonged use of the face mask.

Broken glasses water

In the Middle Ages, the mirabilis waters were waters flavored with flowers and fruits and used to treat various ailments. Among the mirabilis waters that have gone down in history, one in particular can be useful to fortify the eyes and fight redness and inflammation, the so called broken glasses water. Bring a liter of water to a boil along with two tablespoons of cornflower flowers, let it simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and let it rest for thirty minutes. Filter and use for compresses, it is enough to wet some gauze with this decoction and place them on the closed eyelids for ten minutes several times a day. This remedy has its roots in tradition, but it can also count on a scientific basis since studies have shown the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action of cornflower, especially useful for eye health (Garbacki et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 1999 - Haratym et al , Protoplasma, 2020).

With calendula and sage

The famous herbalist Messeguè talks about a useful remedy to counteract tired, fatigued and red eyes. Bring a liter of water to a boil, remove from heat and add a couple of marigold flowers, a tablespoon of sage flowers and a tablespoon of cornflower flowers. Let it sit for ten minutes, then filter, let it cool down and use for compresses. Calendula tea is recognized and appreciated for its anti-inflammatory properties, useful for eye packs and rinses (Arora et al, Pharmacogn Rev., 2013), cornflower, as we have seen in the previous paragraph, helps to counteract redness and eye inflammation, sage is anti-aging, since it provides valuable antioxidants, and is antiseptic, useful to treat minor eye irritations (Binic et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2013 - Abu-Darwish et al, Biomed Res Int., 2013).

Diet for eye health

Diet can help protect eyesight. In particular, some substances contained in food, such as carotenoids, are protective for eye health, increase visual acuity and shape discrimination (Demmig-Adams et al, Nutrients, 2013). Carotenoids include, among others, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene. Beta-carotene protects vision since it is used by the body to produce rhodopsin, a photosensitive protein responsible for the mechanism of vision and the ability to see in low light conditions (Zhou et al, Acta Pharmacol Sin, 2012). Zeaxanthin and lutein help protect vision, counteract oxidative stress and offer a protective shield to the retina against blue light damage. Zeaxanthin and lutein are found in eggs, corn, yellow peppers while green leafy vegetables mainly contain lutein. Not only that, it is also possible to increase the action of zeaxanthin and lutein by exploiting their synergies, in particular with vitamin E, contained for example in extra virgin olive oil that you can use to season yellow peppers and spinach, and with omega 3 fatty acids, contained for example in linseed oil, nuts, fatty fish (Demmig-Adams et al, Nutrients, 2013). As for beta-carotene, the source par excellence is given by carrots. To fill up with beta-carotene, however, carrots must be eaten raw and unpeeled, because this beneficial substance accumulates in the external layers. Alternatively, boiled carrots are also excellent as the heat increases the availability of beta carotene (Livny et al, Eur J Nutr, 2003). Other sources of beta-carotene are apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and green leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach. Zinc also protects the health of sight thanks to its antioxidant action, which supports and stimulates the nerve transmission and metabolism of the eyes. Zinc is found in almonds, cashews, peanuts, molluscs, crustaceans (Rasmussen et al, Clin Interv Aging, 2013).

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