Eyebright by Gypsy Willowmoon

Planetary association - The Sun

Gender - Masculine.

Element - Air

Zodiac - Leo

The botanical name for Eyebright, comes from the Greek word for gladness.

It was first introduced as an "eye" herb by Hildegard of Bingen, in her Physica, compiled circa 1150.

In the 26th Century Fuchs and Dodoens credit it as a ‘specific for eye complaints’.

An annual semi - parasitic herb,5-30 cm in height, it attaches itself to the roots and stems of grasses, absorbing the mineral substances. leaves are rounded, toothed and small around 1 cm long with tiny white flowers, which are double - lipped with yellow throats and dark purple veins.

This is a difficult one to cultivate due to its parasitical nature. If you are going to try and propagate, plant seeds close to potential host grasses.

The whole plant is used, which is dried for use in infusions and herbal preparations.

According to legend, the linnet, a bird whose Greek name comes from the same root. Said to be first used to clear the sight of its young, it then passed the knowledge onto mankind...

Spenser, Milton and Other poets mention eyebright in their works.

Medicinal uses - Eyebright reduces inflammation.

It is said to be helpful for treating hay fever, allergic rhinitis, catarrh and sinusitis.

Externally it is made into washes for sore, itchy eyes and or conjunctivitis. Also used for skin irritations and ecze