Calendula – A Natural Remedy for Irritated Eyes

Calendula Eyewash Natural Remedy for Irritated Eyes

 

I started off this past weekend trying to tame an antique climbing rose that had been long neglected and was overtaking my porch. Not that I mind roses overtaking my porch usually, but this one has lethally large thorns and was making it where we couldn’t use our porch swing. I’ve never tried to catch five angry cats in a barrel of nails, but that comparison crossed my mind several times while I was untangling the prickly canes!

I had scratches all over, but the worst moment was when a branch bounced up and jabbed me directly in the eye. As a certified veteran klutz who’s already experienced a torn cornea, I knew this injury wasn’t serious enough to warrant a visit to the eye doctor, but it was quite painful.

I whipped up a quick batch of calendula tea, let it cool a bit and started applying compresses of it to my eye. It started feeling better after the first application and by the time it got dark that night, not a trace of scratchy redness remained.

Directions follow on how to make and use your own calendula eyewash. It’s a great natural remedy for irritated eyes caused by: allergies, pool water, dryness, dust, wind, eye strain and even pink eye, but be sure to read the caveats and precautions at the end. Home remedies are great for minor ailments, but if you have: severe eye pain, discharge that is green or yellow, or are diabetic or have other chronic conditions that affect your eyes, it’s always best to seek the advice of a medical professional to be safe.

 

Dried Calendula Flowers

Calendula Eyewash

Before beginning, make sure your hands and work area are scrupulously clean. Add a large pinch (tablespoon or two) of dried calendula flowers in a heat proof cup. Pour boiling water over the flowers, cover the cup with a saucer and let steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain through a coffee filter to ensure you remove any small particles that could lead to further eye irritation.

You can use the tea in a few ways:

  1. Fill the palm of your hand (or an eyecup) with the liquid, hold it tightly over your eye and let the liquid swish directly over your eyeball. OR, if you’re squeamish about having your eye opened under water like I am then…
  2. Dip small, clean cloths into the liquid and use those as compresses on your eye. Squeeze a bit of the tea into your eye if you can tolerate it. It will help heal things up faster.

Repeat several times a day, until your eye feels better. Don’t store this tea; make a small, fresh batch each day.

Calendula is generally recognized as being safe for external use on most people. It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. If you’ve never used it before, apply a small bit to a test area of your skin first to make sure you’re not allergic.

 

I grow and dry my own calendula flowers, but you can purchase high quality ones from either Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herb Store.
Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

 

A special note about pink eye (conjunctivitis): There are two types of pink eye, viral and bacterial. A good indicator of which is which is discharge. In viral conjunctivitis, your eye is watery with clear, thin discharge. In bacterial conjunctivitis, your eye will have a thick, green or yellow discharge. While the viral version can clear up on its own, it’s commonly recommended that you see a doctor for treatment if you have bacterial pink eye. If in doubt, ask your doctor or naturopath.

**If you are diabetic, have chronic health problems that affect your eyes, have severe pain or colored discharge from your eyes, seek the advice of a medical professional. I am a self-taught hobby herbalist. Nothing in this post is to be construed as medical advice, but simply a retelling of an old fashioned home remedy that I’ve used successfully for my family.

 

Check out my DIY Herbals Page for more ideas, such as these:

Five Uses for Hollyhocks    Create Your Own Lip Balm Formula    Lavender Vinegar & 5 Ways To Use It

 

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15 Responses to Calendula – A Natural Remedy for Irritated Eyes

  1. Karen says:

    Can this be used for a sty on the eyelids? My granddaughter gets them quite frequently.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Karen! Calendula is also a recommended treatment for styes. I completely forgot to add that aspect in my post! I’d use the tea on the warm side in this case.

  2. Can I use the eye wash on my dog!

  3. Steff says:

    Ahh, perfect timing! For some reason pregnancy has been making my eyes SO dry and painful. Tonight at dinner I was telling my husband there must be some herb I can use on my eyes to help them, and voila! I come across this. I’m going to check my local store for calendula tomorrow and if not I’ll order the herbs from your link! Thanks a million.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Steff, I hope it helps! One thing to note about calendula is that it can cause uterine contractions so make sure not to take any internally (i.e. don’t drink your leftover tea.) Congrats on your pregnancy!!! :)

  4. “Five angry cats in a barrel of nails”…I’ve not heard that saying before, Jan. Mighty descriptive, I must say! Another informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Pingback: Herbal Love from the Kitchen – Go Breathe Go

  6. Marie Dillavou says:

    Where can I get seeds to grow my own calendula flower? In the meantime I’m ordering some from online but would love to grow my own to keep on hand as I have sever dry eyes and allergies as well. Can’t wait to see if it helps with the redness of my eyes.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Marie!

      You can order seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom – their web site is

      http://rareseeds.com

      I’m putting up more calendula projects this week and on Thursday, will have a little free ebook (no strings attached) that you can download that will have more calendula ideas, so be sure to check back then if you’d like more ways to use your flowers! :)

  7. Linda says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you’ve ever come across a situation similar to mine and the outcome. I was positioning a sago palm in the yard while squatting down, and when I turned it, came up from the side and poked me in the far corner of my eye (the white part), puncturing it. That was 2 days ago. It’s swollen and pooled with blood. It’s slightly irritated, and I think a little more blood may have accumulated since first injuring it. My trusted friend at Bailey’s Naturals told me about the calendula wash, which is what I’ve been doing. She did say the eyes heal rather quickly & the wash will aid in this. I know you recommend a visit to the drs, however, I have no insurance and I’m broke. So, the question is, are you familiar with any similar injuries, and was the calendula wash sufficient to heal the wound? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Jan says:

      Ouch! I can definitely relate to the having no insurance & not being able to afford a doctor. I’m not sure how it works in your area, but in the city nearest to us – you can go to the ER & tell them you don’t have insurance and they will still treat you & will work with you on the bill. (They have discounts depending on income and/or no-interest payment plans.) We’ve had to do that twice over the years.

      My torn cornea healed up very quickly (as in, about 3 days later it was barely pink.) Your eye injury sounds pretty severe. I don’t have expertise on treating that level of trauma, but I do have a suggestion for a friendly & helpful group of herbalists that might have better experience in treating eye injuries, if you are on Facebook:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/2426239459

      However you decide to treat it, I hope it heals up quickly for you!

  8. greg gruber says:

    why when you add boiling water the liquid is not yellow in color its dark amber

    • Jan says:

      Hi Greg! The color of your tea depends on your type/color of flowers and how many you’ve added in ratio to the water and also how long you steep it. Sometimes, my tea is darker too. It should still be fine to use, though you may want to water it down a bit more if it seems too strong.

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