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 (or fresh) Calendula Flowers
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:
- 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…
- 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.
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:
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