Conjunctivitis or pink eye is a common eye condition, characterized by the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the outmost layer covering the eye and the inner side of the eyelids.
Causes of conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis can occur due to different factors. Allergic conjunctivitis is a common sign of seasonal allergies, such as hay fever. It can also be infectious, caused by a harmful microorganism such as a virus or a bacterial strain. Finally, conjunctivitis can be chemical, caused by a chemical substance that came in contact with the eye.
Symptoms and treatment
The symptoms of conjunctivitis usually involve redness of the eye, itching, feeling of tingling, scratching or burning, swelling, excessive tearing and formation of crusts.
While conjunctivitis can be efficiently treated with over-the-counter or prescription drugs, there are also other alternatives, such as herbal remedies, for those who prefer a more natural approach.
Herbal care for conjunctivitis
Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine, attributes conjunctivitis to various foreign factors, mostly irritants, which particularly affect persons with high Pitta dosha. Doshas are constitutional types or bodily humors in Ayurveda. There are three of them- Pitta, Vata and Kapha. Herbs used to treat conjunctivitis are generally those suitable for relieving typical Pitta issues.
One of the remedies for conjunctivitis is a decoction made of coriander seeds. The decoction is used for washing the eye three times a day until the condition is gone.
Another decoction, used in the same way as coriander seed decoction, can me made from licorice root. Licorice is believed to promote good eyesight and to solve many of the problems associated with excess Pitta.
Other herbal remedies
Turmeric is also very beneficial for eye infections, including conjunctivitis. Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder should be mixed with quarter of a cup of warm distilled water. This remedy can be taken orally, in small sips, or applied topically, for washing or for making compresses.
Triphala is known for its beneficial effects on eyes and also for its high antioxidant content. Triphala powder mixed with water should be used for washing the affected eye several times a day.
Shatavari and boswellia gum are also recommended for people suffering from conjunctivitis. Both should be used topically, in form of eye wash or compress.
According to Ayurveda, conjunctivitis can also be cured from the inside. Foods that should be included in the diet for this purpose include ghee butter, mung beans, coriander, sweet foods, desserts, basmati rice and cooling spices, such as coriander. Foods that are better avoided until conjunctivitis clears are those that are particularly sour, salty or pungent.