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Recently we've been dealing with all sorts of eye issues in my home. Everything from conjunctivitis to infection, and not just in the humans in our home. When Syfy became ill with pneumonia and strep throat, he also managed to spread the strep to his eyes, getting conjunctivitis too. Our pediatrician prescribed $60 eye drops, saying that they likely wouldn't work because most of the time conjunctivitis is viral, but just in case we should use the eye drops. I am not one to overuse antibiotics and am not willing to use them unless they are absolutely needed. Out of desperation, I began investigating all my herbal books, looking for the best herbs to use to help soothe Syfy's eyes and get rid of the infection. That's when I realized that I already had everything that I needed to help my family and pets with all their eye irritations!
Calendula for itchy irritated eyes
One of my favorite herbs that I ALWAYS keep on hand for numerous healing recipes (from my antiseptic owie salve to my facial cleansing grains) happens to be the perfect herb to keep on hand for eye issues too. Calendula, aka Pot Marigold, is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory making this gentle flower a good option for a multitude of eye issues, including:
- pink eye/conjunctivitis
- irritation due to pollen and seasonal allergies
- minor eye injuries
- red or swollen eyes
Adopting a one-eyed cat with a severe eye infection
My kiddo and hubby weren't the only ones in my household dealing with eye issues. Recently we rescued a Maincoon kitten with what looked like one eye, but in reality, she has microphthalmia, or a micro-sized eyeball in her winking eye socket. Because of a congenital heart condition, she was unable to go under anesthesia to have the socket cleaned and when I rescued her, the eye socket was clearly infected because it was oozing puss. I wanted to naturally heal up her infected eye but knew that I had to choose the simplest and gentlest option for my kitten, so I ended up cleaning the gunk around her eye with saline solution and then applied coconut oil as an antibacterial/antiviral eye ointment. After just one week of doing this daily, Leela's eye infection was completely gone and she was clearly using her little eye just as much as her big one.
Using coconut oil for eye irritation and conjunctivitis
When I went looking for a simple and gentle antibacterial ointment, I knew that coconut oil was the perfect option. Naturally antibacterial and antiviral, coconut oil is my favorite nourishing carrier oil to use in my Antibacterial Owie Salve. In a pilot study, published in February 2015, three rewetting substances were compared: virgin coconut oil, Tears Naturale II, and a saline solution (as a control). The purpose of the study was to explore the efficacy of virgin coconut oil as an ocular rewetting agent on rabbit eyes. The study demonstrated that coconut oil, with its anti-inflammatory properties and pH similar to natural tears, was successful in reducing indicators of dry eyes. Having now used coconut oil on my kitten's eye, my son's eyes, and even my own eyes, it is now one of my go-to solutions when eye problems pop up. I have even soothed a stye in my eye using just coconut oil.
Soothing Calendula Eye Wash
It's extremely important to make sure your hands, all your utensils, and the space you plan on working on is thoroughly washed/sanitized before making this eye wash. You want to be very careful not to introduce new/more bacteria to the eye, causing further irritation and infection. This eye wash should be made fresh in small single use batches, not stored for later use. Bacteria can grow overnight with water concoctions! If you have never used calendula before, be sure to do a patch test on your forearm, to make sure you aren't allergic!
- Make a strong calendula infusion using calendula flowers and boiling hot filtered water.
- Let the infusion steep for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain the calendula infusion using a coffee filter to be sure that you strain the infusion completely. You don't want to leave any residual bits of calendula in the infusion, they could further irritate the eye!
- Allow the tea to completely cool to room temperature before using.
DIRECTIONS FOR USE
There are two different ways that you can use this soothing calendula eyewash:
Liquid IN your eye – Add some of the cooled calendula eye wash to the bottom of a small sterilized cup or a sterilized eye wash cup. Position the cup snugly over the eye and tilt your head back. Look around and blink. Repeat as necessary.
Liquid ON your eye – Dip a small clean washcloth into the calendula infusion and use as a compress for the eyes. Lay the compress across your eyes, dabbing some of the infusion into your eyes as best you can.
For even better results, follow with the coconut oil antibacterial eye ointment!
Calendula is considered a very safe herb. It might be a possible allergen for people with a known allergy to the Asteraceae family
Coconut Oil Antibacterial Eye Ointment
- With your eyes closed, gently wipe/dab coconut oil around the opening of your eyes. You do not have to try to wipe the coconut oil directly into your eyes, enough will get into them in the process without accidentally injuring your eyes further!
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