Sore Eyes

A charm from Devonshire: a woman who had never seen her father had to blow into the patient's eyes through a hole made in a NETTLE leaf, before she had put her hand to anything for the day (Friend).

Gerard recommended BUCK'S HORN PLANTAIN (Plantago coronopus) for sore eyes: "the leaves of buckes-horne boyled in drink, and given morning and evening for certaine daies together, helpe most wonderfully those that have sore eies, watering or blasted, and most of the griefes that happen unto the eies ...". ROWAN leaves have also been used, made up into a salve (Cromek). CAMOMILE flowers were used for sore eyes. They had to be gathered before dawn, and the gatherer had to say why he was taking it; "let him next take the ooze, and smear the eyes therewith" (Cockayne). Gerard noted that "the juice (of CENTAURY) is good in medicines for the eies ...", and long before his time the Anglo-Saxon Apuleius had "for sore of eyes, take this wort its juice; smear the eyes therewith; it heals the thinness of sight. Mingle also honey thereto; it benefits similarly dim eyes, so that the brightness (of vision) is restored". GROUND IVY leaves could be used as a poultice to be applied to sore eyes (Trevelyan). Actually, Ground Ivy was famous as an eye medicine, and its use was widespread in Britain. A Dorset remedy for sore eyes was to make an ointment with it (Dacombe), and a Warwickshire cure was to take a large handful of the herb, just cover it with water, and simmer for about 20 minutes, strain it, and use the liquid to bathe the eyes (Vickery. 1995).

In central Africa, an extract of the leaves of CHINESE LANTERN (Dichrostachys glomerata), mixed with salt, is applied to sore eyes (Palgrave).

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