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Euphrasia (eyebright) is a genus of about 450 species of herbaceous flowering plants in the family

Orobanchaceae (formerly included in the Scrophulariaceae), with a cosmopolitan distribution. They are
semi-parasitic on grasses and other plants. The common name refers to the plant's use in treating eye
infections.

Many species are found in alpine or sub-alpine meadows where snow is common. Flowers usually are
borne terminally, are zygomorphic, and have a lower petal shaped like a lip. The most common flower
colours are purple, blue-white, and violet. Some species have yellow markings on the lower petal to act
as a guide to pollinating insects.

Alternative names, mainly in herbalism, are Augentrostkraut, Euphrasiae herba, Herba Euphrasiae and
Herbe d'Euphraise.

Contents

1 Use in herbalism and medicine

2 Phylogeny

3 Taxonomy and identification

3.1 Selected species

4 References

5 Footnotes

Use in herbalism and medicine

The plant was known to classical herbalists, but then was not referred to until mentioned again in 1305.
Nicholas Culpeper assigned it to the Zodiac sign Leo, claiming that it strengthened the brain. It was also
used to treat bad memory and vertigo.[1]

In the Elizabethan era the plant was used in ales and Gervase Markham's Countrie Farm (1616)
recommended that one should "Drinke everie morning a small draught of Eyebright wine."[2]
Herbalists use eyebright as a poultice with or without concurrent administration of a tea for the redness,
swelling, and visual disturbances caused by blepharitis and conjunctivitis. The herb is also used for
eyestrain and to relieve inflammation caused by colds, coughs, sinus infections, sore throats and hay
fever.

Parts used include the leaf, the stem, and small pieces of the flowers. Typical preparations include a
warm compress or tea. Eyebright preparations are also available as an extract or capsule.

A report from the European Medicines Agency states about the efficacy of Euphrasia remedies:

From the presence of secondary metabolites, an astringent and anti-inflammatory activity can be
hypothesized for Euphrasia preparations. The ocular use of Euphrasia is based upon tradition. However,
since the efficacy of the claimed ocular uses is undocumented and external eye application is not
hygienic, therapeutic use cannot be recommended.[3]

Phylogeny

The phylogeny of the genera of Rhinantheae has been explored using molecular characters.[4][5]
Euphrasia belongs to the core Rhinantheae. Euphrasia is the sister genus to Odontites, Bellardia, Tozzia,
and Hedbergia. In turn, these five genera share phylogenetic affinities with Bartsia.

Cladogram: Genus-level phylogeny of tribe Rhinantheae based on molecular characters (ITS, rps16
intron and trnK region).[4][5]

Rhinantheae

Melampyrum
Rhynchocorys

Lathraea

Rhinanthus

Core Rhinantheae

Bartsia sensu stricto (Bartsia alpina)

Euphrasia
Tozzia

Hedbergia (including Bartsia decurva + B. longiflora)

Bellardia (including Parentucellia

and Bartsia canescens + B. mutica)

Odontites sensu lato

(including Bornmuellerantha and Bartsiella)


Taxonomy and identification