The Best Home Remedies for Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
If you suffer from the itching, burning, and discomfort that accompany a pink eye infection, then you know how debilitating and often embarrassing this condition can be. Pink eye is actually a condition called conjunctivitis and depending on the underlying cause, the condition can have different symptoms.
Causes of Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
There are generally four underlying causes of pink eye1:
- Pink eye caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
- Pink eye caused by exposure to wind and sun.
- Pink eye that occurs as a result of allergies.
- Pink eye that results from exposure to certain chemicals, fumes, or smoke.
When pink eye is caused by bacterial infections, it is contagious. The bacterial infection often affects both eyes and you may experience symptoms like pus draining from the eyes.
When caused by a virus, a watery discharge often occurs and this kind of pink eye is also contagious.
Pink eye caused by allergies or elemental exposure are generally not contagious.
The underlying cause of the conjunctivitis also affects which home remedy is best for you.
Symptoms and Home remedies for Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)
Symptoms of pink eye generally include redness.2 Depending on the cause of the condition, other symptoms can include swollen red eyelids, redness within the eye itself, itching, tearing, crusty eyes upon waking, light sensitivity, a burning sensation, and discharges including pus or a watery discharge and general inflammation of the eye. Some people also experience the feeling that something is stuck in the eye.
Although many of the home remedies are effective at relieving symptoms and even treating the infection in some cases, it is still important to see your physician to confirm your diagnosis of pink eye.
If you are suffering from pink eye then you should select the remedy best suited to your particular situation.
Black/Oolong Tea for Pink Eye
These teas can be extremely helpful for pink eye because they contain ingredients that have antibacterial and antiviral properties and can also help to reduce the swelling and itching associated with pink eye.
In one study published in the Journal of Traditional Medicines, the consumption of oolong tea was found to help reduce the symptoms of allergic rhino-conjunctivitis and reduced some of the symptoms associated with allergies like sneezing, nasal obstruction, and nasal discharge.3
There are two ways to use black tea for your pink eye infection:
- The consumption of oolong tea may help to treat the infection from the inside out.
- You can also place cooled tea bags on the eyes for 10 minutes four times a day to help treat your infection topically. Or you can prepare an eyewash using weak black tea.
Calendula Tea for Pink Eye
Another herbal tea traditionally used to help alleviate the symptoms of pink eye and used to help treat the infection associated with pink eye, is calendula tea.
Calendula contains compounds that help to fight inflammation and calendula tea may therefore be good for reducing the symptoms of pink eye. The antibacterial properties of calendula may help to fight the infection causing the condition. Calendula is also one of the herbs that can cleanse and detoxify your body.
In a review published by The Longwood Herbal Taskforce, researchers said calendula appears to be safe for topical use and it has been used in Italian folk medicine as an antipyretic and anti-inflammatory. Teas made from calendula are used as eye washes or compresses to treat conjunctivitis.4
To use calendula tea for pink eye, you can steep two tablespoons of dried organic calendula flowers in a cup of boiling water and then allow the mixture to cool. Strain the mixture and then use the mixture as an eyewash. You can also use a teabag of organic calendula tea (like this one). You can also add other ingredients to your calendula tea to relieve sore throat.
Aloe Vera for Conjunctivitis
Aloe Vera is often used to help treat the symptoms associated with pink eye and it also has other health benefits. Aloe Vera contains antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help to treat the infection at the same time.
In a review on Aloe Vera published in the International Journal of Biological & Medical Research, researchers confirmed that Aloe Vera has been used to treat conjunctivitis and that Aloe Vera is often reported as a compound that accelerates healing.5
If you have an aloe vera plant in your back yard simply slice off a small piece. Peel the Aloe Vera leaves carefully and then cut the Aloe Vera into dice sized chunks. Boil water and allow a cup of water to cool. Once cool, add your chunks of Aloe Vera and allow them to steep until the cooled liquid is a light green color.
If however, you don’t have your own plant then you can buy pure aloe vera gel at most health food stores or online. Combine half a teaspoon of aloe vera gel in a cup of boiled and cooled water. Use the resultant liquid as an eyewash. You can also use your aloe vera gel to make your own soothing gel for tired eyes.
Turmeric for Pink Eye
Turmeric is anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory super spice. It contains an active ingredient called curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help to reduce pain and swelling, and may therefore help to reduce your pink eye symptoms. According to a study published in Molecular vision, curcumin can help to suppress allergic conjunctivitis.6
Curcumin can be applied topically to the eyes as a warm compress. To prepare a curcumin compress, add two teaspoons of turmeric to a cup of boiling water then allow the mixture to cool slightly before using the mixture on a clean compress and apply it to the infected area.
Be sure to use a new sterile compress for each application to ensure the infection does not spread or cause recontamination.
Eyebright for Pink Eye
Eyebright has a long traditional history for use to treat various different eye conditions and it is also one of the herbs I mention in my eBook the Herbal Remedies Guide.
Eyebright has soothing properties and it contains active ingredients that are antibacterial and antiviral. Eyebright may therefore be beneficial for treating the symptoms and the infection itself.
To use eyebright, you can choose between using a tincture of eyebright and using the herbs themselves.
To make an eyewash from the tincture, boil water and add a few drops of eyebright tincture to the water. Soak a clean cloth in the warm liquid and hold on closed eyes.
To make an eyewash from the herbs, add one teaspoon of eyebright herb to a cup of boiling water and allow the liquid to steep. Strain the liquid well to remove the herb and then use the resultant mixture as an eyewash.
Eyebright drops (like this one) are also available for use for conjunctivitis. In one study published in theJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a single dose of Eyebright eye drops was found to be safe and effective for various types of conjunctivitis.7
Pink eye – General Guidelines
When cleaning your eye, wipe from the inside (next to the nose) toward the outside and use a clean surface for each wipe. In this way the drainage being cleaned away is not rubbed back across the eye.
If you use tissues or wipes, make sure they to put in the trash so that no one else would touch them. If you use washcloths to clean the eye, put them in the laundry right away so that no one else picks them up or uses them.
After wiping your eye, wash your hands to prevent the pink eye from spreading.
How To Prevent Pink Eye
Bacterial and viral pink eye are contagious. To prevent contracting pink eye or spreading it to other people, follow these steps:
– Keep your hands away from the infected eye. Infection can also enter the body through the nose and mouth.
– Do not share washcloths, towels, pillowcases, or with others, including family members.
– Wash and change the above items after each use.
– Do not use other people’s eye drops or cosmetics, particularly eyeliner pencils and mascara.
– Allergic pink eye can be prevented by avoiding things that trigger the condition. If you suffer from allergies you can use these 5 essential oils for allergy relief.