Euphrasia officinalis. Eyebright.
Nat. Ord. — Scrophulariaceae. Sex. Syst. — Didynamia Angiospermia.
Description. — This is an elegant, little, annual plant, with a square, downy, leafy stem, simple or branched, and from one to five inches in hight. The leaves are almost entirely opposite, ovate or cordate, downy, strongly ribbed and furrowed, the lowest crenate, the floral with sharp, tooth-like serratures. The flowers are axillary, solitary, very abundant, inodorous, with a brilliant variety of colors. The corolla varies much in size as well as in color, being commonly white, with deep purple streaks, and a yellowish palate. Upper lip of the corolla galeate, emarginate, two broad and spreading lobes ; lower lip larger, spreading, three-cleft, the lobes obtuse or notched. Calyx campanulate, four-cleft. Stamens four, fertile, under the upper lip ; anthers violet, lower cells of the upper ones with a long spur. Pod oblong, flattened ; seeds numerous, oblong, grooved lengthwise.
History. — This is a small plant, common to Europe and this country, bearing white or red flowers in July. The leaves are commonly employed, they are inodorous, but of a bitter, astringent taste. Water extracts their virtues.
Properties and Uses. — Slightly tonic and astringent. Used with much benefit in the form of infusion or poultice, in catarrhal ophthalmia; also of service in all mucous diseases attended with increased discharges ; and in cough, hoarseness, earache, and headache, which have supervened in catarrhal affections.
The American Eclectic Dispensatory, 1854, was written by John King, M. D.