Cornflower Tea for Better Vision and a Radiant Skin

Not so long ago it was believed that blue light can prevent eye strain and prolong the periods of intensive eye use. Now it is known for a fact that the blue end of the visible spectrum is most harmful to the eye, even to the point of causing permanent retinal damage and corneal opacification. Fortunately, nature, having its ways of balancing the effects of its manifestations, created cornflower, a blue herb that acts exactly opposite to the blue solar or artificial light.

1 - Cornflower

Symptoms of eye strain

Eye strain can occur after reading, working at a computer or driving a car for too many hours in a row without taking regular breaks for resting the eyes (in the case of working at a computer, an ideal routine is the so called 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from the computer screen and for at least 20 seconds focus on an object situated at a distance of at least 20 feet). It isn’t a serious problem per se, but a strong invitation to rest your eyes for a while, especially because your productivity will eventually be slowed down by its symptoms, which include: tired, sore, burning, itching, dry or watery eyes, difficulty focusing, blurred or double vision, increased sensitivity to light, headache, brow ache, sore neck, sore back and shoulder pain.

Cornflower tea – preparation and principal effects

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) is an annual plant growing to 40-90 cm tall, with lanceolate 1-4 cm long leaves and flowers of an intense blue colour (caused by the presence of protocyanin, the same pigment responsible for the red colour of roses). The flowers contain tannin and potassium salts and several other compounds which have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that explain its traditional use for treating conjunctivitis and irritations of the eye lids. Cornflower petals can thus accelerate the recovery from an ordinary eye fatigue and are also an efficient adjuvant in the treatment of actual eye diseases.

In order to take away the inflammation, Culpeper recommended the infusion to be dripped directly on the eyes, but still it is advisable to make a poultice from a petal infusion and to apply it only on the closed eyelids.

For a normal infusion, add 1 tablespoon of dried petals to a cup of hot boiled water and let steep for 15-20 minutes. For poultices, use only 200 ml of water.

Other uses

Internally, cornflower tea can be used for treating diarrhea and as an adjuvant in the treatment of various kidney diseases. It is supposed to be effective in cases of menstrual, liver and gallbladder disorders, vaginal yeast infections (also as a wash), fever, intestinal parasites and constipation. In combination with plantain, horsetail and comfrey, Culpeper recommended the infusion made from its leaves as a remedy against scorpion bites and all kinds of venom and poisons. And he also considered the wine macerate of its seeds or leaves to be effective against the plague and all infectious diseases.

Externally, a poultice made from a petal infusion can be used for relaxing facial muscles, for treating wrinkles and the dark rings bellow the eyes and also for wounds, eczemas and ulcerations (for the treatment of bruises and wounds, Culpeper recommended that the dried leaves be applied directly or as a powder). The petal infusion can also be used as an astringent mouthwash and a hair rinse.

Also, a cornflower facial mask (made by mixing 1 tablespoon of petals with the yolk of 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 of sour cream and 1 of honey) has remarkable regenerative effects, and a face steam with cornflower (in combination with marigold and chamomile) is quite relaxing for the skin and muscles.

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