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EVENING PRIMROSE (Evening Primrose oil) (Oenothera biennis)

DESCRIPTION:


Other Common Names: Evening Star, Moth-blossom, Night-opener, Tree Primrose, King's Cure-all, Evening Plant, Night Willow Herb, Scurvish, Scabish, Sun Drop, Field Primrose, German Rampion, Fever Plant
 
Botany: Annual or biennial, 1-3 m. leaves in basal rosette before anthesis, lanceolate, 10-22 cm long, 1 cm wide. Flowers are four-merous, and yellow. Fruit is a dry pod of 4 cm, with numerous minute seeds. It originates from North American pastures, old fields and roadsides. It is cultivated in Europe and North America and in other places for seed oil. 
 
History/Folklore: It is called Evening Star because the petals emit phosphorescent light at night. The generic name comes from the Greek oinos for “wine” and thera meaning “a hunt”, and is an old Greek name given by Theophrastus to the plant.  Also known as Moth-blossom and Night-opener.  As the old country names show, this wild plant really only opens at night. The fleshy roots, dug up in the autumn, are eaten in some countries, where they are cooked in oil and vinegar to make a kind of broth.
 
Commercial products: Oleum Oenotherae Biennis is the fixed (non-volatile) oil obtained from the seeds of Oenothera biennis L. (Onagraceae). The seed contains about 14% fixed oil.  The major constituents are linoleic acid (cis-linoleic acid) (65-80%), γ-linolenic acid (cis-γ-linolenic acid) (8-14%), oleic acid (6-11%), palmitic acid (7-10%) and stearic acid (1.5-3.5%).  Other constituents include sterols and triterpene alcohols.
 
USES
Botanical extract:
The plant is astringent and mucilaginous.  The leaf and stem may be infused to make an astringent facial steam bath.  Ingredients also have anti-inflammatory / antioxidant activity. Poultice is used to enhance wound healing and sooth pain.  The root is rubbed on muscles to give athletes strength.
 
Evening primrose oil fixed oil
Traditional use:  A favourite source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), this modern seed oil is well-known and much loved moisturizer and skin nutrient.
 
The oil has been used to treat nappy rash and psoriasis, skin eruptions, aging skin and general skin dryness. However, results from clinical trials do not support the use of Oleum Oenotherae Biennis for the treatment of psoriasis. 
 
The use of oil is increasing in cosmetic products, including hand lotions, soaps, shampoos, etc.  In hand creams it is used as a softening agent.
 

TOXICOLOGY:


Evening primrose oil has not been reported as having toxic or severe side effects.  Reports of side effects from using evening primrose oil in topical preparations for sunburn and other skin problems are the same as with any essential fatty acid supplement. (http://www.minddisorders.com)
 
There is a concern that evening primrose oil might increase the chance of bruising and bleeding. That is why in case of a bleeding disorder, use is not recommended. (http://www.webmd.com)
 
Not assessed for safety in cosmetics by industry panel.
 
EYEBRIGHT (Euphrasia rostkoviana F. Hayne , Euphrasia officinalis L., Euphrasia spp.)

DESCRIPTION:

Botany: Euphrasia (Eyebright) is a genus of about 450 species of plants in the family Orobanchaceae (formerly included in the Scrophulariaceae). They are small, herbaceous, mostly annual herbs growing semi-parasitically on grasses and other plants to 4dm, simple or freely branched. Leaves are opposite sessile, ovate to rotund, palmately veined, coarsely toothed above. Bracteal leaves tend to alternate. Flowers are small, four lobed and deeply cleft above. They grow in cold temperature regions, like subarctic or alpine areas of tropical mountains of Northern and Southern Hemisphere. Most commercial supply comes from Europe and limited wild harvests in North America. 
 
The parts used include the whole herb, the leaf, the stem, and small pieces of the flowers. 
 
History and/or folklore: The common name refers to the plant's use in treating eye infections. The name Euphrasia is from the Greek Euphrosyne, who was one of the Three Graces and was known for her joy, mirth and gladness.  Although known by the ancient Greeks it was not until 14th century that it is mentioned for 'all evils of the eye'.  
 
In traditional medicine Eyebright has been used internally and externally as a folk remedy to treat eye infections, benefit the digestion, gastric disorders, colds, hay fever, headaches, mucous membrane conditions, jaundice, rhinitis, and allergies.
 
Biochemistry: Botanical extract contains oleic, linoleic, linolenic, palmitic and stearitic acids, iridoid glycosides (aucubin, catapol, euphroside, eurostoside, geniposide, adoxosid, ixoroside, and mussaenoside), gallotannins, caffeic and ferulic acids, glucose, resins, and volatile oil.
 
Products: Euphrasia spp. botanical extract
 
USES: 
Eyebright has anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, astringent, tonic, antimicrobial, skin conditioning, and soothing properties, and is a stimulant to the liver to remove toxins from the body.
 
Euphrasia spp. botanical extract
In cosmetic, it is used as an antimicrobial agent and astringent for dry skin control, oily hair control, skin conditioning, and as a soothing agent and tonic in creams, lotions, shampoos, and hair conditioners. 
 
Eyebright water is used as a flavouring agent, masking agent, and perfuming agent.
 
Eyebright extract is mainly used in Europe as a rinse, compress or eye bath for eye irritations and eye-related inflammatory and vascular conditions, such as eye lid inflammation, conjunctivitis, secreting and inflamed eyes, catarrh of the eyes, and prevention of mucus secretion from eyes.  Typical preparations include a warm compress or tea.  Eyebright preparations are also available as a capsule.
 
TOXICOLOGY:
Eyebright extract used externally is generally considered to be non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.  The safety of this herb during pregnancy and lactation is not proven. Eyebright should not be taken internally by persons with liver problems and should not be taken in large doses as it can cause dizziness, liver upset, and nausea.