Alternative health tips: herbal remedies for preventing and reducing puffy eyesThis article discusse how specific herbs can reduce the swelling that causes puffy eyes through the use of herbal infusions, tinctures, and extracts.
What Causes Puffy Eyes?
Puffy eyes are caused by an accumulation of excess fluid in the delicate tissues under or around the eyes, which results in localized swelling. A number of conditions can cause puffy eyes including allergies, water retention, aging, genetics, or serious medical problems such as kidney or thyroid disorders.
Often however, puffy eyes are the result of not getting enough sleep, hot and humid weather conditions, or fluctuations in hormone levels. To prevent puffy eyes on a regular basis, sleep at least 6 to 8 hours a night with your head elevated above your body, drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, and avoid eating too many salty foods, which can lead to fluid retention in some people.
Herbal remedies are also a solution for getting rid of puffy eyes. Herbs, such as Bearberry, Bayberry, Eyebright, Lungwort, Mouse ear, Mullein, Oak Bark, Raspberry leaf, St. John's Wort, Witch Hazel, and Yarrow are known to have astringent properties. These herbs contain tannins, which cause the proteins in skin to shrink, in effect tightening the upper layers of skin and firming up the skin. When applied topically as infusions, tinctures, or extracts, they are effective for reducing the swelling that gives eyes a puffy appearance. Infusions, tinctures, and extracts are liquids that contain the medicinal properties of an herb. Infusions are the least-concentrated of the three, while extracts are the most concentrated.
The most effective way to soothe and reduce swelling in puffy eyes is to soak a compress or washcloth in an herbal infusion using one of these herbs and apply it to the affected area. Making an infusion is similar to making a cup of tea using loose tea. Simply pour one cup of boiling water over one to two teaspoons of the medicinal herb, and then steep for ten to fifteen minutes.
An alternative to an infusion is to add approximately one part tincture or extract to 2 or 3 parts cool water. Tinctures and extracts are available commercially, although it is also possible to make them at home. Tinctures are made by macerating medicinal portions of fresh herbs (or dried herbs), which are then soaked in alcohol for a length of time that is specific to that particular herb. Extracts are made by a similar method except that water or a combination of water and alcohol is often used instead. The tincture or extract is then strained with a fine sieve to remove solids.
Tinctures and extracts are stored in small glass bottles with medicine droppers, which are used to dispense the liquid in the correct dosage. There are 28 drops in a milliliter, which is roughly equivalent to an ounce of liquid. The strength of an herbal extract or tinctures represents a ratio of herb to liquid. The strength of an extract is 1:1, while a tincture is 1:2 if fresh herbs are used and 1:5 if dried herb are used. Keep in mind that because of the different strengths of tinctures and extracts, if you use one ounce of extract, you will need the equivalent of 2 ounces or 5 ounces of tincture, depending on whether fresh or dried herbs were used.