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| Herbs for Cataracts? |
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Chester Lamar
Posted on: February 16, 2004
Is there an herb that would help with cataracts?
A cataract involves loss of sight from an eye resulting from clouding of the lens. It occurs mainly in aging due to lack of sufficient antioxidants in the blood stream or decreased blood circulation (that carries these antioxidants) to the eye, or diseases that cause a deficiency of antioxidants or of blood circulation. The goal of natural therapy is to keep a high level of antioxidants supplied to the eye.
The main antioxidants for the lens of the eye vitamins C, E and the carotenes, including lutein. Carotenes are best taken as food, in orange vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, spinach and broccoli. Glutathione is an important antioxidant for the eyes. Glutathione works more effectively when taken with foods containing high levels of sulfur such as onions, eggs and garlic. Equally important is avoidance of junk food, fatty food, fried foods, and rancid oils in stale nuts, seeds and salad dressing. These foods either require antioxidants to detoxify them or limit the intake of antioxidants in your diet.
Herbal help includes turmeric, which is a strong antioxidant and detoxifier. Turmeric can be used in cooking or taken as a supplement. Other antioxidant herbs like mint, rosemary, lemon balm, catnip and ginger, can be taken as teas or in food.
Bilberries or blueberries, provide nutrients to the eyes and strengthen the small blood vessels around the eyes. About one cup of blueberries a day provides excellent antioxidant and blood vessel protection. Other red and blue fruit, like cherries, plums, blackberries and raspberries are similarly beneficial.
Physical exercises and eye exercises are beneficial in supporting blood circulation to the eyes.
For more information. The Eye Care Revolution. By Abel, R. (1999, Kensington Publishing Corp, NY.) is an excellent resource. Alan Tillotson includes detailed information on cataracts in his book "The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook" (Kensington Publishing Corp. 2001). One of many books describing eye exercises and their benefits is "Improve Your Vision Without Glasses or Contact Lenses" by Beresford, Muris, Merrill and Young, published by Fireside.