Herbal Remedies for a Stye Infection

As described by the Mayo Clinic, a stye is a small bump caused by the infection of an eyelash follicle 1. Several lifestyle changes can be made to reduce the occurrence of styes. Do not use old eye makeup or stop using eye makeup altogether. Wash your hands regularly, especially if you wear contacts. Improve your diet and overall health, because styes are a sign of a depressed immune system. You need to seek help if a stye interferes with your vision or you are continuously getting them, otherwise you can treat them yourself with herbal remedies.


As shown by naturopathy expert Dr. Geovanni Espinosa in "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments", the potato has astringent qualities that shrink body tissues and can give relief to skin irritations 2. To utilize a potato in this manner, grate it, wrap it in cheesecloth and apply it directly to the stye.


According to the "PDR for Herbal Medicine", while goldenseal has not been studied extensively, its active compounds--berberine and hydrastine--have. These studies provide evidence of goldenseal's antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. Goldenseal is used in enough eye-remedies that it is also traditionally known as eye balm and eye root. Goldenseal extract is a bright yellow liquid. To use it to treat a stye, mix it into an eyewash, or use an eyedropper to drop it into the eye four times a day.


In "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments", both herbalism expert Dr. David Kiefer and naturopathy expert Dr. Geovanni Espinosa suggest making a compress out of chamomile, for its anti-inflammatory effects 2. Steep 1 tsp. dried chamomile in 1 cup hot water. Strain the herb out, then soak a cloth in the liquid and place it on your closed eye for five to 10 minutes. Do this whenever you need relief from the inflammation. Dr. Geovanni says that fennel seeds and marigold can also be used in the same manner.


According to the "PDR for Herbal Medicine", eyebright is used by traditional medicine in the treatment of many eye problems, including styes. The chemical compounds found in eyebright are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. The strongest is aucubin, which has been proven in studies to have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, though eyebright itself hasn't been tested for eye treatment. In "1000 Cures for 200 Ailments", Dr. David Kiefer suggests that you make an infusion by steeping a handful of dried eyebright in a bowlful of boiling water 2. Once the infusion has cooled to warm temperature, strain it. Dip a washcloth into it, squeeze out the excess liquid and apply it to the closed eye. He warns that eyebright is only for external use.