Natural Remedies for Conjunctivitis

Reviewed by Terri Forehand RN
Terri Forehand RN Terri Forehand RN

Terri is a critical care nurse with over 35 years of experience. She is also a freelance writer and author.

sore eye

Conjunctivitis is a common problem, and there are several natural remedies used to treat it. Herbal and alternative treatments already available provide plenty of choices for the person who suffers from conjunctivitis, and information suggests these remedies are equally beneficial. It is important, however to seek medical diagnosis for eye problems and to consult with your doctor if you have any questions.

Conjunctivitis: A Brief Explanation

Conjunctivitis, also known as 'pinkeye,' is a painful inflammatory condition affecting the eye, causing the sufferer to experience:

  • Redness to the affected eye(s)
  • Weeping of fluid (not in all cases)
  • Irritation and discomfort
  • Blood shot eyeballs (not in all cases)

Conjunctivitis is known to be caused by:

  • Infection - Contact lens wearers are prone to this
  • Chemical or environmental irritation - Cigarette smoke is a known irritant
  • Allergy - Can be a symptom of hay fever

If left untreated, infectious conjunctivitis can be highly contagious. Outbreaks are a common problem in kindergarten due to the close proximity of affected individuals.

Choose Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for conjunctivitis are popular, with the use of fruit and vegetables, herbs, homeopathic and aromatherapy remedies being the most common choices.

Suggested natural remedy preparations are:

  • Poultice - Make a poultice of grated apple or grated red potato and place directly onto the eyelid, leaving it for at least 30 minutes. Perform this once per day and within three days the conjunctivitis is likely to be healed. Goats milk yogurt applied directly to the eyelids acts as a soothing pain reliever for conjunctivitis. Babul leaves (acacia Arabica), when made into a paste and applied to the eyelids at night, can help lessen the itchiness and irritation of the eye.
  • Juice Drinks - Mix the juice of Indian gooseberry with two teaspoons of honey, and drink this as a tincture twice per day. The juice of carrots and spinach are well known to have healing and soothing properties for those suffering conjunctivitis.


Eyebaths are another way to use soothing herbal treatments for conjunctivitis.

  • Cooled chamomile tea is a simple, yet highly beneficial, preparation when used as an eye bath.
  • The plant 'eyebright' is particularly effective in the treatment of conjunctivitis. A solution made of 3 drops of eye bright tincture (available at health food stores) mixed with one tablespoon of just boiled water can be applied as an eye bath once the liquid is cooled.
  • A decoction prepared with a handful of coriander mixed with 60mls of water, when used as an eye bath preparation, helps to reduce swelling and irritation.

Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathy for the treatment of conjunctivitis is fast becoming a popular remedy. Conjunctivitis sufferers need to undergo a full physical and psychological assessment before the most appropriate treatment can be chosen by the therapist. A combined approach to homeopathy is believed to enrich the benefits of the treatment.

  • Argentum nitricum - Used to treat eyes when they are swollen and exuding pus.
  • Belladona - Best used in the initial stages of conjunctivitis when the eyes are 'angry,' with swollen and sore lids.
  • Sulphur - Best used at the point when the eyes are red and swollen, and exuding unpleasant yellow pus.
  • Euphrasia - Also used at the point in which pus is present, it is also helpful for healing the gritty and dry discomfort.
  • Pulsatilla - For use when the eye discharge is yellow-green color.

Always Seek Medical Advice

As with any alternative remedy, it is essential that a qualified practitioner is consulted prior to using the treatment. There are contraindications to some treatments, particularly if taking other prescribed medication. Some herbal remedies can cause allergic reactions in and of themselves, which can exacerbate conjunctivitis. If symptoms persist or worsen, seek medical attention immediately.

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Natural Remedies for Conjunctivitis