Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Burkemper


Eye Health


Q: I have been having a lot of headaches lately.  How do I figure out the cause and what can I do to relieve the pain?

A: Headaches can be very difficult to figure out.  There are many factors that can contribute to your headaches.  For example:  weather, allergies, hormonal activity, diet, and environmental problems to name a few.  Headaches can be serious and you should be checked by a physician if they persist.  In the meantime, it is a good idea to keep a headache journal so that you may be able to see a pattern of when your headaches occur.  Write down the time of day and what you are doing when your pain starts.  Also keep track of what you ate and drank and any differences in your normal routine.  Many times it will be obvious what your headache is stemming from and you can change your diet or routine accordingly.

To help relieve the pain, try using white willow bark, which is an herbal aspirin that will not upset your stomach.  Rubbing peppermint oil on your temples and back of the neck is also helpful.  For migraine relief, I recommend taking 400 mg. of magnesium citrate in the evening and 325 mg. of feverfew in the morning for prevention.


Q: What vitamins and/or herbs do you recommend for eye health?

A: I am so glad you are taking a proactive approach to your eye health.  Many people think eye problems are genetic and nutrition won’t really help.  In 2001, the National Eye Institute conducted an Age-Related Eye Disease Study that indicated age-related macular degeneration is a nutrition-responsive disorder.  The most effect vitamins for this disorder are, C, E, zinc and beta-carotene, combined.  Lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful.

Lutein has shown to be helpful with glare recovery, contrast sensitivity and visual acuity.  Zeaxanthin helps protect the retina from damaging effects of light.

For cataracts, Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and zinc seem to reduce the risk.

Vitamin C has been found to reduce pressure in the eye and helps to preserve the collagen in the eyes’ drainage tubes.

Omega 3’s are extremely beneficial for dry eyes.

Bilberry and Eyebright are also wonderful herbs to use for strengthening the eyes and general eye health, including night blindness.

You can generally find an eye supplement which contains most or all of these vitamins in one easy capsule.

This herb information is for health education purposes only.  It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners.  Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins?  Send them to Cathy Burkemper, CNHP and Certified Herbalist.  Write to:  Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO  63011.