The herbs “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” were popularized in 1966 and 1967, first in the album of the same name by Simon and Garfunkel and then as one of the featured songs (“Scarborough Fair”) in the Academy Award nominated film, The Graduate.
When I was growing up my mother used them in her kitchen. I didn’t know then that they had been used for medicinal purposes by the Greeks in the time of Hippocrates and were also an important basis in Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Today, thanks to a wealth of scientific evidence, the beneficial effects of these, and other, herbs on our overall health and on our eye health, are well-documented.
Parsley, sage and rosemary are considered “superstars in Traditional Chinese Medicine.” That’s what Mao Shing Ni, L.Ac., D.O.M., Ph.D., best-selling author of Secrets of Longevity, writes on “The Dr. Oz Show” website, where he is one of the medical experts.
The month after Dr. Shing posted his comments, a 2012 study in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS) suggested that carnosic acid, which is present in rosemary extract, may have clinical application to Macular Degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Rosemary is considered a super antioxidant that boosts memory – acting like brain food – and there’s a long list of conditions that it’s used for. Sage, which increases oxygen to the brain cortex, is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to preserve mental function.
Did you know that your visual system uses 1/3 of all the oxygen you take in and 1/4 of all the nutrition that you absorb?
Parsley, a nutritional herb, protects vision by shielding the eye from UV radiation. Known as a flavonoid, meaning it contains antioxidant compounds, it is also a source of vitamins K, A and C, iron and folic acid.
Two other herbs that benefit vision and the visual system are bilberry and ginkgo (ginkgo biloba).
Bilberry protects the eyes against macular degeneration and supports healthy blood flow through the tiny blood vessels that deliver nutrients to your eye muscles and nerves. It is used to protect the eyes against Macular Degeneration and to minimize the harm caused by free radicals. One story tells of Royal Air Force pilots, during World War II, reporting that eating bilberry jam improved their night vision.
Gingko Biloba also increases blood flow and nutrient supply to the retina and the visual system and is used to improve vision naturally.
“What is important about the IOVS study,” said Drs. Michael Edson, MS, L.Ac., and Marc Grossman, O.D., L.Ac., in their Natural Eye Care Newsletter, “is that it is one more of many studies done to date showing the correlation between Macular Degeneration and essential nutrients getting to the eyes.”