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My Love Affair With Calendula, Part II

I wear contact lenses. 

I have glasses as well, but they never quite felt right on my face, so I mostly just stick with my contact lenses. 

I also have chronic (life-long) insomnia.

If you wear contacts, you may know this already, but if not, I will tell you... insomnia and contact lenses do not mix. Wearing contact lenses for too many hours in a row doesn't allow the eyes to breathe, and wearing contact lenses for too many hours in a row for too many days in a row can lead to serious infection. I know this from experience. Painful experience. Painful experience I did not learn from the first time.

In 2000, I moved to a little town in New Mexico to study herbalism.  

Soon after moving to town, I made an appointment with a local optometrist to get a new pair of lenses. One of my eyes was irritated at the time, but since a year earlier I had a severe eye infection, in comparison it seemed like just an annoyance.

My optometrist did not agree. 

She not only found an infection, she also found significant scarring from the previous infection.

She prescribed me eye medication, but I was in the midst of my decade long anti-medication (not even vitamins) era and I refused to take it.

So, she refused to give me new contacts.

We settled on me using herbal remedies, and she would recheck my eyes a week later. She was skeptical of herbs, and was convinced that when I came back the next week, I would be asking for the allopathic medication. But, she was also interested in my experiment. 

Although calendula (Calendula officinalis) is not usually a herbalist's first choice for an eye infection, it was my new favorite thing, so I jumped on the chance to experiment with it.

I made a fresh strong decoction (a "tea") every night, and put it in the fridge to cool to use in the mornings. Every day, 3-4 times a day, I'd soak a cotton pad the tea, lay it over my closed eye, and lay down for as long as I could. Sometimes it was only five minutes, sometimes it was 30 minutes. 

Just a day or so into my experiment I felt relief.

When I returned to my optometrist the next week, she was surprised to see that my infection had cleared up, and was interested in learning more about calendula. She gave me my contacts, and we were both happy.

That day, I fell even more in love with calendula.



Reminder: I'm not a doctor. I'm just a girl who loves herbs, and likes to tell my stories of how I use them. This blog is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease.