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Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla
Raksha Ayurvedalaya: The Family Wellness Center

Conjunctivitis and Ayurvedic Treatment

Pinkeye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the underside of both the upper and lower eyelids and the covering of the white portion of the eye. The general medical term for this is conjunctivitis. Ayurveda calls this condition as netraabhishyandam.

Causes And Symptoms

  • In conjunctivitis, inflammation causes small blood vessels in the conjunctiva to become more prominent, resulting in a pinkish or reddish cast to your eyes. A virus, similar to the one that causes the common cold, usually causes it.
  • Due to this reason, it is usual to have the symptoms of a cold before, during, and after a bout of conjunctivitis. However, there are instances of conjunctivitis that are bacterial and allergic in origin.
  • A similar condition can result from an injury or if you rub your eyes too vigorously or it may also result from a foreign body in your eye.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by an allergy to pollen, cosmetics, animal skin and hair, skin medicines, air pollution, smoke, or other substances. In all cases of conjunctivitis, the white part of the eye turns red and feels gritty. There may be a mild sensitivity to light and excessive tearing.
  • There is often a yellowish discharge, which forms a crust overnight. Bacterial infection produces a marked pus-like discharge and crusting, whereas viral infection may cause only a slight discharge. Viral conjunctivitis, in contrast to bacterial, may have an associated swelling and tenderness of the lymph node in front of the ear on the affected side.
  • In allergic conjunctivitis, there is usually a long-standing redness and itching of the white of the eye without any discharge all year round, but more severely in the pollen season. Your eyes may water, or make tears. You may have a running nose and you may sneeze a lot. Less commonly, there is a sudden white puffiness of the conjunctiva, usually during the pollen season that disappears after a few hours.
  • With proper care, bacterial conjunctivitis will clear up in two to three days, viral conjunctivitis disappears on its own, usually within a week and allergic conjunctivitis takes one or two months to alleviate.


  • Do not touch the eye area with your fingers. If you wish to wipe your eyes, use tissues or clean and fresh handkerchief.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes.
  • With your eyes closed, apply a washcloth soaked in warm (not hot) water to the affected eye three to four times a day for at least five minutes at a time. (These soaks also help to dissolve the crusty residue of pinkeye).
  • Alternately, you can also put a cold compress over your eyes for relief (use a wash-cloth or small towel soaked in cold water or wrapped around ice cubes.)
  • Avoid wearing eye makeup until the infection has completely cleared up. (And never share makeup items and spectacles with others.)
  • Do not cover or patch the eye. This can make the infection grow.
  • Do not wear contact lenses while your eyes are infected.
  • Wash your hands often and use your own towels. Pink eye is very contagious and can be spread from one person to another by contaminated fingers, washcloths, or towels. Clean all of the personal items daily with soap and water.
  • Do not touch the infected eye because the infection will spread to the good eye.
  • If you can identify the cause of allergic conjunctivitis, it may be possible to prevent its occurrence. Anyhow, avoid airborne pollens, dust, mould spore and animal dander, or direct contact with chlorinated water or cosmetics.
  • Wear clothes only once before washing.
  • Changes pillowcase each night.

Ayurvedic Remedies

  • The root of the Berberis asiatica (Daaru haldi) is very efficacious in conjunctivitis. Make decoction by boiling two parts by weight of the root in 26 parts of water until the quantity is reduced to about three parts. Use it as an eye-ointment (collyrium) by mixing with honey.
  • The decoction of turmeric is a very cooling application in conjunctivitis; you can either wash your eyes with this decoction or apply the compress made with decoction over the eyes.
  • Trifala lotion is made by soaking 15 gm of Triphala choorna in 200 ml of water for half an hour, boiling and filtering it. This is used for washing the affected eyes 3-4 times a day.
  • Trifala churna orally about 5 gm with water is useful for viral infections.
  • The freshly extracted juice of amla in the dose of 2 teaspoonfuls thrice a day is rewarding.
  • If these self-help measures do not help, your doctor may prescribe Netrabingu and such eye drops for you. These lubricating eye drops can wash out your eyes, make the swelling go down, soothe irritation, and help relieve itching.
  • If these medicines do not give you enough relief, your doctor may suggest desensitisation therapy; your allergic reaction is reduced or stopped when you take small doses of the allergen. The small doses are slowly increased. This is one way to control long-term (chronic) allergic conjunctivitis. This concept is termed as okasaatmya in Ayurveda. For this purpose, the medicines like Chandrodaya varti are used externally.
  • Seek medical help if you have severe eye pain, eye sensitivity to the light, pus like discharge that is yellowish-green in colour, and persisting symptoms or worsened symptoms irrespective of self-care measures after 24 hours.


As we all are genetically different with different constitutions and patterns, we respond to treatments in many different ways. Hence Standard Ayurvedic Treatments are always individually formulated. This article is intended only for information. It is not a substitute to the standard medical diagnosis, personalized Ayurvedic treatment or qualified Ayurvedic physician. For specific treatment, always consult with a qualified Ayurvedic physician.


Dr. Murali Manohar Chirumamilla, M.D. (Ayurveda)
Plot No. 13, H.No: 16-2-67/13,
Ramamurthy Nagar (CBCID Colony),
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