Jaundice is yellowing of the white portion of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes that is caused by excessive amounts of bile pigments in blood tissues. Bilirubin is a yellow chemical in hemoglobin, the substance that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. As red blood cells break down, your body builds new cells to replace them. The old ones are processed by the liver. If the liver cannot handle the blood cells as they break down, bilirubin builds up in the body and your skin may look yellow.
The excessive accumulation of bile pigments is usually due to liver diseases or hepatitis, in which case, the yellowing is referred to as koshtaasrita kaamala in Ayurveda.
Saakhaasrita kaamalaa (surgical jaundice) on the other hand, defers to yellowing caused by an obstruction. Any thing from gallstones to a cancerous growth can cause the blockage and surgery is often required to remove it.
There are different types of hepatitis such as haemolytic jaundice, in which there is an increased production of bile pigment because of damage to red blood cells. Antibodies created by a mismatched blood transfusion can also cause damage.
Newborns can also have jaundice because of condition known as hyperbilirubinaemia. In these cases, there is a temporary defect in synthesis of the enzyme that breaks down bile to an external form.
Obstructive jaundice follows physical obstruction of the that transport pigment from the liver to the intestine. Blockage can be due to gallstones, tumours, or inflammation.
Hepatocellular jaundice occurs when liver cells are damaged either by viruses or by excessive intake of alcohol.
The disease is common during the rainy season. Poor sanitation and overcrowding favour the spread of infection, giving rise to water-born and food-born epidemics.
Jaundice-associated conditions include:
• Viral hepatitis (hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, hepatitis D, and hepatitis E)
• Drug-induced cholestasis (bile pools in the liver because of the effects of drugs)
• Drug-induced hepatitis
• Gilbert syndrome
• Autoimmune hepatitis
• Biliary atresia
• Blockage of the bile ducts (by infection, tumor, biliary stricture or gallstones)
• Congenital disorders of bilirubin metabolism
• Dubin-Johnson syndrome
• Hemolytic anemia
• Ischemic hepatitis (jaundice caused by reduced oxygen or blood flow to the liver)
• Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (bile pools in the liver)
• Newborn jaundice
• Pancreatic carcinoma
• Primary biliary cirrhosis
Symptoms of hepatitis vary depending on the specific cause of illness (virus, bacteria, toxin, etc) and flu like symptoms, which may include fever, a generally tired or ill feeling, loss appetite, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle aches. There may be itching all over the body. With significant liver inflammation, liver chemicals may build up in the blood and urine, causing the following symptoms: jaundice (a yellow tint to the skin and whites of the eyes), bad breath, a bitter taste in the mouth, dark teeth, colored urine and light clay colored stools. There is also pain or tenderness around the liver.
SELF HELP APPROACH
- Maintain personal hygiene and public hygiene.
- Wash your hands before eating and after going to toilet.
- Follow sanitary methods while disposing of the excreta.
- Purify your drinking water by filtration, adequate boiling and chlorination.
- Avoid raw milk and shellfish such as oysters especially from unreliable sources.
- When you are away from home, you can take coconut water. Fruits will also help quench thirst. But all fruits should be washed and peeled personally with clean hands. Avoid having ready-made fruit juices or fruit salads, which are handled by others.
- When eating out, only fresh food served steaming hot, should be taken. All foods served cold should be avoided.
- If you have a post history of jaundice, then you should not donate blood unless tested. Blood for transmission and blood products must be checked for infection to prevent post transfusion hepatitis.
- Choose safe sex. Practice monogamy with a uninfected partner, or use condoms.
- Avoid injecting illegal drugs.
- If you are about to undergo a surgery, ask your doctor about donating some of your own blood beforehand. If necessary, this blood can be transfused back to you during surgery
-In Ayurveda, during the initial stages of jaundice, usually mild purgatives are given. This is to stimulate the function of the liver and to increase the flow of bile in the bile duct. Trivrit, Kutaki and Triphala are used for the purpose. You can use the root bark of trivrit and rhizome of kutaki, either separately of mixed in a powder form. Daily take one to two teaspoonfuls with hot water. If you are preferred to use triphala choorna, you can take one teaspoonful of the same with warm water, twice daily. Two compound preparations that are commonly used to treat jaundice are avipattikara choorna and Aarogyavardhini vati. However, take them after consulting a physician.
-Bhoomyaamlaki (phyllanthus niruri), a small herb with numerous leaves, is commonly used in the treatment of all types of jaundice. One teaspoonful of the juice of the plant or fresh root in the form of paste can be taken thrice daily mixed with honey.
-the leaves of Guduchi (Gurjo In Nepali) or Tinospora cordifolia made into a paste with whey, may be used in 5gm dose with whey, or milk with dry ginger powder or turmeric reduced to pulv should be taken in the morning.
-the decoction of the three myrobalans or triphala, Guduchi (Gurjo In Nepali) or Tinospora cordifolia, Berberis asiatica or Chutro and the expressed juice of the bark of Melia Azadirachta (Bakaino in Nepali) mixed with honey may also be taken every morning.
Punarnava mandoor 2 tablet thrice daily should be taken for 2 to 3 weeks. Navaayas Loha taken in the dose of 125 mg thrice daily is an effective remedy for jaundice.
Other useful medicines are
- Rohitakyadi churna
- Kamalari vati
- Punarnavadi Mandura
- Arogyavardhini Vati
- Sheeta Rasa
- lohaasava and punarnavaasava.
Patent Ayurvedic Drugs for Jaundice:
MV LIV TABLET/SYRUP (Gorkha Ayurved Company)
Doses & administration : Adult : 2 tablets / tsf. three times a day. Children: 1 tablet / tsf three times a day. To be taken orally with water on empty stomach.