Jaundice is a disease caused due to vitiation of the pitta dosha. It is called as kamala. When there is an excessive circulation of the bile pigments in the blood, then this disease is caused. Pitta dosha controls the bile pigments.
Hence, jaundice is a disease of the liver. It can occur when there is an obstruction in the bile duct, or if there is destruction of the red blood corpuscles. When a person has jaundice, their skin becomes yellow in color. This characteristic yellowness is seen even in the eyes and the fingernails. Stools and urine also get colored. The yellow color is an indication that the circulation of bile is in excess.
Along with the yellowness of the skin, there are other symptoms associated with jaundice. Indigestion occurs and the person becomes very weak. Jaundice may also cause the body to itch.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Jaundice
1. Berberis (Berberis vulgaris)
Berberis is a very effective herb for all kinds of liver ailments, especially jaundice. So effective is the herb that it is nicknamed ‘jaundice berry’. It is a bitter tonic which must be given to a jaundice patient several times a day in does of quarter teaspoons. The fluid extract of the fruit also has similar properties.
2. Chicory (Chichorium intybus)
All parts of the chicory plant are useful in the treatment of liver ailments. The flowers, seeds and roots are the most often used. The juice of the chicory can help in the treatment of sluggishness of the liver, obstruction of the flow of bile and the enlargement of the spleen; all of which are associated with jaundice. Chicory can also promote the healthy secretion of the bile.
3. Gokulakanta (Hygrophila spinosa)
The root of the gokulakanta plant is potent in the treatment of liver diseases such as jaundice and hepatitis. An infusion of the root of the herb in water is prepared and is given to the patient twice or thrice each day.
4. Indian Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)
Indian aloe is an excellent remedy for liver problems such as jaundice. For effective treatment, the pulp of one of its leaves is to be taken with black salt and ginger every morning for a period of ten days.
5. Indian Sorrel (Oxalis corniculata)
The herb is useful in treatment of jaundice. It is taken with buttermilk that is prepared from cow’s milk.
6. Picrorrhiza (Picrorrhiza kurroa)
Picrorrhiza is one of the two best Ayurvedic remedies for jaundice. It is known as kutki in Ayurveda. Powder of this herb is mixed with hot water and taken twice a day.
7. Snake Gourd (Trichosanthes anguina)
Snake gourd is taken as an infusion of its leaves for the treatment of jaundice. It is generally to be taken with coriander.
8. Turpeth (Operculina turpethum)
Turpeth is the other best Ayurvedic remedy for jaundice. It is known as nisoth in Ayurveda. The powder of this herb is prescribed mixed in hot water twice a day.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Jaundice
1. Sweet foods are suitable for a jaundice patient. For easy digestion, sweet foods in liquid form must be consumed, such as sugarcane juice, orange juice and juices of other fresh fruits. Dry grapes are also beneficial. Pomegranate is good for jaundice, though it has a slight sour taste.
2. Fresh vegetables must be included in the diet. They must be cooked in minimum oil and kept as green as possible. That is, the use of spices should be curtailed. Bitter vegetables like bitter gourd and the bitter variety of drumsticks are suitable to a jaundice patient.
3. The fat intake should be limited. Even curds must not be given to the jaundice patient. Buttermilk can be given if the butter has been carefully removed from it.
4. Alcohol is very dangerous to a jaundice patient. It can seriously complicate the disease, with fatal consequences. Hence, alcohol in any form must be avoided.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatments for Jaundice
Ayurvedic treatments for jaundice begin with a purgation therapy. This helps o remove the toxins accumulated in the liver and the rest of the body. Strong purgatives are avoided.
The drugs of choice for the treatment of jaundice are nisoth and kutki. Their roots are administered to the patient in powder form. The two herbs can be taken either together or individually, depending on the seriousness of the jaundice and the internal strength of the patient.
Avipattikara choorna and Arogya Vardhini vati are the usually prescribed medicines in jaundice. These are to be taken in teaspoonful quantities twice a day with water or with honey.
Another general medicine which can be used in all kinds of jaundice is the Bhumyamalaki. This is a short herb which is very rarely available. Its juice is given mixed with honey in a teaspoonful quantity thrice a day. Vasaka, Kakamachi and Triphala are the other drugs used.
(4) Home Remedies for Jaundice
1. Juices of bitter vegetables like the bitter gourd are very effective in treating jaundice. Mash the vegetable and extract their juices by pressing with a cloth. This juice must be ideally had in the early morning. One glassful of juice per day is recommended.
2. Prepare a cupful of juice of beetroot and lemon in equal proportions. Having this juice for a few days will definitely cure jaundice.
3. Extract juice of amalaki (Indian gooseberry, Emblica officinalis). Have this juice thrice in a day in a teaspoonful quantity. This is a potent remedy for all kinds of liver ailments.