Jaundice is the most common of all liver disorders. It is a condition in which yellow discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes occur due to an increase in the bile pigments, namely, bilirubin, in the blood.
Causes and Symptoms
The symptoms of jaundice are extreme weakness, headache, fever, loss of appetite, severe constipation, nausea, and yellow discoloration of the eyes, tongue, skin, and urine. The patient may also feel a dull pain in the liver region. Obstructive jaundice may be associated with intense itching.
Jaundice may be caused by an obstruction of the bile ducts which normally discharge bile salts and pigment into the intestine. The bile gets mixed with blood and this gives a yellow pigmentation to the skin. The obstruction of the bile ducts could be due to gallstones or inflammation of the liver, which is known as hepatitis, and is caused by a virus. Other causes of jaundice are haemolytic anaemia and certain diseases affecting the liver such as typhoid, malaria, yellow fever, and tuberculosis.
Bitter Luffa: The juice of bitter luffa is regarded as an effective remedy for jaundice. It is obtained by pounding and squeezing the bitter luffa through cloth. The juice should be placed on the palm of the hand and drawn up through the nostrils. This will cause a profuse outflow of a yellow-coloured fluid through the nostrils. The toxic matter having been evacuated in a considerable quantity, the patient will feel relieved. This is, however, a strong medicine and may cause side-effects like giddiness, migraine, and, at times, high fever for a short duration in patients with a delicate nature. Its use should, therefore, be avoided by such patients.
If the juice of green bitter luffa is not available, it can be substituted by two to three drops of the fluid obtained by soaking its dry crusts overnight in water. This will produce an identical effect Seeds of bitter luffa which are easily available can also be used for the same purpose after rubbing in water.
Radish Leaves: The green leaves of radish are another valuable remedy for jaundice. The leaves should be pounded and their juice extracted through cloth. Half a litre of this juice should be taken daily by an adult patient It induces a healthy appetite and proper evacuation of bowels, and this results in gradual decrease of the trouble. In most cases, complete cure can be ensured within eight or ten days.
Tomato: Tomatoes are valuable in jaundice. A glass of fresh tomato juice, mixed with a pinch of salt and pepper, taken early in the morning, is considered an effective remedy for this disease.
Snake Gourd Leaves: The leaves of snake gourd have also been found useful in jaundice. An infusion of the leaves should be prepared by mixing 15 gm of dry leaves in 250 ml of boiling water. Next, a decoction of coriander seeds can be prepared by boiling one tablespoon of coriander seeds in 500 ml of water till it is reduced by one-third. The infusion should be given in doses of 30 to 60 ml, mixed with the decoction of coriander seeds, thrice daily.
Pigeon Pea Leaves: The green leaves of pigeon pea, a leguminous plant – the beans of which are used for dais – are considered useful in jaundice. The juice extracted from these leaves should be taken in doses of 60 ml daily. Marked improvement will follow its use.
Almonds, Dried Dates and Cardamoms: A mixture of almonds, dried dates, and cardamoms is regarded as an effective remedy for jaundice. Eight kernels of almonds, two dried dates, and five small cardamoms should be soaked overnight in water. The outer coating of the almond kernels and the inner seeds of dried dates should be removed the next morning and the whole material should be rubbed into a fine paste. Then, fifty grams of sugar and an equal amount of butter should be mixed in it and the patient should lick this mixture.
Sugarcane Juice: One glass of sugarcane juice, mixed with the juice of half a lime, and taken twice daily, can hasten recovery from jaundice. It is, however, very essential that the juice must be clean and preferably prepared at home. Resistance is low in jaundice and any infected beverage could make matters worse.
Lemon: Lemon is also beneficial in the treatment of jaundice. The patient should be given 20 ml of lemon juice mixed with water several times a day. This will protect the damaged liver cells.
Barley Water: Barley water drunk several times during the day is another good remedy for this disease. One cup of barley should be boiled in three litres of water and simmered for three hours.
Jaundice Berry: The herb jaundice berry, botanically known as Berberis vultaris is very useful in jaundice. The pulverized bark should be given several times a day in doses of one-fourth of a teaspoon in the treatment of this disease, or the fluid extract should be given in 2-4 ml doses.
A mild form of viral jaundice can be cured rapidly by diet therapy and physical rest. Recovery is however, slow in jaundice caused by obstruction in the bile ducts, depending upon the cause and removal of the cause. The patient should be put on a juice fast for a week, and he should rest until the acute symptoms of the disease subside. After the juice fast, he may adopt an all-fruit diet for a further three to five days, taking three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits at five-hourly intervals. Thereafter, a simple light carbohydrate diet with exclusion of fats, best obtained from vegetables and fruits, may be resumed.
Digestive disturbances must be avoided. No food with a tendency to ferment or putrefy in the lower intestines like pulses and legumes should be included in the diet.
The patient should undertake only moderate exercise, fresh air baths, and adequate rest.