The yellowish and greenish pigmentation of the skin due to a rise and accumulation of bilirubin levels in the body is termed as Jaundice. (Source: Wikipedia). It is also known as icterus, which occurs due to the accumulation of bile pigments in the body. The yellow pigment present in the hemoglobin that provides oxygen to the red blood cells is called bilirubin. As red blood cells break down new cells are formed to replace them. The liver’s basic function is to handle the old cells. If the liver is unable to handle the breaking down of red blood cells then the accumulation of the bilirubin takes place which results in Jaundice.
Causes of Jaundice
Some of the factors that cause jaundice are:
• Inflammation of the liver lowers the ability of the liver to secrete bilirubin
• Inflammation of the bile duct stops the bile duct from removing bilirubin resulting in its accumulation
• Hemolytic Anemia is a condition when large numbers of red blood cells are broken down resulting in the production of excess bilirubin.
• Cholestasis interrupts the flow of bile from the liver resulting in Jaundice
There are some rare conditions which may cause Jaundice are:
• Crigler-Najjar syndrome – This syndrome is generally inherited and the enzyme which is responsible for processing bilirubin is non-functional resulting in Jaundice.
• Dubin-Johnson syndrome – This is also an inherited condition which prevents bilirubin from secreting out of the liver cells.
• Pseudojaundice- Some people who eat lots of carrots, pumpkins or melon have skin that is yellow in color because of an excess of beta- carotene. This is a harmless form of jaundice.
Symptoms of Jaundice
Some of the symptoms that are commonly visible in all people suffering from jaundice are:
• Yellowish pigmentation of the skin, eyes, and nails
• Itchiness in the body
• Fatigue and a constant feeling of tiredness
• Sudden weight loss
• Abdominal pain
• Dark Urine
The three different types of Jaundice are:
• Pre-hepatic/ hemolytic – This kind of Jaundice mainly occurs because of hemolysis, which is a condition which leads to excessive breaking down of red blood cells.
• Hepatic/ hepatocellular – This kind of jaundice is generally because of an underlying disease like hepatitis, cirrhosis of liver etc. It may also be a result of an injury.
• Post-Hepatic/ cholestatic – This kind of Jaundice is a result of an obstruction or blockage in the bile duct which interferes with the bilirubin from leaving the liver.
Treatment of Jaundice
The treatment of Jaundice varies depending on the basic underlying cause behind the rise in bilirubin in the blood. If jaundice is a result of Anemia then iron supplements to increase iron in the blood is a solution.
Jaundice as a result of hepatitis then anti-viral or steroid medications are administered to the patient.
Jaundice as a cause of obstruction of the bile duct has to be treated with surgery.
How can Ayurveda help in case of Jaundice?
It has been widely said that all the answers to our health are available in nature. Jaundice is actually not a disease but is a cause of some other underlying factor.
Livonia a product from Branolia Chemical Works, with Triphala as a key ingredient is often considered to have therapeutic properties to enhance liver functioning. Triphala, is a combination of Terminalia chebula, Terminalia belarica, and Emblica officinalis, in equal proportions. (see reference – 7 & 8 below)
Livonia has been powered by Kalmegha, ( an important ingredient to fight liver related diseases) and sixteen other herbs which go into its production.