Jaundice is a disorder marked by yellowness of the skin as well as the eyes. An increased amount of bilirubin in the body triggers this condition. Bilirubin is the product that is left after the break down of red blood cells. The liver excretes bilirubin. But if too much bilirubin is produced because of an underlying illness, or the liver function has been impaired, it will lead to jaundice.
Which Illnesses does Jaundice indicate?
In adults, jaundice could be the symptom of any of the following illnesses or conditions-
• Reaction to a medicine
• Liver cancer
• Infection of the liver
• Liver parasites
• Cirrhosis of the liver
• Haemolytic anaemia
Jaundice may strike both adults as well as children. It is very common among babies who have been born preterm because their livers have not developed completely.
Jaundice in Siddha -
Siddha is a very old branch of medicinal science that cropped up in the southern part of India. According to Siddha, the human body mirrors the world around it. And our bodies too are made of the five elements- earth, fire, air, water and ether and three humours- Vata, pitta and Kapha. Usually, if there are too much of one of the elements in the body it may trigger an imbalance in the humor and this is at the root of all illnesses. So the aim of Siddha is to discover which humour is present in excess and then restore to balance.
Jaundice is mentioned in the ancient texts of Siddha medicine. It is called ‘manjal kamalai’. ‘Manjal’ means yellow and ‘Kamalai’ means losing interest. It refers to a common side effect of jaundice. The person afflicted by it often loses interest in food and his/her everyday duties and activities.
Jaundice, in the Siddha texts, is the result of the distortion of pitta humour and it turns the skin, eyes and tongue yellow. When a person consumes too much spicy and hot food or if the person is too active, pitta levels will rise. This leads to ‘pitta neer’ to mingle with blood, which will stagnate in different parts of the body.
According to Siddha, the symptoms of jaundice are -
• Constant fatigue
• Different parts of the body may turn yellow
• Fever and shivers
The medicines of Siddha are all derived from herbs. Jaundice medicine is taken in the form of powder or a paste that is applied to the forehead or mixed with milk and consumed.
A person is advised against staying out in the sun for too long. As for diet, meat, poultry, salt and tamarind are prohibited. Rice has to be cooked twice before consuming. Fast food should strictly be avoided. Vegetables should be fried in ghee. Some foods that Siddha recommends are -
Siddha is a safe and secure way to treat jaundice because unlike allopathy, it does not leave a lasting and detrimental effect on the human body.