Jaundice is caused by the increased levels of bilirubin in the blood. This results in yellow pigmentation of the white of the eyes, skin etc. Jaundice is classified into three categories namely pre-hepatic, hepatic and post-hepatic, based on the pathological conditions of the patient.
An increased breakdown of red blood cells can lead to pre-hepatic jaundice. When the pathological process is in the liver, for example hepatitis, this results in hepatic jaundice. Post-hepatic jaundice is also known as obstructive jaundice. Here the bile drainage is interrupted leading to jaundice. Hence a combination of liver function tests is essential in arriving at the diagnosis of jaundice.
The characteristic symptom of jaundice is the yellow pigmentation of the conjunctiva. The urine is yellow colored. There may be pain in the upper right abdomen area where the liver is located. Aversion to food, loss of appetite, vomiting, constipation etc are the other symptoms. In some cases there may be a mild elevation in temperature.
Kizhanelli is a very potent Siddha home remedy for jaundice. Kizhanelli is a tiny herb with very small rounded leaves. This can be found in plenty in damp areas like river banks and near lakes and ponds. Known as stonebreaker, the botanical name for this herb is Phyllanthus niruri.
Kizhanelli kudineer is a Siddha remedy for jaundice that can be prepared using kizhanelli, cardamom and tailed pepper (piper cubeba). A decoction of this herb is prepared with the whole plant along with two cardamom pods and two piper cubeba seeds in 200 ml of water. The water is reduced to one-fourth. 40 ml of this decoction is taken twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening.
Other alternative is to take the whole kizhanelli plant, two cardamom pods and two piper cubeba seeds and grind them to a thick fine paste using water as needed. A (kalkam) bolus of 5 gm is taken with buttermilk or milk two times a day. This is called ‘kizhanelli kalkam’ in Siddha medicinal texts.
Another herb that has a very beneficial effect on liver is ‘karisilankanni’, the False Daisy plant known for its anti-hepatotoxic activity. The ‘karisalai kalkam’ is prepared using a handful of karisalankanni leaves and pepper 1-2 gm ground to a fine paste. A bolus of 5 gm is taken twice a day with buttermilk.
For the treatment to be effective, these Siddha home remedies should be prepared fresh each time. Some time tested Siddha remedies for jaundice that are available in the market include sangu parpam, silajit parpam, annabedhi chenduram, mandoora chenduram etc.
Application of keezhanelli thailam or karisaalai thailam on the scalp for 10-20 minutes before bathing is a well known complementary treatment to those mentioned above. Pancha kalpam made of neem seeds, kadukkai, gooseberries, turmeric, and pepper is an alternative to these oils. This kalpam is applied on the scalp for 10-15 minutes and then washed off with warm, tepid water.
Karisalankanni and kizhanelli are easily available all over South India. Frequent consumption of these herbs strengthens the liver and helps prevent recurrence of jaundice.