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Icterus or Jaundice is a condition where skin and whites of the eyes become yellowish or greenish due to the high bilirubin content in blood. Jaundice can be non-serious to potentially fatal depending upon the level of bilirubin in blood. The bilirubin level in blood is within the range if it is below 1.0 mg/dL (17 µmol/L) and the level over 2–3 mg/dL (34-51 µmol/L) results into jaundice, high bilirubin is divided into two types- unconjugated (indirect) and conjugated (direct). Conjugated bilirubin can be confirmed by finding bilirubin in the urine. A high level of bilirubin damages the central nervous system.

Ayurvedic Description Of Jaundice :

The term Kaamla is used to define Jaundice in Ayurvedic literature. Ayurveda believes that with high intake of oily, spicy, sour, hot foods, alcohol, and sesame oil cause Pitta to go out of balance.  The aggravated Pitta impairs the blood, liver tissue and causes blockage in the channels of the liver. This Pitta is thrown back into the blood leading to discoloration of the eyes and skin. Sleeping in the daytime, excessive physical work, over indulgence in sexual activity, suppressing the natural urges of the body, psychological factors like lust, fear, anger, and stress can also be causative factors in cases of Jaundice.

Signs & Symptoms


  • Yellowish sclera
  • Dark urine
  • Pale feces
  • Itchiness
  • Low appetite
  • Burning sensation in the body
  • Indigestion

Causes and Risk Factors

Excessive workout

Too much of exertion leads to the Pitta aggravation and becomes the cause of Jaundice.


Stress impairs the normal body functions and hampers the liver functions which results into Jaundice.


Individuals with hereditary conditions like thalassemia or hereditary spherocytosis have more risk of developing jaundice from hemolysis.


Excessive consumption of alcohol gives fatty liver and disorders of liver that increases the risk of Jaundice.

Psychological factors

Fear, anger, violence are also some of the causative factors that aggravates Pitta that results in Jaundice.

Medical conditions

Conditions like typhoid, malaria, gallstones, and hepatitis that block the bile diet become the causes of Jaundice.

Self Care Tips

  • Avoid hot, spicy, oily, and heavy foods that aggravate
  • A vegetarian diet is recommended since meat or non-vegetarian foods are hard to digest in Jaundice.
  • Eat only light meals like daliya (coarse wheat) soup and khichdi to support the digestive fire.
  • Strictly avoid white flour, peas, preserved foods with additives, bakery products like cakes, pastries, and chocolates.
  • Augment the diet plan with brown rice, fruits like mangoes, tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, Indian gooseberries (amla), grapes, radishes, lemons, dried dates, raisins, almonds, and cardamom.
  • Avoid physical strenuous workout, stressful conditions like anxiety or anger.
  • Complete bed rest is advised.

Alcohol damages the functioning of the liver; hence there must be complete abstinence from alcohol.