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Jaundice (icterus) is not a disease. Rather, it is a symptom of an underlying disorder and refers to any condition which discolors the skin and the white of the eyes with the bilirubin.

Bilirubin is a breakdown product of hemoglobin, and is a by-product of red blood cell destruction by the liver. Normally, the liver filters this by-product from the bloodstream and excretes it into the bile ducts, the first step in bilirubin elimination. The inability of the liver to perform this function is the cause of most cases of jaundice.

Neonatal jaundice, otherwise referred to as physiologic jaundice or normal jaundice, occurs in more than half of newborns. In babies, the liver is not yet totally functional. As the liver finishes developing, the jaundice clears up. This may take a few days and usually does not involve surgery.

In other cases of jaundice, a physician should be consulted immediately. Treatment will be modified to the underlying cause, if it can be identified. Surgery may be required, especially if the condition is obstructive jaundice, or phototherapy may be required to lower bilirubin levels.


Primary Factors
The primary cause of icterus is the overabundance of bilirubin in the bloodstream. This results from one of four reasons:

Increased pigment production
Decreased liver uptake of pigment
Impaired liver conjugation where bilirubin is conjugated in the liver before elimination
Decreased liver conjugate release in the bile

Predisposing Factors
Liver disorders:
Obstruction of the bile duct by:
Pancreatic tumors
Malformation or total absence of bile ducts occurring in neonatal
Hemolytic anemia
Yellow fever
Glucuronyl transferase
Drug reactions

Signs & Symptoms

Skin, white of eyes, mucous membranes, and other tissues become yellow or greenish
Clay-colored bowel movements
Darkening of urine
Enlarged liver

Nutritional Supplements

Structure & Function:
        Antioxidants &
        Multi Vitamin/Multi Mineral Formulas

General Supplements

Adult Child/Adolescent
Beta-carotene 5 - 10 mg 2 - 5 mg
Chromium 50 - 10 mcg 50 - 100 mcg
Selenium 100 - 200 mcg 50 - 150 mcg
Vitamin A5,000 - 10,000 IU2,500 - 5,000 IU
Vitamin C4,000 - 6,000 mg2,000 - 3,000 mg
Vitamin E 200 - 400 IU 100 - 200 IU

* Please refer to the respective topic for specific nutrient amounts.

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Nutritional management of a jaundiced individual is in accordance with the underlying condition which caused the rapid destruction of red blood cells or failure of the liver.

If jaundice is due to hepatitis, dietary guidelines for hepatitis should be followed.

If jaundice accompanies anemia caused by increased red blood cell destruction dietary guidelines for anemia should be followed.

A Protein Restricted Diet should be followed to correct protein insufficiency, and to prevent protein wastage and the development of fatty liver.

In the case of chronic obstructive jaundice, biliary duct blockage results in steatorrhea with malabsorption of calories, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals.

Elements of a Low Fat Diet (Pritikin) or Low Fat Diet (Non Pritikin) should also be incorporated into the menu, because fats are poorly tolerated and absorbed by the individual in the absence of bile.

To prevent the symptoms of fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K should be supplemented.

Homeopathic Remedy

1.* Cholesterinum - 3X to 15C

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Tissue Salts

Ferr. Phos.early, inflammatory stage, painful liver;
Kali Mur.catarrh, constipation, white-coated tongue;
Nat. Mur.drowsiness, dry skin, water secretions;
Nat. Sulf.congested liver and gall bladder, flatulence, greenish stools;

Herbal Approaches


Dandelion root
Milk thistle

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Interestingly, Goldenseal conforms to the "Doctrine of Signatures" in that its yellow-green root signifies its efficacy in jaundice. Berberine (from Goldenseal and similar plants) has been clinically proven to stimulate the secretion of bile and excretion of bilirubin; thereby increasing bile volume in the gall bladder and decreasing bilirubin level.


Chan, MY: The effect of berberine on bilirubin excretion in the rat. Comp. Med. East West. 1977, 5:161-168.

Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.

Preininger, V: The pharmacology and toxicology of the papaveraceae alkaloids. Alkaloids, 1975, 15:207-251.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Geranium Essence,Lemon Essence,
Rosemary Essence,Thyme Essence.

Related Health Conditions

GallstoneHemolytic anemia
Pancreatic tumorPregnancy
Yellow fever



Alpers, D.H., R.E. Clouse, and W.F. Stenson. 1983. Manual of Nutritional Therapeutics. Little, Brown, and Company, Boston. 457.

Auerbach KG& Gartner LM Breastfeeding and human milk: their association with jaundice in the neonate. Clin Perinatol, 1987 Mar, 14:1, 89-107.

Davidson, C. 1978. Nutrition in Diseases of the Gastrointestinal Tract: Diseases of the liver. Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. 6th ed. R.S. Goodhart and M.E. Shils, eds.Lea and Febiger, Philadelphia.

Goldbaum, J.S. Vitamin C in the Use of Megascorbate Therapy in General Medicine. Austalas Nurses Journal, 11. 1982.

Guyton, A.C. 1976. Textbook Of Medical Physiology 5th ed. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 1194 pp.

Hargreaves, R.J. & K.R. Butterworth. Studies on the Effects of L-Ascorbic Acid on Hepatotoxicity. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 64. 1982.

Kirschmann, J.D. 1990. Nutrition Almanac: Nutrition Search. McGrew-Hill: New York.

Kunz, J.R.M. 1982. The American Medical Association Family Medical Guide. Random House Pub, New York. 832 pp.

Meehan JJ & Georgeson KE: Prevention of liver failure in parenteral nutrition-dependent children with short bowel syndrome. J Pediatr Surg, 1997 Mar, 32:3, 473-5.

Odell GB et al., Enteral administration of agar as an effective adjunct to phototherapy of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. Pediatr Res, 1983 Oct, 17:10, 810-4.

Orens, S. Hepatitis B: A Ten-Day Cure: A Personal History. Bulletin Of Philadelphia City Dental Society, 48. 1983.

Osborn LM et al., Jaundice in the full-term neonate. Pediatrics, 1984 Apr, 73:4, 520-5

Petersdorf, R.G. & R.D. Adams. 1983. Harrison's Principles Of Internal Medicine. 10th ed McGraw Hill Pub Co., New York. 2212

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