Jaundice is characterized by a sickly yellow tinge to the skin and the whites of the eyes. The yellow pigment is called bilirubin, and is produced in the spleen when old or damaged red blood cells are destroyed. Normally the liver removes the bilirubin from the blood and sends it through the gallbladder and the bile duct into the intestines, where it colours the faeces brown. In someone with jaundice, the faeces are grey and chalky, and the urine is darker. Jaundice can be a symptom of something more serious such as cancer or cirrhosis. It may also be caused by steroids and other chemical drugs. A blood test should be carried out.
In Chinese Medicine it is a condition mainly connected with dampness in the liver and gallbladder. Chinese Herbs to clear the damp heat are very successful, particularly oriental wormwood and gardenia fruit. Corktree bark is also used. Jaundice due to liver cancer is considered to be a problem of blood stagnation and herbs to clear the blockage would be used.
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