Jaundice, also known as icterus, is a yellowish or greenish pigmentation of the skin and whites of the eyes. It is common in new born babies. Furthermore, prolonged experience of this condition can generate brain damage to the baby. Jaundice is also called yellow disease.1
There are some different types of jaundice: pre-hepatic, intra-hepatic, and post hepatic. Jaundice is commonly associated with itchiness. But, the most common sign and symptom of jaundice is the yellowish or greenish color of the skin and white area in the eye, pale color of the stool, and dark color of the urine.2
Jaundice most often occurs as a result of an underlying disorder that either causes overproduction of bilirubin or prevents the liver from properly disposing of it, both of which result in bilirubin being deposited in tissues. The cause of overproduction of billirubin are acute inflammation of the liver, inflammation of the bile duct, obstruction of the bile duct, hemolytic anemia, Gilbert’s syndrome, and Cholestasis.3
The Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment of jaundice generally involves arriving at the appropriate TCM diagnosis or pattern. This pattern within the individual is what treatment is based on not the general condition (see treating the cause and not the symptoms).
The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of jaundice: Spleen Qi Deficiency, Spleen Yang Deficiency, Spleen Invasion – Cold Damp, Spleen and Stomach Damp Heat, Stomach Dampness, Stomach Cold, Stomach Qi Deficiency. The following (5) acupuncture points are useful for jaundice SI-4, SP-9, BL-18, BL-22, BL-19. A subset of these could potentially be useful with acupressure stimulation and/or tongren therapy methods as well. Generally treatment would be based on the TCM patterns listed above instead of selecting points by function alone.
The specific acupuncture treatment for jaundice should be performed under the following pattern:
1. Damp / Heat; Treatment principle: induce diuresis, clear Heat, soothe Liver Gallbladder. Acupoints chosen: foot jueyin and shaoyang, BL-19, GB-34, LV-3, SI-4 (Yuan, separate clear from turbid, induce diuresis).
2. Dampness in low Jiao; Treatment principle: strengthen Spleen Stomach, induce diuresis. Acupoints chosen: GV-9 (below T9- level with inferior scapular border), CV-12 & ST-36 & BL-20 (damp), BL-19 & SP-6 (soothe Gallbladder, induce diuresis)
3. Toxic Heat; Treatment principle: clear Heat, detoxify, cool blood, clear Ying Xue Heat. Acupoints chosen: GV-14, GV-26, BL-18, BL-19 & GB-34 (purge Liver Gallbladder toxic heat), LI-4 & LV-3 (4 gates- purge heat, severe), HT-9 (bleed)
4. Yang deficient Cold; Treatment principle: warm mid Jiao, expel cold, transform Damp, strengthen Spleen. Acupoints chosen: foot taiyin and yangming, LV-13 & BL-20, CV-12 & ST-36,(warm and transform), SP-6, *SI-4 (empirical for jaundice).4
- Jaundice – medlineplus.gov – 2017, https://medlineplus.gov/jaundice.html
- Jaundice – nhs.uk – 2017, http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Jaundice/Pages/Introduction.aspx
- Jaundice: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments – medicalnewstoday.com – 2016, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/165749.php
- Chinese Herbal and Acupuncture Treatment Protocols for Jaundice – theory.yinyanghouse.com – 2017, https://theory.yinyanghouse.com/conditions-treated/alternative-natural-options-for-jaundice