Jaundice in the hippocratic corpus

Niki Papavramidou, Elizabeth Fee, Helen Christopoulou-Aletra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The Hippocratic physicians were among the first who described jaundice (icterus). The Hippocratic Corpus has numerous appearances of the condition, where its etiology, description, prognosis, and treatment are provided. The connection made between the liver and jaundice was remarkable, bearing in mind that the Hippocratic physicians had not performed dissections and that their medical views were based on observation. The Hippocratic doctors described five kinds of jaundice. The etiology was, as in most cases of diseases mentioned in the Hippocratic Corpus, "humoral" imbalance. The diagnosis and prognosis were based on the color of the skin, the urine, the feces, and several other factors, such as the season of the year during which the disease first appeared or the coexisting diseases. The treatment, finally, consisted of herbal medications, baths, diet, and blood-letting, depending on the type of jaundice in question. Finally, an attempt is made to correlate modern diseases with the Hippocratic types of jaundice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1728-1731
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Ancient medicine
  • Hippocratic Corpus
  • History of liver diseases
  • Icterus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology


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