Objective: Neonatal jaundice is a common clinical finding in newborns. The efficacy and safety of phototherapy for neonatal jaundice have been firmly established, but it has some side effects, thus herbal therapy has recently received special attention. Herein we investigated the efficacy of Zizyphus jujuba for treatment of jaundice in neonates compared to phototherapy.
Methods: In this clinical-trial study, a total of 121 neonates aged 2-14 days hospitalized for jaundice, were randomly assigned into experimental group including 63 patients who received Zizyphus jujuba's fruit extract 1ml/Kg 3 times a day and phototherapy, and control group of 58 cases receiving phototherapy with distilled water. Bilirubin level during hospitalization in both groups was measured daily.
Findings: Experimental group stayed in hospital for 3.47±0.3 days. None of the neonates in this group was hospitalized more than 7 days. In controls, hospitalization was 3.67±0.4 days. 2 cases stayed more than 7days. The bilirubin level had decreased in both groups. Decrease of serum bilirubin in experimental group after 12 hours was statistically significant compared to control group (P=0.026). In experimental group, after taking the herb for 1-2 days, 3 children developed slight diarrhea which resolved spontaneously.
Conclusion: The results indicate that Zizyphus jujuba was effective for the treatment of neonatal jaundice in first 12 hours of treatment compared to controls which could be due to higher effect of Z. jujuba extract to reduce bilirubin concentration with different mechanisms.
Keywords: Hyperbilirubinemia; Neonatal Jaundice; Newborn; Phototherapy; Zizyphus Jujuba.