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The healing power of yellow

Updated: Apr 15

Colors are an indispensable part of life and nature. From signaling danger and forms of communication, to triggering powerful neurotransmitters that stimulate our feelings and how we act- let’s dive deeper into color theory and explore the healing power of the color yellow.

Bright sunflowers shines with a bee receiving pollen
The healing power of yellow

The healing power of yellow

Colors are basic tools of communication in our human and the natural world. Plants can use yellow to attract pollinators, and some animals use it as a flashy warning to potential predators. We borrow these cues from nature at times using yellow to signify things to pay attention to, or in times of danger to stay away.

Color theory

The power of color


Color Theory

Since colors have the capacity to affect emotional, cognitive and physical worlds of individuals, they can have stimulating, depressing, repulsive or attractive effects (Korkmaz, 2016). Colors are divided into groups of cold and warm colors based on their intensity, temperature and their mental effects on individuals.

The temperature of color is its perceived warmth or coolness. Warm colors are produced when the sunlight passes through a prism and they verge on the color red. Warm colors are red, yellow, orange and brown, which are lively, attractive colors that give energy to individuals and stimulate the emotion of liveliness. Colors with less vibration that produce cool and calm emotions are blue, purple and green are called cool colors. Cool colors tend to recede, while warm color temperatures are perceived as advancing (Cole, 2013).

How do you feel seeing the sun shining brightly?

Or a giant bouquet of luminous sunflowers?

The radiant color of yellow promotes happiness and optimism more than any of the other major colors and has a stimulating effect on the mind.

The Power of Color

Light and color have a powerful effect on the formation of the physiological status of the human body. The brain releases more serotonin when a person is surrounded by the color yellow, which is why this color stands as a symbol of happiness and positivity (Fehrman, 2003).

Neurotransmitters explained: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, endorphins
SEELEDU explains Neurotransmitters

While it’s an energetic color, this intensity can also have a downside. Sometimes yellow can come off as aggressive or even confrontational. Some people may be left feeling irritated or even angry when surrounded by yellow.

Color Therapy is a set of principles used to create harmonious color and color combinations for healing. This form of energy medicine is based on the belief that color is energy. The energy vibration of that color is what you need. Light Therapy has been valued throughout history as a remarkable source of healing. Today, the therapeutic applications of light and color are being investigated in major hospitals and research centers worldwide. The oldest form of light therapy is natural sunlight, which is the ultimate source of full-spectrum light.Yellow is the color the human eye sees when it looks at light with a dominant wavelength between 570 and 590 nanometers (Hunt, 2011).

Golden broken egg yolk oozes over white plate accompanied by radishes
Bright yellow egg yolks receive color from carotenoids

Yellow foods such as bananas, lemons, saffron, turmeric, chard, peppers, marigold, calendula, nasturtium, dandelion and more can instantly improve your health and wellness and be an instant mood booster! They can also boost skin health, hair health, bone health and dental health. They promote the body's production of collagen, an important anti-ageing component, and also balance the body's pH levels. Other benefits of naturally yellow foods include maintenance of healthy skin, wound healing, and stronger bones and teeth!

Carotenoids give the characteristic yellow color to autumn leaves, corn, canaries, daffodils, and lemons, as well as egg yolks, buttercups, and bananas (Armstrong, 1996). Carotenoids absorb light energy and protect plants from photodamage in some cases. While bright tulips are an uplifting sign of spring, the sunflower's yellow color symbolizes vitality, intelligence, and happiness. The color yellow also traditionally symbolizes friendship.

The healing power of yellow across cultures

Across cultures yellow is viewed as a powerful energetic color. In Japan, yellow is the color of courage, while in Egypt, yellow is the color of mourning. Germans use the color yellow when they feel envious and say “Gelb vor Neid” and because it was widely available, yellow ochre pigment was one of the first colors used in art – the Lascaux cave in France has a painting of a yellow horse 17,000 years old.

Yellow is also powerful in various traditional and holistic medicinal practices.To the first nations of the America’s yellow is a main color in the sacred symbol of the medicine wheel. The four colors (black, white, yellow, and red) embody concepts such as the Four Directions, four seasons, and sacred path of both the sun and human beings (NPS, 2020).

the chakras are highlighted on an outline of a sitting person in lotus position.
Chakras. Image courtesy of Yogapedia

In the Indian culture and tradition of Ayurveda, the Sanskrit name of the solar plexus chakra, Manipura is associated with the color yellow. Manipura means city of jewels, and is believed to be found between the ribcage and the navel.

The manipura chakra is tied to the fire element. The solar plexus chakra is the center of self-esteem and emotions like ego, anger, and aggression. It is thought to present itself on a physical level through digestive problems, liver problems, or diabetes. On an emotional level, if the solar plexus chakra is imbalanced, it is believed to cause feelings of depression and low self-esteem. When it’s balanced, it would become a source of energy, productivity, and confidence (Judith 1996; Chishti, 1991; Sun, 1999).

Boy sits with hands over manipura solar plexus chakra in meditation
SEELEDU Explorer practicing solar plexus meditation

Miyah and Bikah (2014) of the Tibb institue in the art of traditional African healing practices, place emphasis on the quality of colors and their relation with the temperaments, as well as its corresponding effects on the body by the autonomic nervous system. According to Aristotle, “temperament is the particular nature of a Person, Body and Soul”. Temperments help to individualize an individual and are of importance and consideration in homeopathy.

In this regard the color yellow is associated with the Bilious Temperament which has hot and dry qualities. Yellow stimulates the nervous system and the intellect, which has an alkalising effect and which strengthens the nerves. Yellow is linked to the element, fire, with characteristics of a fiery-temper, excitable, short tempered, impatient, and impulsive, with a restless nature and is prone to behavioral disorders (Mayer & Bikhah, 2014).

Yellow is further associated with the energetic and stimulating effects of the sympathetic nervous system and its link to the heart and vital faculty. The vital faculty regulates the immune/muscular systems and it controls muscular tissue. It vitalises the organism so that it can function optimally, as well as co-ordinating the responses of the body (Mayer & Bikhah, 2014). It governs the circulation, lymphatic system, cellular metabolism and the immune response, as well as respiration, and muscular skeletal systems. It also supplies blood to the limbs via the heart, thus increasing circulation and preventing necrosis.

In western psychology Jung utilized the principles of yang and yin in the symbolic power of color and its significance in the expression of emotions through painting. Jung believed that color enabled people to explore the deep, unconscious part of the psyche and to integrate it with the conscious part in order to achieve ʻwholenessʼ. Jung also used yellow as a key dynamic in his insights discovery psychometric tool. Based on his psychological theory, each personality type is a mix of: introversion, extraversion, thinking, feeling, sensing or intuition. Yellow was associated with the inspirer, an extraverted -feeling personality. Personality traits associated with yellow were: sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, creative and persuasive.

4 bees exit a yellow hive in various directions
SEELEDU Bees exiting the hive

Benefits of Utilizing Yellow

Yellow is associated with energy and vibrancy. Symbolic of laughter, hope, and sunshine, as well as being playful, cheerful, optimistic, joyful, and happy it has energetic and active qualities drawing from nature. Using yellow in visualizations, using yellow light, eating a diet rich in yellow foods and nutrients, activating the manipura chakra over the stomach, can all assist in improving daily wellness through stimulating movement, helping digestion, fostering cognitive awareness and neural growth, strengthening the nerves, and particularly useful in relieving lethargy, tiredness or depression especially during the dull days of winter. Yellow is one of our go to feel good colors promoting empowerment, confidence, vitality and energy.

Take a cue from yellow today and be bold!

What can SEELEDU do for you?

SEELEDU explores the journey of being human and nurtures nature connections for health and well-being. SEELEDU is based in science and grounded in nature. Practicing in ecopsychology and recognizing the mutual compassion and nurturing ability between nature and humans, SEELEDU offers live and online programming, development and learning for holistic, whole-body well-being.


Chishti, G.M. (1991). The Tradtional Healerʼs Handbook. A Classical Guide to the Medicine of Avicenna. USA: Healing Arts Press.

Fehrman, K. (2003). Colour: The secret influence. Pearson.

Hunt, R.W.G., & Pointier, M.R. (2011). Measuring Color, 4th Edition. London: Wiley.

Judith, A. (1996). Eastern Body, Western Mind.

Koca E, Koç F. (2008). Clothes Choıces and Colour Preference of Workıng Women Electronic Journal of Social Sciences. 7(24):175.

Mayer, L & Bhikha, R. (2014). The physiology and psychology of color. Tibb Institute: A science of medicine, the art of care.

National Park Service. (2020). The medicine wheel.

Sun, H. & Sun, D. (1999). Colour Your Life. How to use the Colour Reflection Reading for insight and healing. London: Biddles Ltd, Guildford and Kingʼs Lynn.

Sveda, K., Özer, Ö., Kaya, S., & Kazgan, A. (2016). The correlation between color choices and impulsivity, anxiety and depression. European Journal of General Medicine. 13(3): 47-50.

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1 Comment

Go Yellow. Terrific research.

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