Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland situated in your neck just below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid gland is a very important gland as it is the chief gland working for your body’s metabolism. Apart from this, the thyroid also plays an essential role in maintaining your normal body temperature, for regulation of normal menstrual cycle, maintaining your weight, etc.
The number of people suffering from a thyroid condition are quite a lot and many of them are not even aware of it. Thyroid problems can be in two cases:
- Overactive thyroid or Hyperthyroidism – Most commonly occurs due to the auto immune disorder, Graves’ disease which causes over production of thyroid hormones and an over all over stimulating effect.
- Underactive thyroid or Hypothyroidism – Most commonly occurs due to an auto immune disorder, Hashimoto’s disease where the immune system attacks your thyroid thus, destroying its proper functioning.
11 Must Know Herbs for Thyroid Problems
Treating thyroid problems are tricky as the physician or doctor has to get to the source of imbalance and treat that rather than suppressing the symptoms. Moreover, the treatment plans extend over a long period of time and are also quite expensive. There are however, certain herbs that prove to be efficient in treatment of thyroid problems naturally, such as:
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb that provides several benefits for people with thyroid problems. It helps the body in coping of stress by altering the HPA – axis (Hypothalamic – Pituitary – adrenal axis). Ashwagandha also boosts endurance, thus helping the body to boost the immunity. In children, ashwagandha can be used as a tonic for its anti – inflammatory effects. One trick is to add some ashwagandha to dandelion lattes and protein balls for boosting your health.
Eleuthero is also commonly known as Siberian ginseng due to the reason that it’s impacts are quite similar to Panaz ginseng. This herb is an excellent use for both the people suffering from hyperthyroidism and also for those suffering from hypothyroidism. Eleuthero works by acting on the HPA – axis rather than on the thyroid and helps the body adapt to stressful situations. It also provides auto – immune support. If you have a problem with your adrenals (which people suffering from thyroid conditions usually do) then this herb will benefit you.
Licorice is helpful in protecting the thyroid from the oxidative damage and also helps in lowering cortisol levels. It is one such herb that is being used by integrative practitioners to help increase energy.
Guggul is an ayurvedic herb that is produced by the resin of the tree Mukul Myrrh. This contains a plant sterol that helps in balancing of hormones, in stimulation of thyroid functions and also in promoting the conversion of T4 to T3.
Your thyroid synthesizes thyroid hormones and releases them in the circulation as T4 and T3. T4 is the inactive form and only after it is converted to T3 in circulation, it starts its functioning. Guggul is one such herb that helps in promoting the conversion of T4 to T3.
According to certain animal studies carried out, it is shown that Lemon Balm reduces the levels of cortisol, stress hormone in the body. This would reduce anxiety and promote calmness in the body. Lemon Balm also increases GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) levels which is a neurotransmitter released. This would in turn promote relaxation and counter the feelings of anxiety and tension.
Promoting calmness and reducing stress in the body is essential as if this is not done then the elevated cortisol levels would elevate other hormone levels which would further cause inflammation. All this is just a cascade of havoc in the body.
Echinacea is a very common herb that is popular for its beneficial effect in enhancing immune system functioning. Once again both the people suffering from hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can take this herb. It is however important to purchase a high quality product in order to receive optimal results. Another important point to be noted is that Echinacea is not for everyone, which means some people benefit from it while other don’t.
It is an excellent herb for managing the symptoms of people suffering from hyperthyroidism. Once again, bugleweed works well for some and not for others. So, it is best to once consult with your natural healthcare professional. Bugleweed is however contraindicated in people suffering from hypothyroidism and also in hypothyroid women who are pregnant or lactating.
It is an excellent herb for people suffering with hypothyroidism. This herb is so useful that if this herb is taken along with other herbs and supplements, at the same time incorporating other lifestyle factors you can stop taking your synthetic or natural thyroid hormone prescribed to you. It is also believed that when this herb is combined with ashwagandha it can stimulate the production of thyroid hormone itself. Dr. Janet Lang, the founder of Restorative Endocrinology refers Bladderwrack as ‘liquid magic’ for those suffering with hypothyroidism.
Bladderwrack contains Iodine so some people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis don’t do well when taken this drug while others don’t have any problems. This herb is contraindicated in people suffering from hyperthyroidism and in women who are pregnant and lactating.
Turmeric is popularly known in India as the ‘holy powder’ or the ‘spice of life’. It contains polyphenols that gives it its rich anti – oxidant properties. It also helps to lower inflammation thus reducing the attack of immune system on the thyroid.
Ginger has potent anti – inflammatory properties thus helping in stabilizing the thyroid gland and reducing the risk of both hyperthyroid and hypothyroid conditions.
It is a nerve tonic that aids in the reduction of anxiety and also overstimulation issues that may trigger thyroid issues or be caused by the excess thyroid hormones. This herb helps to promote relaxation and calmness in the body.
Thyroid problems are quite prevalent among the society. It can be of two types – underactive or hypothyroidism and overactive or hyperthyroidism. Treating thyroid problems extend over a very long duration of time and are also quite expensive. Using natural herbs to treat thyroid issues are better as they cause minimal side effects. Some of these herbs are – ashwagandha, echinacea, turmeric, ginger, bladderwrack, Lemon balm, motherwort, guggul, licorice, eleuthero, and bugleweed.