Hypothyroidism is becoming a wide spread problem, thanks to unhealthy lifestyle, stress, obesity and many other things that add to your daily woes. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone for the effective function of the body. Though certain types of thyroid deficiencies like Hashimoto’s disease falls in the autoimmune category and cannot be treated as such, there are other forms of hypothyroidism that can be effectively controlled with the use of herbal medicine.
Herbal medications are generally considered safe for most people. But there could be drug interactions and side effects which can catch you off guard in some cases. Therefore, before starting on a herbal remedy, it is imperative that you seek the help and guidance of a herbal practitioner and in this case, an endocrinologist as well before using them. For hypothyroidism, it is also important to stay away from certain foods that can worsen the situation and tamper with iodine absorption and blockage in your body. A combination of herbs and diet will help you control the symptoms adequately.
Herbal Remedies for Hypothyroidism
Seaweeds are known to be great source of iodine and this can help people with hypothyroidism and other forms of thyroid deficiencies due to iodine. Bladder wrack improves the function of the thyroid gland and also regulates the metaboilic functions of the body as well. The general dosage recommended for hypothyroidism is 200 mg per day. However, individual requirements vary and this must be decided by a herbal practitioner or endocrinologist.
Bladder wrack can also be consumed as a tea or tincture. However, the best benefit comes from including it in your food. It is contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Bladder wrack must also be not taken when you have hyperthyroidism.
An ayurvedic herb of great medicinal value, aswagandha is used for treating several diseases of the body. Though Aswagandha does not have any characteristics that make it a herb that corrects hypothyroidism, it is s stress reducing herb and helps the body to cope with extreme stress, which too can lead to thyroid function disorders.
As thyroid glands are known to become less functional when a person is under stress, aswagandha can help in such cases. 500 mg is the recommended dosage for hypothyroidism. However, for mild cases, you might need a lesser dose than specified above.
Nettle is another herb that is wonderfully helpful when you have hypothyroidism. Nettle is rich in iodine and helps patients with hypothyroidism and iodine deficiencies that can lead to goiter. Nettle oil massage can be given to the thyroid gland every day for stimulating the production of thyroid hormone.
Take some warmed oil and massage on the front of the neck on both sides where the thyroid glands are located. This is helpful in increasing blood circulation to the glands and stimulating hormone production. Nettle tea can also be consumed on a daily basis to keep the hormone levels regulated.
Eleuthero is not a herb that directly impacts the thyroid gland. But this herb is known to solve adrenal problems that can help deal with stress appropriately and prevent aggravation of thyroid function. This herb is generally considered safe for long term usage.
Severe adrenal problems come hand in hand with thyroid disorders and you need long term treatment for several months before the problems are brought under control and thyroid functions regained to normalcy. Eleuthero is also an immune boosting herb and helps the person to recover from weak immunity as well.
Black cohosh comes of help mostly for women who develop hypothyroidism due to estrogen deficiency in the body. This is very common during menopause when the estrogen balance in the body is tampered with and women develop hypothyroidism and associated problems. Before taking black cohosh, one must check if the hypothyroidism is indeed caused due to estrogen deficiency.
Black cohosh supplements help only if the hypothyroidism is the result of low estrogen levels in the body. Intake of this herb will help in regulating estrogen in the body and preventing many other distress caused at the time of menopause.
Vitus Agnus Castus
Vitus agnus castus is another herb that helps women who are suffering from hypothyroidism caused due to estrogen deficiency in the body. Again tests have to be conducted to check for estrogen deficiency before treating with this herb. Vitus agnus helps in improving the thyroid gland function by regulating the estrogen levels in the body.
Rich in plant based omega 3 fatty acids and phytoestrogens, flax seeds are also rich in antioxidants and help in treating obesity as well which arises due to slow metabolism of people who are hypothyroid. Essential fatty acids are required for the proper function of the body and optimum thyroid function. Taking a teaspoon of flax seed extract in the form of oil is recommended for people with hypothyroidism. Even normal people can consume flax seeds for preventing a host of health problems.
Evening primrose is known to regulate thyroid gland functions and prevent hypothyroidism by stimulating the gland to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone. Take one teaspoon of evening primrose extract oil once a day. It helps if you combine flax as well as evening primrose oil together to get a better effect on your body.
Guggul, which is commonly known as commiphora mukul, is herbal extract that is widely used for treating disorders of the thyroid gland. Guggul is also great for treating cholesterol related disorders and reducing weight problems that too is a problem when you have hypothyroidism. Liquid extracts are taken 3-4 times a day in dosages between 10 to 40 ml depending on the severity of your condition.
Hawthorn is not directly beneficial for treating hypothyroidism. But the herb is very useful for removing bad cholesterol from the body and also in reducing weight which are associated problems that affect people with hypothyroidism. Sluggish thyroid glands will cause the low density lipoproteins in the body to increase uncontrollably and cause heart diseases and weight problems.