Herbs have been used by people for many centuries. They have proven medical properties that help in the treatment of various illnesses including thyroid disorders.
Even after the advent of modern medicine herbs continue to be used for their natural remedial properties and minimal side effects.
In thyroid disorders, several herbs have been used for their effect on balancing the thyroid hormone secretion. But you should understand that herbs have to be combined with a proper diet to get the maximum effect.
You also need to manage stress and minimize toxin exposure for benefiting from the herbs. The advantage of herbs is that while treating thyroid disorders they also help in restoring your overall health. In this article, we will see about five herbs that are very effective in maintaining thyroid health.
Aswagandha (also called WithaniaSomnifera) is a popular adaptogenice herb. It is a root extract used to help the body resist stress, both of physiological and psychological origin, by adjusting to your body’s needs.
It affects HPA axis and has immunity boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. In short, it helps revitalize the body and also calm it simultaneously.
How it helps in thyroid health
Ashwagandha activates thyroid gland resulting in increased production of thyroid hormone (T4). Thus it helps to treat hypothyroidism. A 2014 study with placebo as control proves that patients with bipolar disorder showed increased T4 and normal TSH levels after taking Ashwagandha.
The study shows the effectiveness of the root extract in hypothyroidism. In addition to increasing T4 levels, the herb also has antioxidant, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties.
High levels of T4 are deemed dangerous due to oxidative stress and free radical formation.Ashwagandha destroys the free radicals and minimizes oxidative stress. Thus it helps to increase T4 levels but avoids excess formation of T4 and the ensuing risks.
Moreover T4 is formed in a gradual manner and changed to T3 so the risk of higher T4 levels and oxidative stress is minimal.
Aswagandha also helps in hyperthyroidism by regulating the levels of T3. But care should be taken with the dosage used as even a low dose is sufficient to regulate the thyroid hormone secretion.
Further Aswagandha is also used in combination with other plant extracts such as guggulu gum, bauhinia bark and bladderwrack to help in balancing thyroid function and also protect liver.
Guggul is the next plant extract in our list of herbs for thyroid health.
The resin is extracted from CommiphoraMukul/Wightii tree found commonly in arid regions such as Asia and Northern Africa. The extract is an ancient Ayurvedic medicine used successfully for various health conditions including those related to thyroid.
Role of Guggul in thyroid health
Guggullipid is the main active ingredient of this resin and is part of phytochemical group called as guggulsterones. These phytochemicals help boost thyroid function.
A 2005 phytotherapy research publication reveals that Guggulu, the gum resin extract from Commiphoramukul tree can be used for treating hypothyroidism.
The study was done on female mice and concluded that the extract can help in stimulating thyroid function. Another study done on albino rats proves the efficacy of Gugglsterones in boosting thyroid function.
The extract helps increase iodine intake,which is an added benefit. Further Guggul helps in improved consumption of oxygen in liver and muscle tissue.
Guggul has also other health benefits that include anti-inflammatory activity and antioxidant effect. Thus it helps to reduce inflammation in patients with thyroid condition enabling them to manage the symptoms effectively.
Since inflammation of thyroid can lead to autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is a commonly occurring condition in the United States, using Guggul can be very beneficial.
Guggul is also effective in hyperthyroidism due to its antioxidant property. It helps reduce oxidative stress and it can be used in hyperthyroidism and for Graves’ disease which is an autoimmune thyroid condition.
One of the reasons for the increased production of thyroid hormones is the increase in free radicals. With antioxidant therapy this can be normalized. Hence Guggul plays a vital role in treatment of hyperthyroidism. Guggul also has weight loss potential.
Since thyroid regulates metabolism, which influences the body weight, Guggul also helps in weight loss by normalizing thyroid function. It also helps suppress appetite and inhibits fat cell development. Thus adding Guggul as a supplement can provide relief to thyroid conditions and helps manage cholesterol levels too. The recommended Guggul extract dose for hypothyroidism is 250 gm to 500mg.
Bacopa is another herbal remedy that helps treat sluggish thyroid function. Bacopa Monnieri also known as Water Hyssop, Indian Pennywort etc., has been used in Ayurvedic medicines since ancient times and is found in subtropical and tropical regions.
The herb has positive effect on Central Nervous system. It reduces anxiety and improves memory. It is especially potent in treating thyroid malfunction that causes hypo and hyperthyroidism.
Bacopa helps increase concentration of T4 by about 41 percent proves a 2002 study. This increased T4 helps regulate thyroid function and boost metabolism. The most important revelation of the study is that it does not bring about any side effects.
Bacopa also helps in treating Goiter, which is a condition that involves enlargement of thyroid gland. Goiter is caused by increased TSH storage in thyroid gland.
With Bacopa, an increase in T4 level occurs which reduces TSH production resulting in reduction of storage of TSH in the gland. Bacopa is available as 300 mg supplement tablet or capsule and also one of the ingredients in various herbal remedies for thyroid conditions.
Rosemarinusofficinalis (Rosemary) is part of mint family and is a type of fragrant and woody herb used for multiple purposes including food preservation, flavoring, making perfume and as medicine.
The important health benefits of rosemary include improved circulation, reduced inflammation, lowered anxiety level, improved hair growth and rich antioxidant activity.
In relation to thyroid, Rosemary helps in treating many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism such as loss of hair, pain in the joints and more. This therapeutic benefit is attributed to the fact that rosemary has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and also boosts thyroid hormone production. Rosemary is also beneficial in aromatherapy.
How Rosemary helps in regulating thyroid health
Rosemary is rich in phytochemicals like camphor, ursolic acid, rosmarinic acid, carnosic acid, betulinic acid and carnosol. These are active ingredients that assist in improving thyroid health.
Rosmarinic acid for instance has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect which help in treating symptoms of hypothyroidism and in autoimmune thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Many thyroid supplements use rosemary as one of the ingredients because it improves signaling of thyroid receptor and hence boost thyroid hormone production. Further it has beneficial effect on reducing hair thinning and loss, and in joint pain which are a few of the symptoms found in hypothyroid condition. But more research is needed in proving the thyroid health potential of rosemary.
Rosemary supplements are available in doses of 275 mg to 500 mg in capsule or essential oil form. In thyroid supplements with multiple ingredients rosemary is added as leaf extract of 80mg.
Curcumin is one of the components of Curcumin longa (also known as turmeric, an Indian spice). Turmeric has three curcuminoids which include curcumin, bisdesmethoxycurcumin and desmethoxycurcumin.
The curcuminoids provide the yellow color in turmeric. Turmeric is used as food additive and food colorant. Curcumin is extracted from dried rhizome of turmeric plant and is found prevalently in south east and south Asia.
How does curcumin help in thyroid function?
Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it beneficial for many thyroid disorders. It also has antioxidant properties similar to Vitamin E and C.
A 2002 study on Curcumin reveals that it is effective in treating hypothyroidism due to the antioxidant activity. It helps counteract stress originating from improper balance between antioxidant and prooxidant agents which happens due to high triiodothyronine levels.
With curcumin’s antioxidant property it can help balance the thyroid hormone level.
Curcumin helps prevent atrophy or reduction in thyroid gland size and hormone levels and also helps regulate cholesterol levels which are high in hypothyroidism.
Curcumin is also used in hyperthyroidism because of its antioxidant effect. Due to its regulation of antioxidant enzyme levels and reduction of oxidative stress,curcumin helps reduce the effects of hyperthyroidism resulting in improved liver and kidney function.
Curcumin also helps in reducing the incidence of goiter. Adding turmeric to the diet regularly will help in reduced development of goiter, according to a study on the role of turmeric in goiter development.
Curcumin also plays an important role in autoimmune thyroiditis including Hashimoto’s and Graves’ disease. It has immune-modulatory effect helping in regulation of immune cell activity and of cytokines which help to prevent autoimmune reactions.
Curcumin also has anti-carcinogenic effect and hence is effective in thyroid cancer treatment too. It enhances the power of docetaxel and sorafenib, which are anti-cancer medications used in thyroid cancer therapy. It also prevents metastasis or spread of cancer from the thyroid gland to other parts of the body.
Curcumin is safe in doses ranging from 1 gm to 12 gms. Too high doses of curcumin can cause abdominal discomfort and nausea. When used with black pepper and a fat source the absorption of curcumin is increased.
Herbs have plenty of medicinal properties which can bring about various beneficial effects. Their use for many centuries past proves their efficacy.
By using the above-mentioned herbs, you may help improve thyroid health. The herbs have the necessary ingredients for improving thyroid gland function and regulating it.
Even in people without any thyroid condition, using these herbs can prevent risk of thyroid disorders and other health conditions.
As the herbs are safe in proper doses and produce very minimal side effects, adding them to the diet in supplementary form will certainly augment your thyroid therapy and help in quicker improvement of thyroid condition.
ThyroChoice, a newly released thyroid supplement, contains all five of these herbs along with other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to help support your thyroid.
ThyroChoice is available on Amazon for those interested in a natural thyroid support supplement.
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