Health Benefits of Herbs

Herbs for Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism
Male anatomy of human organs in x-ray view

Today we are going to discover the best herbs to use for hypothyroidism, which also goes by the scientific names low ‘thyroid/underactive thyroid or hypothyreosis’ is a common medical condition that affects the endocrine system.

The disease then causes the thyroid gland to produce insufficient thyroid hormones. Low thyroid can cause various symptoms including weight gain in children, intolerance to cold and a constant feeling of tiredness.

When severe, hypothyroidism may end up causing cretinism which is a serious condition characterized by delayed development and growth. The thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, produces two major hormones, namely thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) which play a major role in the body. The glands require both tyrosine and iodine to make the essential hormones hence the reduction of iodine in the body due to various factors is likely to lower the production of these hormones resulting in hypothyroidism.

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This is the main reason as to why a great number of health practitioners choose to prescribe iodine or iodine supplements to their patients. However, this may not be an ideal solution to all thyroid related problems as iodine only helps individuals who have iodine deficiency. Getting to understand the type of herbs that can boost and stabilize thyroid function is essential in treating both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

It is also important to note that the herbal remedies are not thyroid hormone replacements, but only work to boost the production of thyroid hormones. This alone makes them less effective in treating hypothyroidism cases resulting from total damage to the thyroid.

This article is going to educate you on some of the leading natural homeopathic remedies that relieve hypothyroidism symptoms as well as acting on both the immune system and the thyroid gland.

Herbs for thyroid function

Bladderwrack

"Bladderwrack (Fucus gardneri)" by Steve Lonhart / NOAA MBNMS - http://sanctuarymonitoring.org/photos/photo_info.php?photoID=3530&search=algae&s=260&page=14. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bladderwrack_(Fucus_gardneri).jpg#/media/File:Bladderwrack_(Fucus_gardneri).jpgBladderwrack is a unique seaweed herb that is known by various names including “rockweed, black tang, sea oak, bladder fucus, cut weed, black tany, rock wrack and red fucus.” The herbal remedy is considered to be the most popular herb when it comes to hypothyroidism treatment. Bladderwrack has a great history in thyroid treatment as it was originally used in the 1800s as a reliable iodine source which was used in treating goiter (thyroid gland swelling caused by iodine deficiency).

The wonder herb also happens to have multiple primary chemical constituents, including algin, mucilage, beta-carotene, mannitol, iodine, zeaxanthin, bromine, volatile oils, and potassium among others.

A great number of hypothyroidism patients who have been taking natural or synthetic thyroid hormones have eventually been able to wean off the drugs after taking the Bladderwrack herb. In order to get even better results, it is advisable to combine the herb with Ashwagandha as the combination helps in stimulating thyroid hormone production greatly.

Bladderwrack also has the ability to replenish the body with plenty of iodine that is manifested as easy-to-absorb iodide ions that are used in thyroid hormone synthesis. Patients with the type of hypothyroidism that is not caused by iodine deficiency are instructed not to use the herb as it is likely to cause iodine toxicity as their iodine levels are normal.

Lemon Balm

The Lemon Balm herb which happens to be part of the mint family is considered to be a calming herb. Lemon Balm is considered to be highly beneficial in managing hypothyroidism as it works by acting directly on the entire thyroid gland. The herbal remedy can also block and regulate some thyroid hormonal activities in the body, making it ideal for treating Graves’ disease.

Scientific research1 that was carried out on the natural herb has revealed that Lemon Balm eases hyperthyroidism related symptoms as well as reducing thyroid hormone production thus normalizing all the activities of hyperactive thyroid glands.

Coleus Forskohlii

"Coleus-1" by Aftabbanoori - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coleus-1.jpg#/media/File:Coleus-1.jpgColeus forskohlii whose scientific name is “plectranthus barbatus” and also commonly referred to as the Indian Coleus is a unique plant that has the ability to increase optimal thyroid functions by stimulating an increase in the production of thyroid hormones. Coleus forskohlii contains various phytochemicals but one by the name forskolin has attracted the most scientific interest.

Forskolin is an effective diterpene responsible for increasing cyclic AMPs (adenosine monophosphate) intracellular levels. The cyclic AMPs act as signal carriers between hormones and cells that are needed to provide feedback between the two parties like that needed in controlling thyroid hormone levels.

Taking coleus increases cyclic AMP levels, thus signaling to release TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and TRH (Thyrotropin-releasing hormones). The released hormones then stimulate the thyroid gland resulting in the production of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) making the Coleus forskohlii herb an ideal herbal remedy for treating hypothyroidism that has not been caused by iodine deficiency.

Bugleweed

"Ajuga reptans (flowers)" by © Hans Hillewaert /. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ajuga_reptans_(flowers).jpg#/media/File:Ajuga_reptans_(flowers).jpg
Bugleweed

Bugleweed is considered to be the best option for hypothyroidism patients who prefer not to take antithyroid drugs. The antithyroid herb has phenolic acid as its key component. This organic acid works by either lowering the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels or by blocking the TSH receptors in order to prevent the hormone from getting access to the thyroid gland.

The Graves’ disease is characterized by a wide variety of symptoms including weight loss, rapid pulse, heat sensitivity, fatigue, excessive sweating and a variety of physical changes like bulging eyes and the formation of an enlarged thyroid.

Bugleweed appears to influence iodine metabolism that the thyroid gland uses in making its hormones. This makes it possible for a small amount of the homeopathic remedy to decrease thyroid functions. Bugleweed should not be taken by lactating or pregnant women.

Eleuthero

Eleuthero, which is considered to have a broad spectrum that normalizes and brings an organism back to homeostasis and also used in Chinese Herbology by people suffering from bone marrow suppression caused by radiation or chemotherapy among other health benefits exhibits unique immunogenic, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The herbal remedy increases to a great extent the ability of hypothyroidism patients to withstand stressful situations, including motion, heat, exercise, noise and an increase in workload. Eleuthero doesn’t work by directly affecting the thyroid gland but instead functions by helping the body in adapting to stressful situations while helping with the immune system’s health.

The herb is very beneficial for individuals with adrenal problems which are very common in autoimmune and thyroid conditions.

Guggul

"Commiphora wightii 06" by Vinayaraj - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commiphora_wightii_06.JPG#/media/File:Commiphora_wightii_06.JPG
Guggul

Guggul is a resin extract that is obtained from the Commiphora wightii tree’s bark. The arid climate tree that grows mainly in Asia and Northern Africa also has numerous health benefits. Guggulipid which is a gum Guggul extract is a long-standing remedy that has been used over the years in the Indian Ayurveda medicine system. Guggulsterones are the chief active ingredients found in guggulipids.

These extracts have been proved to significantly improve thyroid function. For instance, a scientific study2 that was carried out in 1984 and published in the “Planta Medica” journal revealed that there is an increase in thyroid iodine uptake after consuming Guggul.

Poison Gooseberry

Poison Gooseberry is an effective antithyroidl herb that is used to treat hypothyroidism. The herb not only has multiple common names but also has numerous health benefits. Poison Gooseberry which comes from the Nightshade family and is also known as “Withania Somnifera, Winter Cherry or Indian ginseng” has been extensively relied on over the ages for increasing dwindling energy and enhancing overall health. Depletion of physical energy is among the most common and important hypothyroidism symptoms.

This makes Poison Gooseberry an ideal natural remedy as it solves the same problem. Poison Gooseberry also manages to strengthen hypothyroidism patients’ immune system as it is rich in both iron content and antioxidants. The wonder herb can also help the affected patients combat anxiety and stress, which are contributory factors that increase thyroid hormone levels.

Black Walnut

Black Walnut, which is a flowering plant species found in the Walnut family, as been constantly promoted as an effective cancer cure as it kills the parasite responsible for various cancer types. Its fresh green hulls are the ones used in producing the herbal medicine and are highly concentrated in a chemical called ‘juglone.’ Traditionally, many cultures have often used the herbal remedy to treat various intestine related problems as well as eating the plant’s seeds to obtain its Omega 3 content, flavor, and vitamin c.

Black Walnut is also very rich in iodine just like Bladderwrack which is an essential nutrient required in optimizing the normal function and health of the thyroid glands. The herbal remedy is even, more beneficial as insufficient iodine has been found to lead to various medical conditions, including depression, mental impairment, goiters and chronic fatigue which it can treat or prevent.

Bacopa

"Starr 010818-0007 Bacopa monnieri" by Forest & Kim Starr. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Starr_010818-0007_Bacopa_monnieri.jpg#/media/File:Starr_010818-0007_Bacopa_monnieri.jpgBacopa is a wonder herb that is as potent as any other available thyroid stimulating drugs that help in fighting hypothyroidism. Scientific experiments3 on several extracts of Bacopa monnieri revealed that the herbal remedy has the ability to increase body Thyroxine levels by up to 41% while keeping T3 levels constant.

This revelation simply indicates that Bacopa works on the thyroid gland directly, thus stimulating the release and/or synthesis of T4 minus the T4 into T3 conversion process. The studies then confirm a very critical fact that the Bacopa plant has a significant stimulant effect on the thyroid gland.

CONCLUSION

Homeopathic remedies regardless of their use may be both beneficial and harmful to various groups of people. This makes it important to always consult a medical practitioner or herbal specialist before deciding to use any natural herbal remedies.

However, it is important to keep in mind the fact that some of the available herbal remedies have been found to be as effective as or in some cases better than manufactured prescription drugs. The remedies also happen to have fewer side effects.

Photo credits: BugleweedAjuga reptans (flowers)” by © Hans Hillewaert /. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ajuga_reptans_(flowers).jpg#/media/File:Ajuga_reptans_(flowers).jpg 

Guggul “Commiphora wightii 06” by Vinayaraj – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Commiphora_wightii_06.JPG#/media/File:Commiphora_wightii_06.JPG

Bacopa “Starr 010818-0007 Bacopa monnieri” by Forest & Kim Starr. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Starr_010818-0007_Bacopa_monnieri.jpg#/media/File:Starr_010818-0007_Bacopa_monnieri.jpg

Medical information provided is for information purposes only. Always get guidance about a medical condition from a health care professional.

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