February 20, 2014

Alternative Medicine and Herbs for Thyroid Health

Note: The following article is used by Janie Bowthorpe of Stop the Thyroid Madness as a pamphlet “gift” given to purchasers of the Stop the Thyroid Madness book ordered directly from the publisher.

As with any supplement, it is encouraged that you do your research and also discuss with your health care provider before using.  Seeking the guidance of a qualified herbalist may be particularly helpful.  Check your local natural foods store or vitamin store for information on trained herbalists in your area.  Some herbalists will work long-distance with clients.

Bugleweed can lower thyroid hormones and so can Motherwort, which is also anti-inflammatory.  Lemon Balm may help relieve anxiety and prevent Graves antibodies from attaching to the thyroid.  Citrus Peel's anti-thyroidal properties could be useful for hyperthyroid people, as well as its anti-cancer benefits.  Consuming calcium and goitrogenic foods, such as soy, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, will lower thyroid hormones.
Dragon bone
, kava kava, and St. John's Wort are sedating which can be useful for those who are hyperthyroid.

Chinese herb Scrophularia contains Verbascosaponin A, which is twice as potent as prescription indomethacin for relieving inflammation and pain.

Subhuti Dharmananda
, Ph.D., who is the director at the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Portland, Oregon, wrote an article Treatments for Thyroid Diseases with Chinese Herbal Medicine, outlining studies done on the subject, including some very successful studies of treatment for hyperthyroidism with herbs.  Read Dharmanada's article here: http://www.itmonline.org/arts/thyroid.htm

Maca Root can help relieve mild depression.  It is rich in iron, potassium, iodine, magnesium, and calcium.
Parsley, Irish Moss and Kelp are sources of electrolyte minerals, and the latter two include iodineBladderwrack, which is a seaweed, contains iodine and can stimulate thyroid hormone production. It also contains polysaccharides, which bind to heavy metals and can therefore aid in detoxing.  It is rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and sulfur, and contains moderate amounts of zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Marshmallow Root contains iodine, calcium, zinc, vitamin B-complex and iron.The adaptogen astragalus possesses immune-boosting properties and contains selenium, which would be beneficial for hypothyroidism.  However, it is suggested that it contains high levels of it and should be used with caution.  It is frequently used in Chinese Medicine. 

St. John's Wort
may increase thyroid hormone production, and can also be useful for depression, anxiety, sleep disorders and PMS.  Note: it cannot be used with some prescription medications.

, also called Bastard Ginseng and Bonnet Bellflower, is used in Chinese Medicine to stimulate the thyroid and boost the immune system.
Cinnamon Bark, Rehmannia, Ginger, and Aconite are used in traditional Chinese medicine for hypothyroidism.
Herbs that may help with Symptoms related to Thyroid Issues

can help lower high cholesterol.
Inflammation?  Ginger Root contains zinc, magnesium, and potassium, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.  Here is a list of more herbs (and foods) that can help with inflammationBromelain is anti-inflammatory as well.  Need calming?  Teas or essential oils such as camomile, lavender, and peppermint are excellent, especially at bedtime.  Dried lavender or lavender essential oil can be used in warm bathwater (some like to use Epsom Salts, too) for relaxation, as well. 

Have anxiety or stress? Kava kava helps reduce stress and anxiety "by binding to GABA receptors which is the main calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Kava also has opioid-like properties as well as balancing dopamine and serotonin." http://drhedberg.com/2012/06/29/thyroid-and-anxiety/  It is also anti-inflammatory.

In the past,
Passionflower has been listed as an anti-anxiety aid by the pharmaceutical industries in the US, France, Germany, Britain and more.

Commonly used as a tea, Raspberry Leaf, can be useful for reducing anxiety.  It is rich in rich in selenium, b-vitamins, vitamins E and C, which is anti-inflammatory.  However, it does contain tannins which can bind with thyroid medication, so it is best to avoiding consuming near doses.

  Gymnema has been studied and found to be useful for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics by delaying glucose absorption in the blood stream.  It can also help with sugar cravings due to candida yeast overgrowth. 

Struggling with your weight? In A Mother's Guide to Herbal Extracts: Saving Tristan, Kathy Garber writes that, "Ginger and Evodia increase thermogensis, the burning of calories to increase body temperature; Horsetail and Cornsilk is used by the Krebs cycle, the final and essential step in making energy from carbohydrates, fats and proteins available for use by the body." 

She also writes about
Evodia which suppresses the appetite; Brazilian Porangaba Leaf reduces the amount of food needed to feel full; Garcinia Fruit inhibits the conversion of dietary carbohydrates to fat, and is more effective when taken three times daily; and Pomegranate Leaf inhibits fat absorption in the intestinal tract.

Struggling to sleep? 
Valerian Root, an adaptogen, can aid in insomnia and is virtually non-addictive.  It can be useful for backache, headache, and high blood pressure.

Brain fog?  Trouble focusing?  The adaptogen Schisandra Berry may help with mental clarity and attention difficulties.    

Retaining water?  Need to detox?  Alfalfa is rich in Vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as biotin, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and potassium.  It can help detox the body of toxins and is therefore useful as a diuretic for those suffering from water retention and urinary tract infections. 

Hair loss?  Burdock root might help.  It is also rich in selenium.  However, it can present problems for those allergic to marigolds and ragweed.  

Gardenia, usually brewed in a tea, can be useful in treating irritability, restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. It has been known to help with depression, as well.

, an adaptogen, is rich in selenium.  However, it keeps some awake at night.

Allergies? Cough? Digestive Upset? Look into selenium-rich Yarrow Root.  It also possesses anti-bacterial qualities which can be useful for those with gallbladder issues. 

Nettle Leaf also possesses decongestant qualities and may help with a myriad of problems including hair loss, low iron, inflammation, and can be used as a topical pain reliever.  One source suggests that it has an adaptogenic effect on the adrenals. 

A Mother's Guide to Herbal Extracts: Saving Tristan by Kathy Garber http://www.livestrong.com/article/122652-herbs-thyroid/