Thyroid problems are extremely common. In fact, half of all people will experience some type of thyroid problem at some point in life. The most common two forms of thyroid malfunction are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. In each case, the body isn’t producing the optimal amount of hormones. A part of the endocrine system, the thyroid gland produces hormones responsible for regulating metabolism, heart function, the digestive system, muscle control, development of the brain and bones. While mainstream medicine treats thyroid dysfunctions with drugs, other therapies can often successfully restore balance to the thyroid without using synthetic medications or resorting to surgery.
Hyperthyroidism is one of the most common thyroid problems. It involves overproduction of hormones, and results in symptoms that include sudden loss of weight, fast heartbeat, profuse sweating and emotional disturbances, including mood swings. One of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism is called Grave’s Disease. This is a autoimmune disorder in which the immune system begins attacking the thyroid, resulting in too much hormone production.
Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is the opposite problem. The thyroid is producing fewer hormones than it should. An under-active thyroid causes symptoms like fatigue, sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, puffiness in the face, hoarseness, and muscle weakness. Other symptoms can include symptoms that mimic depression, memory problems, and trouble thinking clearly. Many people find that treating hypothyroidism results in an elevated mood.
Thyroid Treatments in Ayurvedic Medicine
Many problems with the thyroid are addressed in ayurvedic medicine by avoiding foods that are heavy and/or sour, and by eating foods like rice (specifically old rice), cucumber, sugar water, and barley. Dr. Sandeep Krishna says that three types of yoga can also helpful: pranayama, matsyasana, and halasana. He also recommends dandelion leaves and flax seeds for hyperthyroidism. For hypothyroidism, he recommends foods naturally high in iodine and avoidance of foods that slow the metabolism further like cabbage, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and spinach. Charaka, the founder of Ayurvedic Medicine, wrote that goiter only happens to those who don’t drink enough milk.
Thyroid Treatments in Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine views problems with the thyroid in terms of a Yin/Yang imbalance. Complete treatment will typically involve a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary therapy. These treatments work together to restore balance to the imbalanced thyroid. Different herbs are used depending on whether the thyroid is overactive or under-active. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, hyperthyroidism is treated with herbs like Rehmannia (shu di huang), Dioscorea (shan yao), and Cornus (shan zhu yu). Kidney Yin Tonic (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan) Liver Cleansing (Zhi Zi Qing Gan Tang) and Heart Yin Tonic (Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan). Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is treated with cinnamon (rou gui) and Aconite (fu zi), Kidney Yang Tonic (Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan), and formulas like Right Restoration Formula (You Gui Wan).
Treating Thyroid Problems with Acupuncture
Acupuncture can restore balance in the thyroid and its hormone production levels, and help restore healthy energy levels, emotional well-being, and regular menstrual cycles. Needles are placed on acupuncture points at the ear and at various points throughout the body. The exact placement depends on the root cause of the thyroid imbalance. Because the endocrine system regulates most of the body’s hormones, including the thyroid gland’s hormone production, the solution to rebalancing thyroid production sometimes involves addressing other organs, including the kidneys or the liver. Because the body is a complete system whose parts need to be in harmony with one another, acupuncturists work to restore qi, or life energy, balance throughout the body.
Homeopathic Thyroid Treatments
Homeopathic treatments for thyroid problems vary depending on the symptoms the patient is experiencing.According to Dr. Vikas Sharma, Calcarea Carbonica, Sepia Officinalis, Lycopodium, Graphites and Nux Vomica are the best homeopathic remedies for hypothyroidism. The exact symptoms are person is experiencing help to determine which remedy to use. For those with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, these same treatments may be used, although there is no one go-to remedy for those diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. Treatment will be determined by the presenting symptoms. The most commonly recommended homeopathic treatments for hyperthyroidism are Lodium, Natrum Muriaticum, Lachesis Mutus, Phosphorus, and Conium Maculatum.
While allopathic treatments for thyroid problems generally include drugs and sometimes surgery, natural treatments for hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism work with the body to restore balance without resorting to extreme measures like removing the thyroid. Treatments involving Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Homeopathy address the imbalance in more gentle ways, vie encourage the body’s systems to work together to facilitate healing and restore hormonal balance through foods, through natural plant-medicine, and by working with the body’s energy systems. Treating thyroid problems generally results in relief of symptoms and an overall increased sense of well-being.