The function of the thyroid gland is often overlooked. Although small, this endocrine gland, situated just below the neck, plays a vital role in regulating the body's metabolic processes. Consequently, a dysfunctional thyroid disrupts and affects how other organs in the body function.
Thyroid conditions are generally diagnosed as follows: an overactive thyroid (otherwise known as hyperthyroidism), an under-active thyroid (or hypothyroidism), and an enlarged thyroid, characterized by the presence of nodules. The symptoms of a dysfunctional thyroid (such as weight gain or loss, chronic fatigue, depression, dry skin and constipation) generally overlap with one another so prior to embarking on any form of treatment - be it herbal or medicinal, correct diagnosis is essential.
When seeking herbal remedies, most herbs work to provide appropriate thyroid support, acting preventatively and facilitating the healing process. Here are 10 herbs that are thought to be beneficial for the thyroid:
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informative purposes only. Always seek advice from a medical professional and professional herbalist.
Flaxseed is a good source of essential fatty acids, particularly omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to be good for thyroid health. A study conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that consuming foods rich in Omega-3 can help boost the production of thyroid hormones, reducing one's susceptibility to hypothyroidism.
A 2013 study assessed the effects and safety of bugle extract in tablet or liquid form on 403 patients who were diagnosed with mild hyperthyroidism. The researchers found significant improvements among individuals who were given the tablet. Furthermore, improvements were reported without any major side effects.
Packed with antioxidant properties, this herb is popularly believed to have a direct effect on the thyroid by producing just the right amount of hormones. Ashwagandha also helps the body fight stress by improving the immune system. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Black walnut is one of the richest sources of iodine, making it ideal for maintaining good thyroid health, because iodine has been shown to play a significant role in thyroid gland function.
Studies conducted on the herb have found that bacopa is able to stimulate the thyroid, enabling it to effectively fight hypothyroidism. It has been found to regulate thyroid hormone concentrations by as much as 41% without any unpleasant reactions.
Eleuthero is considered to be a wonder herb for people suffering from a thyroid dysfunction, namely hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Studies have found that this potent herb assists and promotes the normal functioning of the thymus and the adrenal glands.
Though this algae or seaweed works well on patients with hypothyroidism, bladderwrack is considered to be an essential herb for many health conditions. The herb contains high levels of natural iodine, which has been found to stimulate the thyroid gland. It also contains substances that help restore the normal functioning of the thyroid gland, reducing the size of thyroid goiters. Furthermore, bladderwrack is thought to play a role in stimulating increased production of thyroid hormones, preventing the development of thyroid diseases. Despite being a well-known herb to treat thyroid malfunctions, little is known about how this herb actually works.
Cover image by depositphotos.com