Ayurvedic management of hypothyroidism


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Ayurvedic management of hypothyroidism

  1. 1. Hypothyroidism refers to lower production of thyroid hormones in the body due to a decrease in the function of the thyroid gland. It is a common thyroid gland disorder and is more prevalent in women. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck just below the larynx (voice box). This gland secretes several hormones such as thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin. These hormones are produced under the regulation of pituitary gland in the brain and are responsible for maintaining the body’s metabolism, controlling the body temperature and regulating the production of protein. Calcitonin helps in maintaining the level of calcium in our blood. These hormones are believed to regulate many other body functions as well and almost every system of the body is affected by low levels of thyroid hormone. Usually, patients with mild disease feel entirely well. The disease is often skipped for a long time as the symptoms present in patients are not so severe. Depressions, fatigue, dry and cold skin and hair loss are a few symptoms that are often ignored by the patient.
  2. 2. However, if not treated, pronounced symptoms may appear later. Untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. Although anyone can develop hypothyroidism, it is normally found as occurring in women older than 50, and this risk is believed to increase as one ages. The description of hypothyroidism in Ayurveda is similar to that in modern medicine. It is mentioned that it does not attack those who consume adequate quantities of milk, old rice, barley, green gram, Bengal gram, sugarcane juice, cucumber, and milk products. These are the foods recommended in present times also. According to Ayurveda, one should not consume sour substances as it may aggravate the diseased condition. There are plenty of Ayurvedic herbs prescribed for hypothyroidism. They regulate the thyroid hormone and restore its functionality. These herbs are still under research and many of them have proved to be very beneficial for treating thyroid conditions. Ayurvedic herbs are generally well tolerated
  3. 3. and free from side-effects and this is the reason Ayurveda is now one of the most popular health sciences gaining global admiration. These Ayurvedic herbs can also be considered daily health supplements. Many of the herbs we can find in the kitchen and the rest are readily available in herbal/Ayurvedic stores in various forms such as pills, tablets, capsules, decoctions, powder, extracts and natural juices. Some of the herbs described below are still in practice for Ayurvedic treatment of hypothyroidism. Mountain ebony (Bauhinia veriegata): It is known as purple mountain ebony and is probably the most powerful drug in Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia for treating any type of thyroid problem. This herb is available in the form of pill or tablet. Guggul (Commiphora wightii): This drug is used widely in modern Ayurvedic practice. It is well known for its calorie burning properties and is therefore used abundantly for reducing weight, i.e. obesity. Hypothyroidism is closely related with obesity and this herb is extremely useful for treating the condition. It is available
  4. 4. in the form of tablet, pill and capsule. Spreading hogweed (Boerhavia diffusa): This herb falls in the category of diuretics. It is an excellent remedy for treating swelling or inflammation from all over the body. Since hypothyroidism has swelling and numbness all over the body as its symptoms, it can be very beneficial for treating such conditions. This is a very good tonic and can also be used for general health. There are many compound Ayurveda formulations that are advised to manage hypothyroidism. Ayurveda always suggests patients to go for internal medication, followed by strict diet as prescribed and advised by Ayurvedic physicians. According to Ayurveda, all diseases involve vitiation or imbalance of the three vital bodily humors called Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Ayurvedic medicines along with recommended lifestyle and diet will restore these three humors and, thus, eliminate the disease.