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4 herbs that Naturopaths use for Thyroid health with Monica


In our next instalment of the thyroid health series, our Naturopath Monica is discussing the role of herbal medicine in thyroid health.


Whilst no herbs can replace thyroid hormones, some support thyroid function. Naturopaths, as functional medicine practitioners, also work on different parameters and are able to support thyroid issues in the early and more advanced stages.



Thyroid disorders can be a catalyst for many areas of health including:

  • Blood pressure fluctuations

  • Fertility issues

  • Metabolism struggles

  • Mental Health issues.


This is due to thyroid hormones playing an integral role in so many cell and tissues types throughout the body.


The two main categories of thyroid disorders triggering these problems are :


Hyperthyroidism


Hyperthyroidism where thyroid secretion is too high can contribute to feelings of anxiety and a racing mind.

Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism where thyroid secretion is too low can contribute to feelings of low mood and low motivation.



Monica's go to herbs for thyroid health


Here are 4 key herbs all with different uses, depending on what is happening for the individual.


Ashwaganda (Withania Somnifera)


Ashwaganda has become quite a popular and well-known herb and for good reason. It has many health benefits including anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective actions. Ashwaganda is suitable for people with lowered thyroid function (3). This is important to note: as a naturopath, it is common for people to present with an overactive thyroid who are taking Ashwaganda, to support mood when it is not the right herb for their thyroid. This is a reminder that herbal medicines really are medicines and should be used under the supervision of a practitioner.



Ginger (Zingiber officinale)


Ginger is a well-known herb with many digestive health benefits, but did you know it is also beneficial for the thyroid? It particularly benefits people with lowered thyroid function. Try using it in sauces, juices, smoothies, and/or as a fresh tea.




Black cumin (Nigella sativa)



Black cumin is a traditional herbal medicine that is used for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is immunomodulating and a powerful anti-inflammatory. A very interesting study showed great success with Nigella significantly reducing weight gain and sluggish metabolism due to thyroid disease with an 8-week study showing a reduction in body weight and body mass index (BMI) (2).




Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)


Lemon balm has been shown to influence thyroid hormone directly by inhibiting the conversion of T4 to T3 making it ideal for an overactive thyroid (3).


Other key herbs




There are many key herbs that can support thyroid function indirectly as well. Adaptogens like Rhodiola rosea for stress support or immune stimulating herbs in some cases such as Astragalus membranaceus can assist through addressing the factors contributing to poor thyroid health. These herbs can be our allies in getting our energy, focus, and metabolism back on track.


If you'd like more insight into your own thyroid health and are after individualised support, you can book with Monica here.




References

  1. Braun, L. Cohen, M. Zinc: in herbs and natural supplements, an evidence-based guide. 3rd edition. Churchill Livingstone; 2010. P. 1037-1054.

  2. Mahdieh, A. The effects of Nigella sativa on thyroid function, serum Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor. BMC Complement Altern. Med. 2016; 16:471. Published online 2016 Nov 16. Doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1432-2.

  3. Pole, S. Ayurvedic Medicine: The principles of traditional practice: Philadelphia: Elsevier/Churchill Livingstone; 2006.p.143-144).

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