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Thyroid Disorders: Ayurvedic Medicine & Treatment

by Aveda Ayur 06 Mar 2024
Thyroid Disorders: Ayurvedic Medicine & Treatment

Thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland in the human body located in front of the neck, below the adam's apple and is wrapped around by trachea. The thyroid gland has two lobes and a narrow band of tissue called isthmus. Each lobe is the size of a plum and is located either side of the trachea.This gland plays a very crucial role in regulating metabolism, growth and development. The thyro care is surrounded by a thin fibrous capsule responsible for maintaining its shape and integrity. Understanding such basic things about thyroid gland is really helpful in diagnosing and treating various thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, autoimmune thyroid disorders like and thyroid cancer.

Key Takeaways

  • There are two lobes in a thyroid gland which is located either side of the trachea and is wrapped inside a capsule.
  • The gland has a narrow band called isthmus.
  • There are three thyroid hormones called thyroxine (T4), Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
  • The T3 and T4 helps in the regulation of weight, energy levels, internal temperature, skin, hair, nail growth and metabolism.
  • The Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland.
  • Its role is to stimulate thyroid gland for hormone production. Its normal levels are between 0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L.
  • The gland produces calcitonin as well, which helps bone cells to process calcium thus adding it to bones.
  • The most common types of thyroid disorders are Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism.
  • Hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism.

What are Thyroid Disorders?

Thyroid disorders depend on the underactivity or over activity of the thyroid gland. Also, thyroid issues can be autoimmune, that is when the body's immune system starts attacking the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer is also one of the most common conditions related to the category of Thyroid Disorders. Following are the widely discussed conditions related to thyroid dysfunction:

Conditions related to thyroid dysfunction

Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can lead to Graves’s disease, which may have symptoms like sweating, irregularity of heartbeat (arrhythmia), weight loss, proportion of eyes and constant nervousness. In females it disturbs the hypothalamus pituitary ovarian axis leading to menstrual disturbance and difficulty in getting pregnant as well.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism includes tiredness, sudden weight gain, feeling depressed, development of abnormal bone structures and stunted growth. The most common cause of this condition is autoimmune processes where the body produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. In women it leads to menses irregularity  and difficulty in getting pregnant as well.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder which leads to inflammation of the thyroid gland. It can also cause goiter which is the swelling in the neck due to enlarged thyroid gland along with other symptoms.

Thyroid Tumors

The thyroid tumors or adenomas are the small non cancerous growths which start in the cell layer which lines the inner surface of the thyroid gland. The adenoma itself can secrete thyroid hormone and can cause hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer occurs more often in people who have undergone radiation to the head, neck or chest. There are majorly four types of thyroid cancer: follicular thyroid cancer,  papillary thyroid cancer, anaplastic thyroid cancer and medullary thyroid cancer.

What are the causes of Thyroid Disorders?

Thyroid disorders can have multiple causes. But the most common ones are as following:

Iodine Deficiency

This generally happens when you have low amounts of iodine in your diet. It is the most common cause of thyroid disorders.

Autoimmune Disease

This is when your body starts attacking its own thyroid cells. Ayurveda understands this process as accumulation of Ama or endotoxins. When the endotoxins get settled in the thyroid under the influence of doshas, they have almost the same physiology and anatomical figure as thyroid cells. Immune system tries to kill the endotoxins, but gets confused due to similar structure and kills the healthy body cells as well. It can happen in any part of the body.

Inflammation

The inflammation of thyroid is called thyroiditis. It can be painful or painless.

Management of Thyroid Disorders with Ayurveda

Thyroid Disorders with Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a holistic science which is known to hide a lot of secrets in its womb. All we need to do is to look, understand and apply its principles. It's not just about lifestyle, yoga, hypothetical theories but has meaning to everything it says. Ayurvedic herbs are of great help to manage conditions associated with thyroid gland. We need to acknowledge the best ayurvedic medicine for thyroid disorder and also the working of herbs on the human body. In thyroid related following herbs and formulations are of great help:

Kachnaar (Bauhinia variegata)

The stem bark of Kanchnar is having beta sitosterol which interferes with multiple cell signaling pathways which also includes cell cycle, apoptosis, proliferation etc. and have anti cancer, antioxidant and anti inflammatory effect on the body.

Guggul (Commiphora mukul):

Guggul is known to have anti-inflammatory effects. In hypothyroidism, guggul is known to have a very great effect and also help in reducing the size of nodules or tumors in the thyroid. It is also known to improve the iodine uptake of thyroid thus improving activity of enzymes produced by thyroid gland.

Mulethi (Yashtimadhu - Glycyrrhiza glabra)

Mulethi due to its rasayan properties help in cell rejuvenation and also have anti inflammatory effects. In addition, it is having an effect on the working of hypothalamus and pituitary as well.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

It helps the body to adapt to various stressors. The herb is known to improve working of thyroid gland and also help in improving response of the gland towards thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)

Brahmi is known to have medhya properties. Medhya group of herbs are the ones which are known to improve working of brain cells. Such properties of this herb helps in better functioning of the pituitary gland.

Vekari Mool (Caesalpinia digyna)

It balances the functioning of the thyroid gland and also reduces its size. Vekari mool also helps in reduction of swelling.

Pippali (Piper longum)

Pippali is known to boost the availability and absorption of the micronutrients to the thyroid tissues especially in hypothyroidism.

Summary

Thyroid gland is responsible for facilitating many functions in the human body like metabolism, growth, temperature and most importantly weight management. The disbalance in the thyroid functioning or in thyroid hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms and also affects the quality of life. In females, the menstrual cycle is disturbed leading to scanty bleeding, missed periods along with miscarriages, difficulty to conceive and many others. That’s why it is really important to avoid diet and lifestyle which can hamper your thyroid health. Excessively processed food, cold drinks, too much stress and intake of immunosuppressants, steroids etc. can give hard times to your thyroid.

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