Ayurvedic Medicine Against Thyroid Disorders, Is It Effective?
In recent years there has been a growing interest in Ayurvedic medicine for thyroid disorders. However, it’s important to know that the application of its treatments doesn’t replace those formulated in conventional medicine. How can you implement them safely?
First of all, it’s good to take into account that the evidence on Ayurvedic therapies is still limited. For this reason, their use should be prudent and only applied in a complementary manner. In the case of the thyroid, it’s essential to consider the complexity of the disorders that can affect its function. Read on!
What is Ayurvedic medicine?
You have probably heard of Ayurvedic medicine or certain Ayurvedic remedies. But what exactly does it consist of? Well, it’s a medical system that originated in India, and has been applied for over 3000 years in order to improve health and promote a balance between mind, body, and spirit.
According to Ayurvedic belief there are 5 elements (fire, air, space, earth and water) that make up the 3 doshas of the human body, better known as vata, pitta and kapha. When there’s an imbalance between these, health problems appear.
Based on this, a form of alternative medicine has been developed that suggests changes in lifestyle and diet as determinants to sustain health. In turn, it involves the use of herbs and natural foods as a way to promote relief from certain diseases, such as those of the thyroid.
Is Ayurvedic medicine effective against thyroid disorders?
In popular literature, treatment stemming from Ayurvedic medicine are considered allies against disorders affecting thyroid function. However, to date, there’s no conclusive evidence about their effectiveness.
On the contrary, physicians suggest a cautious use of this form of therapy to avoid complications. Although it can be applied as a complement to regular approaches, its possible effects must first be evaluated.
Although it involves the use of ingredients of natural origin, these aren’t sufficient to reverse the origin of the problem. In addition, they aren’t free of contraindications, side effects, or drug interactions.
Possible benefits of Ayurvedic medicine on thyroid health
As an article reported in PLOS Medicine states, thyroid dysfunctions are associated with the onset of a wide variety of chronic diseases and a decrease in life expectancy. In particular, they have an impact on metabolic and cardiovascular disorders and even cancer.
Due to these risks, their treatment must be timely and professional. The endocrinologist, together with other professionals, such as the nutritionist, are responsible for guiding towards effective therapeutic measures.
However, many people have become interested in Ayurvedic medicine to look after and improve thyroid health. In fact, some studies have recorded certain benefits. In any case, it’s essential to keep in mind that its use should be complementary and, if possible, supervised.
One of the plants used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve thyroid health is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also called “Indian ginseng”. Specifically, it’s considered an adaptogenic herb that may help control hypothyroidism.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study reported in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, participants took 600 milligrams of ashwagandha root daily for 8 weeks. After this time, those who received the supplement improved their thyroid hormone levels.
Other research shared in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine suggested similar effects in a group of patients who, in addition to hypothyroidism, had bipolar disorder. However, more clinical trials and research are needed.
Limited studies suggest that some plants used in Ayurvedic medicine help control hyperthyroidism. One of the best-known is Convolvulus pluricaulis Choisy (C. pluricaulis), popular in countries such as India and China.
In this regard, a study in Hormone and Metabolic Research in mice found that the extract of this plant helped reduce elevated levels of thyroid hormones. It was also useful in regulating the levels of some liver enzymes involved in this disorder. As in the previous case, more evidence is needed.
General recommendations of Ayurvedic medicine to improve thyroid health
In addition to the plants mentioned above, there are some healthy habits that, according to Ayurvedic medicine, help us to achieve a balance of the three doshas to promote well-being and take care of thyroid health.
Some recommendations are the following:
- Adopt a “vatapacifying diet”. Basically, this means increasing the intake of foods abundant in fiber, such as legumes, spinach, and bananas. At the same time, ultra-processed foods, fried foods or those made from chickpea flour or all-purpose flour should be avoided.
- Avoid excessive consumption of dairy products and derivatives.
- Practice pranayama. This is a form of yoga to control breathing.
- Walking and any form of physical exercise.
Discover more here: 5 Medicinal Infusions for Hypothyroidism
What to remember?
Ayurvedic medicine is a form of complementary medicine that can have positive effects in the control of thyroid disorders. Even so, it isn’t considered a first-line option against these diseases. Therefore, it shouldn’t replace conventional medical treatment.
Some Ayurvedic plants and therapies can improve thyroid health. However, they should be used under medical supervision so as not to interfere with the traditional approach.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Kakkassery A, et al. (2019). Effective Ayurveda therapy to treat thyroid disorders.
- Eric Yarnell and Kathy Abascal.Alternative and Complementary Therapies.Jun 2006.107-112.http://doi.org/10.1089/act.2006.12.107
Sharma AK, Basu I, Singh S. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Subclinical Hypothyroid Patients: A Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2018;24(3):243-248. doi:10.1089/acm.2017.0183
Gannon JM, Forrest PE, Roy Chengappa KN. Subtle changes in thyroid indices during a placebo-controlled study of an extract of Withania somnifera in persons with bipolar disorder. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014;5(4):241-245. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.146566
Panda S, Kar A. Inhibition of T3 production in levothyroxine-treated female mice by the root extract of Convolvulus pluricaulis. Horm Metab Res. 2001;33(1):16-18. doi:10.1055/s-2001-12620
Hankey A. Establishing the Scientific Validity of Tridosha part 1: Doshas, Subdoshas and Dosha Prakritis. Anc Sci Life. 2010;29(3):6-18.