Is it Possible to Cure Thyroid with Ayurvedic Treatment?
Thyroid disorders are the most common endocrine disorders that affect many Indians. Data shows that nearly 42 million Indians suffer from thyroid problems and unfortunately more than 50% of those are completely unaware of their condition. Women especially, are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid disorders than men. Undiagnosed thyroid conditions puts the person at risk for other serious health conditions such as infertility, heart troubles & osteoporosis.
- What is thyroid?
- About thyroid gland & causes of thyroid disorders
- Tridoshas & Hypothyroidism
- Ayurvedic treatment for thyroid
- Aahar (Diet)
- Home remedies for thyroid
- Vihar (Lifestyle)
- Ayurvedic Herbs to cure thyroid
- Ayurvedic Chikitsa (therapies)
The thyroid gland, also known as the butterfly gland, produces hormones that play a major role in controlling metabolism, growth & development, moods, respiration and heart rate. Situated below the neck and behind the larynx, the thyroid gland secretes hormones such as thyroxine that is responsible for maintaining the body’s equilibrium and calcitonin that regulates the calcium levels in the body.
The thyroid gland regulates the brain function, body temperature, heart rate and keeps the main organs in the body functioning smoothly.
Thyroid disorders cause the gland to become hyperactive resulting in hyperthyroidism or underactive that causes hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition when the thyroid gland produces excess thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism is caused when the thyroid gland does not release enough hormones into the bloodstream and can lead to serious health problems such as increased cholesterol levels and heart issues.
Other disorders caused due to dysfunctional thyroid glands include Goiter, thyroiditis and even thyroid cancer.
The thyroid gland uses iodine to secrete hormones, calcitonin, T3 and T4, but as the body does not produce iodine naturally, it has to be consumed through diet. The T3 and T4 hormones maintain the calories that the body needs to function at resting state whereas c-cells make calcitonin help with calcium & bone metabolism. How much (either more or less) of these hormones is required by the body is regulated by the pituitary gland.
Iodine deficiency is one of the main causes of thyroid disorders. In addition, autoimmune diseases, inflammations due to viruses, radiation therapy, genetic disorders can also cause thyroid diseases.
As per Ayurveda, all the diseases are the result of imbalances in the tridoshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). Ayurvedic knowledge states that the thyroid is located near the vishuddhi chakra or the throat area. The thyroid is the centre of digestive fire/agni as it is mainly responsible for secreting hormones that control the metabolism.
In Ayurveda hormones and metabolism are governed by the pitta dosha. But the symptoms of hypothyroidism/underactive thyroid such as slowness, heaviness, fatigue, slow metabolism or manda agni correspond to kapha dosha.
Fatigue, unexplained weight gain, constipation, depression, dry skin, sluggish movements, muscle cramps & aches, sensitivity to cold are some of the known symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Also, one of the main factors for hypothyroidism is stress. Ayurveda says that stress vitiates the vata dosha, weakens ojas/energy & immunity.
Thyroid disorders are caused due to imbalance in all the doshas, but hypothyroidism is mainly due to kapha imbalance (pitta dosha causes hyperthyroidism). Kapha dosha and excess meda dhatu/fat tissues block pitta from performing metabolic functions, thus weakening the agni, resulting in an underactive thyroid.
Ayurveda treats diseases in a holistic manner by removing the root cause. Incorrect lifestyle and dietary choices promote tridosha imbalance, in fact hypothyroidism is called as yapya disease or a disorder that can recur once treatment stops. With modern medicine a thyroid patient might require lifetime medication, but Ayurvedic treatment for thyroid, consists of right adjustments to aahar, vihar, chikitsa, herbal remedies, yoga & pranayama, so that thyroid can be cured permanently.
In Ayurveda, thyroid treatment, in particular hypothyroidism treatment, focuses on
Well balanced, nutrient rich and easy-digest food which helps in Agni Deepan (to help boost digestive fire) and a diet that includes foods high in vitamin B, Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and lean proteins is beneficial in maintaining proper thyroid function.
Keep away from Kapha Vardhak aahar vihar. Meaning, avoid foods that aggravate the kapha dosha such as milk & milk products, curd etc. as aggravated kapha dosha can result in weight gain, one of the known symptoms of thyroid.
Consume vata pacifying food items e.g: vegetable soups, ghee, lentil soups etc.
Eat fresh vegetables (carrot, pumpkin, peas, cucumber, spinach, fenugreek) and fruits (bananas, grapes, papaya, oranges, strawberries, dates, apples, litchi, watermelon, guava, pomegranates – have at least one fruit a day), wholegrains (such as barley/yava, oats, brown rice), pulses & legumes, and nuts (flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds).
Include spices such as fennel, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, black salt, black pepper, fenugreek seeds in the daily diet.
Cow ghee, mustard oil , rice bran oil & coconut oil (one of the best remedies for hypothyroidism as coconut contains fatty acids and medium chain triglycerides that help boost sluggish metabolism) are suggested for people suffering from thyroid.
Avoid sugar, instead use honey or jaggery.
Avoid eating packaged foods, dried or fried foods, bakery items, foods with too much salt. Foods items made from besan (gram flour) and maida (all-purpose flour) can increase the vata in the body and can create an imbalance of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
Don’t skip lunch or dinner. Eat at least 3 nutritious meals as per dosha type and ritu/season.
Drink enough water but only when you feel thirsty.
Consuming fresh aloe vera or aloe vera juice pacifies and balances both vata and kapha in the body.
Herbal tea – take 1/2 tsp of fennel, coriander, cumin and boil them in four cups of water until it reduces to 2 cups. A strong detox drink, it improves metabolism and stimulates the digestive fire/agni, helps in weight loss, reduces water retention, prevents sluggishness and restores vitality.
Soak some dhaniya (coriander) and jeera (cumin) overnight, strain the water and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach. Dhaniya is beneficial for thyroid as it has high mineral & vitamin content and eases digestion.
Eat a mixture of amla churna/Indian gooseberry with honey, daily before breakfast.
One of the main causes of hypothyroidism is insufficient amount of iodine. Drinking the juice from jalakumbhi herb every day (11gm to 22gm dose) increases the iodine content in the body.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Having a regular exercise routine (brisk walking, jogging, swimming) helps increase blood circulation, improves cardiovascular health, strengthens muscle mass, uplifts mood, aids weight loss. All factors that help regulate the thyroid.
Sleep well as it is critical in optimizing thyroid function because it helps to regulate the stress hormone cortisol.
Avoid excessive caffeine, tea, alcohol, smoking.
Switch off from work and relax for at least 20 minutes by doing any activity that makes you happy (reading, gardening, painting, meeting friends, listening to music etc.)
Yoga has been known to provide an effective natural remedy for thyroid disorders by keeping the thyroid glands healthy and regulating metabolism. Yoga asanas like Sarvangasana, Ustrasana, Halasana, Matsyasana, Bhujangasana, Viparita Karani, Setu Bandhanasana, Dhanurasana etc. have proven beneficial in reducing hypothyroidism as they help increase blood flow in the neck region and thus to the thyroid gland, facilitate proper secretion of thyroid hormones and relax the nervous system.
Pranayama helps reduce blood sugar imbalance and adrenal stress, main factors responsible for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Pranayama such as Kapal bhati and Ujjayi Pranayama are the best ways to cure thyroid disorders. Ujjayi Pranayam, also known as psychic breath, is useful for throat related issues. It improves function of all endocrine glands including the thyroid gland, relieves depression, boosts confidence and invigorates the nervous system. Kapal bhati involves rapid breathing (active exhalation and passive inhalation) that leads to changes in the breathing activity and movement of abdominal muscles. Known to be effective in countering hypothyroidism by boosting blood circulation and reducing fatigue.
Hamsapadi Kwath – helps regulate thyroid gland, improves sleep, alleviates anxiety & irritability. Effective for both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
Kanchanar Guggulu – aids in thyroid hormone secretion and its regulation, improves glandular activity, which helps to minimize goiter-related swelling
Jalakumbhi – helps improve iodine levels in the body
Amla – known superfood, rich in nutrients, especially vitamin C, that boosts thyroid function and increases immunity
Trikatu – trikatu churna helps improve immunity and metabolism, very beneficial in treating hypothyroidism
Triphala – effective in managing hypothyroidism. Helps digestion, prevents constipation, reduces weakness, muscle ache & fatigue
Jatarnamshi – helps balance tridoshas
Shilajit – enhances absorption of iron, regulates and improves function of thyroid gland
Shankapushpi – anti-thyroid properties, regulates the rate of metabolism of the body by producing thyroid hormones. Effective in cure of hyperthyroidism
Brahmi – Thyroid stimulant that increases thyroxine concentration
Punarnava – Helps soothe inflammation and numbness of hypothyroidism
Ayurvedic massage such as Abhyanga (oil massage for the whole body) is one of the best techniques to fight against thyroid as it stimulates blood circulation, nourishes muscles and nerves, helps pacify vata and reduces the extra fat
Nasya or administrating medicated oils/powders through the nose help detox, strengthen immunity and restore dosha balance
Head massages with medicinal oils stimulates the thyroid gland, improves blood and lymphatic circulation that is beneficial for thyroid management
Vasthi, a technique where warm medicated oil is kept over the thyroid or adrenal glands. Acts as a therapeutic remedy to thyroid problems
Foot massage or massaging specific points on the feet helps stimulate the thyroid glands and manage thyroid dysfunction
Shirodhara, a method where medicated oil is poured continuously over the forehead in thin streams. This helps calm down the system, enhances functioning of nervous system, and helps in controlling the release of thyroid hormones
It is possible to cure thyroid with Ayurvedic treatment. Following the prescribed Ayurvedic method of aahar, vihar, chikitsa, herbal remedies, yoga & pranayama can help treat thyroid disorders such as Hypothyroidism. Book an Ayurvedic online consultation to get advice from expert Vaidyas on thyroid management.