Ayurveda’s natural treatment for low thyroid or underactive thyroid is quite different than the standard treatment prescribed by western medicine.
Ayurveda first determines the underlying root cause before recommending a natural, personalized treatment plan.
People with low or underactive thyroid present with similar symptoms however variations occur from person to person. Ayurvedic treatment is based on each person’s Vikŗti (current state of symptoms), deśa (climate) and bala (strength).
Natural treatment includes whole foods and herbs along with stress reducing practices like calming yoga, spending time in nature, laughing with likeminded friends or listening to soothing music. Any encounter that intends to rejuvenate the tired but wired spirit is the goal. The thyroid is the master gland of all bodily function; when it functions well, we feel healthy and happy.5
Is Your Thyroid Struggling?
The thyroid is very sensitive to environmental stressors. Things like over working, over exercising, and over doing send the wrong message as the thyroid struggles to keep up.5 When thyroid function is low, a wide range of symptoms develop; things like chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, headache, body pain, hair loss, swollen thyroid gland, cold hands and feet, difficulty losing weight, depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.3 After all, this is our master gland and it controls all bodily function.
When driven too hard we have protective mechanisms that switch things off, forcing us to slow down. In a world that is forever moving faster it is no wonder the most common thyroid problem is low or under active thyroid.5
The concept of āgni
Being too busy and over doing is the main root cause of low thyroid. Poor digestion is the real problem and that results from over doing in a busy world. How well your digestive system transforms food into absorbable nutrients for cellular energy is crucial to how well your thyroid hormones function.3
Ayurveda sees digestion and metabolism as one function called āgni. This is an Ayurvedic term for digestive fire or the ability to metabolize food into energy.
Over time improper eating habits hinder the proper function of āgni, including the āgni of hormonal activity. Poor digestion is the result of bad habits like chewing and swallowing too fast, eating on the go, eating too much or too late, and especially eating foods that are too heavy to digest.3
When we are stressed and trying to accomplish too much, it is easy to fall into poor self-care habits, making us susceptible to weak āgni. The signs and symptoms of poor digestion include but are not limited to gas and belching, bloating, constipation and/or loose stool, nausea, headaches, poor nutrient absorption, food sensitivities and rashes. Low āgni will eventually cause poor immunity and resiliency to pathogens like fungus, yeast, and parasites, and dormant viruses like Epstein Barr, Herpes, and Shingles become active.3 The result is chronic fatigue, body pain and mental fogginess.
The concept of āma + cleansing
Low āgni not only causes poor digestion. It also causes poor elimination of undigested food substances.
When there is a buildup of undigested foods, this residue is called āma. When āma accumulates over time, our body’s self-protecting intelligence, will store it in our fat tissues as a secondary attempt to remove it. When enough āma is created it clouds the function of āgni.3
Long ago Ayurvedic Medicine recognized āma and its effects and developed a powerful cleansing therapy known as pañcha karma. This therapy not only removes stored āma from fat tissue. It also rejuvenates the body and mind, reverses dis-ease and aging.
True pañcha karma can only be administered by a well-trained Ayurvedic Professional. The process may take up to 40 days to complete depending on the depth of the symptoms. It is the most effective anti-aging reversal of symptoms known. There is no other treatment like it.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: The attack begins
Over time when measures are not taken to prevent or reduce āma, the body may begin to attack itself. This is the case with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an auto-immune disorder. The immune system sends out an attack against its own thyroid hormone, creating inflammation of the thyroid gland. This causes underactive thyroid, enlarged thyroid gland, growths and for some, cancer.1
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common reason behind underactive thyroid and is thought to be responsible for as much as 90 percent of all cases.2 For many people, the attack on the thyroid hormone goes on for years before it is ever discovered. As the thyroid remains under attack, it becomes more and more sluggish. Symptoms of slowness develop — constipation, poor focus and memory, slow pulse and respiration, difficulty losing weight and chronic fatigue.
This creates a never-ending cycle of low āgni and high āma. Ayurvedic treatment requires a skilled professional, but more importantly a person who is willing to make the long-term changes to reverse their symptoms. Western medicine utilizes lifelong drug therapy with synthetic hormone or natural pig hormone.1 This treatment does reduce the stress of thyroid function but never really treats the root cause. Most importantly the person never feels full relief from their symptoms.
If you are diagnosed with an underactive thyroid disorder or if you have some of the listed symptoms then a simple blood test is the best way to determine if you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. An estimated 90 percent of people with low or under active thyroid, in fact have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The best way to know is through lab testing. There are six tests required: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies, and Thyroglobulin Antibodies.4
Questions? Leave them in the comments below. Check out part two to learn about Ayurvedic natural treatments for low thyroid, including pañcha karma.
1 “Hashimoto’s Disease.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Nov. 2016. Web. 19 July 2017.
2 Amino, N. “Autoimmunity and Hypothyroidism.” Bailliere’s Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 1988. Web. 19 July 2017.
4 Hu, Y. M., W. Liu, and G. H. Lu. “[Significance of Combining Tests of Thyroid Autoantibodies in Differential Diagnosis between Graves’s Disease and Hashimoto’s Hyperthyroidism].”Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 June 2003. Web. 19 July 2017.