The thyroid gland is an often overlooked but extremely vital part of the human body, responsible for a number of critical functions, so when it’s overactive or underactive, you pay the price.
When your thyroid is working properly, it helps to regulate muscle and cardiac activity, bone healing, electrolyte transportation, growth, sex drive, metabolism, and even menstrual cycles(1).
In traditional Chinese medicine, thyroid dysfunction is often treated with herbs(2). While these herbal remedies are used widely around the world to help treat thyroid disorders, they’re not a replacement for more conventional thyroid medications – consult with your doctor before you take any herbal supplement to improve your thyroid function if you are already on thyroid medications.
Here are some herbs that are commonly used by practitioners of holistic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine to treat thyroid dysfunction:
Commonly used in Latin America for treating thyroid disorders(3), echinacea is considered to be good for those who have an overactive thyroid. Traditional treatments involving echinacea require that the root of the herb be used, which means supplements aren’t that effective – most supplements are made with the leaves of the plant rather than the root – but a tea made from echinacea root is easy enough to prepare.
Ginger is rich in zinc, magnesium and potassium – all of which are required by the thyroid to function properly. Fresh ginger is the best for improving thyroid function, since it contains the most nutrients; you can eat it raw or steep it in hot water to make ginger tea.
Licorice root is great for those whose underperforming thyroid is causing them to feel drowsy, because not only is it great for your thyroid, but it also gives you a natural boost of energy.
4. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is used for a number of conditions, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and allergies, but it also may be useful for improving thyroid function(4). Stinging nettle helps to decrease inflammation in the body, and increase urine output.
5. Evening Primrose Oil
Often used to help women through menopause, this herb is also beneficial to the thyroid. It is often used to help with an underactive thyroid, and can help reduce the symptoms that go along with this condition, like hair loss and heavy periods(5).
The Bottom Line
Thyroid disorders are relatively easy to detect with a simple blood test, and medications for these conditions are important – but equally important is learning to take care of your body in natural ways as well.