Do you suffer from any of the following?
- Weight gain
- Weight loss or reduced appetite
- Poor memory,
- Muscle stiffness
- Lack of concentration
- Irregular heartbeat
- Menstrual problems
- Muscle soreness
- Intolerance to cold.
If the answer yes to one or more of these symptoms then you could be suffering from a malfunctioning thyroid.
What Is the Thyroid?
The Thyroid is a gland located in the throat region of the body; also known as one of the Endocrine glands. You may have heard of ‘Goitre’; this is when the thyroid becomes enlarged.
Ayurveda and the Thyroid
In Ayurveda, the thyroid is located near Vishuddi Chakra (in the throat area) and is made up of Pitta and KaphaDesha. The thyroid is the centre of fire energy (Agni) and its functions are to stimulate psychic and somatic growth, secrete hormones, balance metabolism, and control bodily functions. The thyroid responds rapidly to stimuli and to stress, and is a very sensitive gland.
Thyroid disorders can be caused by stress, genetics, poor nutrition leading to an iodine deficiency, and disturbances in the immune system.
There are two major conditions caused by the Thyroid malfunctioning.
The first condition is an overactive thyroid gland, known as Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can cause Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Disease), Multi Nodular Goitre, and Graves’ disease (Diffuse Toxic Goitre). Hyperthyroidism has symptoms such as anxiety, sleeplessness, irritation, fear, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, lack of energy, rapid heart rate, heat intolerance, and diarrhoea.
The second condition is an underactive thyroid gland, known as Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is divided into three types:
- Primary(originating from the thyroid gland),
- Secondary(originating from the pituitary gland,
- Tertiary (origination from the hypothalamus).
The symptoms of Hypothyroidism include unusual weight gain, oedema, tiredness, loss of appetite, constipation, anaemia, muscle stiffness, difficulty in smelling and tasting, and cold and clammy skin. When Agni becomes too low, the metabolic rate slows due to the reduced secretion of hormones. The above symptoms are typical of aggravated KaphaDosha.
How Can Ayurveda Help?
In Allopathic medicine (Western medicine) you will be required to take medications for life once you’ve been diagnosed with a thyroid malfunction. However, with Ayurveda, use of herbal treatments, management of diet and lifestyle plus Ayurvedic herbs (in conjunction with Western medicines) can stop this disease from progressing any further. These Ayurvedic treatments assist with the proper secretion of hormones, at the same time encouraging the proper absorption of nutrients. The practice of Pranayama and Yoga create calm and relaxation, while the herbal treatments relieve and control stress, which appears to be a major contributor to thyroid dysfunction. The Ayurvedic treatments will boost the immune system and open the body channels that control healthy metabolism.
How to Manage Thyroid Conditions
Diet is very important. Below are some dietary tips for managing a problematic thyroid gland:
- Eat fresh and healthy food.
- Drink plenty of fresh, clean water.
- Avoid fried foods, strong tasting food, or food that is very hot or very cold.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, tea, yoghurt, vinegar, meat.
- Use recommended daily doses of multivitamins and minerals to complete your nutrition requirements.
- Of benefit are green Mung beans, cucumber, barley, old rice, and coconut oil.
- Also of benefit is hot ginger tea with basil leaves and peppermint.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and taking an afternoon sleep.
Depending on your body type, there are many Ayurvedic herbs which can be used, and this can be discussed with your Ayurvedic doctor. Trikatu, Triphala, Jatarnamshi, Trijata, Shilajit, Shankapushpi and Brahmi are just some of the Ayurvedicherbs which may benefit the thyroid, and of course there are many more not mentioned in this article.
A body massage and detoxification of the body known as Panchakarma is an Ayurvedictreatment which is very beneficial, and Nasya (nasal treatment), Dhara over Vishudda Chakra, and Shirodhara are all very effective thyroid treatments.
Breathing exercises such as Ujjaya, KapalaBhata, and AnulomaViloma are valuable tools to utilize. They’re easy to learn and should be practiced every morning for ten to fifteen minutes as part of your morning routine.
In addition, the yoga postures known as Sarvanga asana, Suryanamaskara, Paschimottan asana, JanuSirsasana and Halasana, and bending postures, are excellent in promoting the proper function of the thyroid gland.
Contact the Ayurvedic Wellness Centre for more information on maintaining the proper function of the thyroid gland. Ayurvedic herbs and treatments will be individually created for you depending upon the type and severity of the problem, the dosha imbalances, and your body type.