Being one of the most important endocrine glands in the human body, the thyroid gland’s major function is to produce thyroxin, the hormone that is responsible for metabolism in the body. Extremely sensitive, the thyroid gland responds easily to stressful stimuli. The rate of a person’s metabolism depends on how much thyroxin is produced.
In ancient Ayurvedic thought, the metabolic rate of any organism is synonymous with what the ancients knew as “Agni” or what we today can consider as metabolic “fire”. It is when an individual’s metabolic fire is out of equilibrium that they may experience the effects of thyroidism, and which is directly responsible for determining just how quickly or slowly they metabolize.
When a person’s metabolic fire is weak or low, they may experience hypothyroidism, conversely, if the thyroid gland is over-active the person’s metabolic fire is then said to be too high, and their metabolism takes place too fast resulting in hyperthyroidism.
Some of the more common symptoms associated with hypothyroidism would often include such discomforts as lethargy, intolerance, depression, poor recollection, and more often than not weight gain. By contrast, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include diarrhea, flushing, extreme irritation, anxiety, and severe weight loss.
According to Ayurvedic thought, when stress is experienced an evolutionary mechanism meant as a protective response from physical threats takes place in our adrenal glands by producing elevated levels of cortisol. We know this as the “fight or flight” response. Whether the impetus for stress triggering high levels of cortisol in an individual is physical or imagined, it is the duration and accumulation of this hormone that may ultimately result in a condition of thyroidism.
According to modern Ayurvedic therapeutic science, thyroid disease is directly affected by diet and discrepancies in lifestyle which further promotes the imbalance in metabolic fire. Ayurveda therapy for thyroid disease aims to rectify the imbalance of metabolic fire and thus, the flawed functioning of the thyroid gland by the use of herbal medicines, and dietary along with lifestyle recommendations, in an effort to promote normal thyroid function.
Recommended Herbal Medicine
Guggulu oleoresin, Kanchanara leaves, Punarnava leaves, Brahmi leaves, Ashwagandha roots.
The herbal medicines recommended in treating hypothyroidism must be supervised by an experienced Vaidya or Ayurvedic physician. These herbs detoxify the body, as well as assist in normalizing overall metabolism.
Recommended Dietary Guide (Hypothyroidism)
Milk & milk products, rice, barley, sugarcane juice, cucumber, along with plenty of various fruits and vegetables can be effective in normalizing thyroid irregularities. Also, by choosing a more bland diet by restricting salts, as well as increasing water intake can all help these conditions considerably.
Ayurvedic therapeutic science acknowledges that significant benefit can be obtained from the use of very specific Yoga asanas and pranayamas (breathing techniques) that specifically target the Vishuddha or fifth chakra, or throat chakra . Also, the mantra “Hum” relating to the throat chakra, can be utilized, both vocally or chanted inwardly to achieve balanced thyroid functioning.