In Ayurveda, Hashimoto Thyroiditis can be treated with application of herbs and appropriate changes in diet and lifestyle. Ayurvedic treatment helps to identify & remove the root cause of Thyroiditis in a person’s body. This helps to protect and heal the thyroid with a personalized approach.

As in a typical autoimmune condition, Hashimoto Thyroiditis gradually attacks the thyroid gland. This leads to inflammation and swelling in the thyroid gland and neck area. As the thyroid gland is destroyed by body’s own immune cells, one experiences lowering levels of thyroid hormones. Eventually, it leads to explicit symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Since Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is progressive in nature; it is really important to identify the signs and symptoms of the condition at an early stage. This will not only help to prevent further damage of the thyroid gland but also help you to successfully reverse the condition with right treatment.

In this post, we will look into the causes, symptoms and Ayurvedic treatment of Hashimoto Thyroiditis. We will cover diet, lifestyle and Ayurvedic herbs that can help you to support your thyroid gland and treat Hashimoto in a natural way. Let’s begin!

The Thyroid Gland and Thyroiditis

The thyroid gland is located at the base of the neck. It is pretty small, weighing just about 1 ounce and only 2-inches in length. An endocrine gland, the thyroid produces thyroid hormones, which are vital to the functioning of multiple systems in our body such as our metabolism, nervous system, circulatory system and reproductive system.

This means that the thyroid hormones are responsible for how fast or slow your body system works. If your body is processing information and materials too slowly or too quickly, you should check your thyroid gland and its hormones for any problems.

Thyroiditis happens when there is inflammation in the thyroid gland. This affects the functioning of the gland and of thyroid hormones in our body. The effects of thyroiditis could be mild to grievous depending on the degree of the imbalance.

Autoimmune Disorders

Our immune system is the system of your body that protects you against diseases. It produces substances-called antibodies-to fight against foreign substances like diseases and infections.

However, when this system confuses our own body tissues as harmful substances, it begins to attack those tissues to destroy them. This causes your immune system to produce antibodies against our own tissues.

Thus, an autoimmune disease is characterized by abnormal functioning of the immune system. This is what happens in Hashimoto’s disease. Here, inflammation of the thyroid gland happens due to the improper action of our own immune system.

Hashimoto Thyroiditis | Causes

Inflammation in the thyroid gland may lead to an overactive thyroid or an underactive thyroid. In particular, when the thyroid gland becomes underactive; it is termed as Hashimoto Thyroiditis.

Hashimoto Thyroid problems can happen due to multiple factors such as:

  • genetics
  • diet
  • lifestyle
  • medications
  • microbial infections
  • chemicals or radiation exposure

What is Hashimoto Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto Thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s Disease can severely affect the functioning of your thyroid gland and the balance of your thyroid hormones. It is the most common autoimmune thyroid disorder that often triggers hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid in men and women.

The immune system attacks the thyroid gland and begins to destroy it. Consequently, the thyroid gland functions less than it should, since it is damaged. This results in an underactive thyroid. An underactive thyroid, in turn, means fewer thyroid hormones produced. Eventually, that leads to hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto’s Disease Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Thyroiditis is made clinically and biochemically. 90 per cent of Hashimoto’s Disease patients have high levels of anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin (Tg) antibodies. This confirms the autoimmune response or defects in the immune system.

While thyroid disorders are becoming common these days, Hashimoto Thyroiditis is primarily a health condition that affects women. It is estimated that the ratio of disease occurrence is 7:1 for women and men. Hashimoto can occur in children as well.

Hashimoto’s Disease has many serious complications like infertility, suppurative thyroiditis, recurrent miscarriages, preterm birth, heart failure etc.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms Checklist

Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid. There are fewer thyroid hormones than is needed. This causes the body to slow down. Such symptoms as will occur include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Lethargy or sluggishness
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Cold sensitivity
  • Joint and muscle pain 
  • Constipation
  • Delayed puberty or slow growth in younger ones
  • Puffiness in the face
  • Dry and thinning hair
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Decreased sweating 
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Impaired fertility 
  • Depression 
  • Reduced heart rate
Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in Ayurveda

Ayurveda traces all problems back to the three doshas. These doshas define the composition of every human. They have to be in harmony, all balanced up. Only then can an individual be in an optimal state of health.

If there is, however an imbalance with any of the three, then there is a deviation from health. The imbalance must be quickly attended to prevent further complications. Or else, the other doshas will also be affected and there will be an undesirable chain reaction.

Hypothyroidism cannot be isolated to one dosha alone. All the doshas do have a part to play, though some more than the others.

Kapha Dosha Imbalance

The Kapha is the dosha for structures. As such, one of its components is the meda dhatu (fat tissues).

This could very well be one of the genesis of the problem. It starts when excess fat accumulates and blocks the functioning of the thyroid gland.

Vata Dosha Imbalance

Vata is responsible for movement. When the channels have been blocked by fat, there is no way for proper movement to occur. This affects metabolism. The blockage could affect the movement of food through your digestive tract. Even the flow of blood around your body could be hampered.

You can see here the importance of excessive fat. It is no wonder that obesity causes so much trouble.

Vata is called the queen of doshas because it is very important. Also, it is the easiest to imbalance, and the easiest to restore at the same time.

This leads us to another way by which the Vata dosha can be involved: and that is by stress. When stress stems from high Tejas (or overwork), this burns Ojas (immunity and vitality). Consequently, the body is more prone to diseases, including autoimmune diseases.

Pitta Dosha Imbalance

The main problem is with the Vata and Kapha doshas. However, if left untended, complications begin to arise in the Pitta dosha also.

The pitta dosha is responsible for transformation. This means that metabolism is heavily affected by the dosha. After all, metabolism involves ‘transforming’ one nutrient to the other, or one energy form to another.

For proper metabolism, the pitta dosha has a component called Agni. There are many types of Agni responsible for different aspects. But generally, this Agni can be referred to as fire.

When fire burns, it causes transformation. So also, when this pitta Agni fire burns, metabolic processes go on smoothly. Unfortunately, however, the excess meda dhatu (fat tissues) hinders it.

If you’ll recall that one of the elements of Kapha is earth, while that of pitta is fire. Now, imagine what would happen if you dumped a bucket of earth on a blazing fire. It stifles the fire.

Also, the pitta dosha is responsible for the hormonal system. Thus, if there is a problem with this dosha, the hormonal system is affected. That includes the thyroid gland and hormones.

A correlation between hypothyroidism and the fifth chakra

The fifth chakra or the Vishuddha chakra that is located in the throat can also be correlated to thyroid disorders. It is primarily a centre of air element and acts as a bridge between the mind and the heart.

Thus, any imbalance in vata dosha can trigger thyroid imbalances at a temporary level, which if unattended can lead to chronic conditions as Hashimoto’s Disease.

Also, any emotional disturbances that block the communication between our heart and the brain, where we are either holding off to your desires, memories or undigested emotions can disturb the delicate balance of thyroid hormones in our body.

Highly effective Ayurvedic Natural Ways to Treat Hashimoto Disease

Since, autoimmune response is the main culprit in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, it needs to be attended first to protect the thyroid. In Ayurveda, we do this with root cause identification. That is, your doctor will diagnose the level of imbalances present in your body, specifically the dosha, body tissues and the channels.

Ayurveda suggests that accumulation of body toxins can affect your digestive fire and metabolism. These toxins can find their way and get stored in your body due to poor diet, lifestyle and environmental factors.

Toxin build up in our body creates a sludge like material in the circulatory and lymphatic body systems, thus hampering their functioning. Since, immune cells are highly dependent on the clarity and speed of circulation in our body, it gets slow and defective.

That’s why, Ayurvedic treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis involves following objectives with the help of immuno-modulatory and anti-inflammatory herbs, diet and lifestyle:

  • detoxification
  • correction of digestive fire
  • reduction and removal of inflammation in the body
  • mental wellness to fight stress
  • immune system support
  • pacify and balance vitiated dosha

1. Your Diet | Ahara

Foods that will help to pacify the vitiated dosha will help you here. Here are the dietary guidelines:

Best Diet for Hashimoto Thyroiditis

The health of our digestive fire is crucial to prevent toxin build up and support our immune system. Since, 80% of our immunity is directed by our gut; we should really take care of it with nourishing foods. This will provide support healthy digestive fire, establish gut flora and nourish the body with thyroid hormones.

  • Foods rich in Magnesium: Avocado, spinach, figs, dark chocolate, chard, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Antioxidant rich foods such as berries, fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds
  • Probiotics to support gut flora: Fermented foods, curd and naturally cultured food products
  • Foods rich in Iron, Selenium and Zinc to support immune function: Nuts, Beans, Lentils, Leafy Greens (Cooked), Whole grains (cooked), Squashes, Carrots, Sweet Potato
  • Healthy Fats to support thyroid gland and immune system: ghee, soaked nuts and seeds, avocado, fatty fish
  • Sea vegetables such as seaweed, kelp, wakame and nori
  • Favor warm over cold food
  • Fix your meal times. Do not eat all the time and neither you should skip meals

Worst Foods for Hashimoto Thyroid

In general, you should avoid eating packaged foods, dried or fried foods and foods made of highly processed flours. These can disturb vata dosha and create an imbalance of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

  • Processed foods and foods heated in plastic containers. They push in lot of unwanted chemicals in the body that can trigger poor immune response.
  • Goitrogens such as soy, raw cruciferous vegetables, raw leafy greens and improperly cooked whole grains. They disturb the production of thyroid hormones, which can worsen Hashimoto’s disease. Also, goitrogens block iodine, an important nutrient for the thyroid to manufacture its hormones. It is better to consume these vegetables cooked and in small amounts.
  • Excessive consumption of dried, burnt, fried and stale foods. All of these foods lead to toxin build up in the body and disturb the digestive fire.
  • Cold temperature foods and beverages. They disturb your dosha balance and block body channels.
  • Untimely meals and or eating all the time. It disturbs the blood sugar balance, dosha and digestive fire.
  • Excessive sugar, chili and oil from fried snacks, pastries and candies.

2. Yoga Asanas (or yoga poses)

Regularly practicing yoga can significantly help in the treatment of Hashimoto Thyroiditis. While, there are lots of yoga asanas you can try, the key to benefit from yoga is to make a routine and stick to it. Some yoga asanas that can be helpful with thyroid include the following.

Yoga Poses for Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto Thyroiditis-min
  • Sarvangasana (shoulder stand pose): This pose allows blood flow from the legs to the head region. Thus, it helps to stimulate the thyroid gland and control thyroxin.
  • Matsyasana (Fish Pose): This stretches the neck and, by so doing, stimulates the thyroid gland.
  • Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose): This pose improves blood circulation and flexibility in the back and abdomen. It also helps reduce stress and fatigue.
  • Sirshasana (Headstand Pose): This acts directly on the thyroid glands.
  • Setubandhasana (Bridge Pose): It also stretches the neck to activate the thyroid glands.
  • Halasana (Plough Pose): By compressing the neck, halasana stimulates the abdominal and thyroid glands. It also helps in reducing fatigue and stress and calms the brain too.
  • Other poses include the corpse pose, fish pose, legs-up-the-wall pose, boat pose, camel pose, cobra pose, and many more.

3. Pranayama and Meditation

It is a set of breathing exercises and it is a part of yoga. Pranayama, alongside meditation helps to calm the mind and relieve stress.

This will go a long way in pacifying the vitiated Vata dosha and restoring the hormone balance in the body.

Additionally, pranayama can help to improve thyroid functions and calm the brain. You can try out the following pranayama on regular basis:

  • Kapal Bhaati
  • Anuloma Viloma
  • Bhramari Pranayama
  • 3 Part Deep Breathing Exercises

4. Ayurvedic Lifestyle | Vihara

Ayurveda is not just a medical system. It is a lifestyle on its own. If you can give yourself to it, you will enjoy better health around you.

Do note that Ayurveda incorporates lifestyle modifications into every disease management strategy. There would be no sense in attempting to balance your doshas if you keep ruining it with poor lifestyle choices.

In the case of thyroiditis, lifestyle changes include:

  • Manage and reduce stress levels by either avoiding stressful activities or by better planning. Stress is one sure way to get your hormones out of whack.
  • Practice regular meditation and breathing exercises (pranayama) that will help you to relax and reduce your stress levels.
  • Reduce your exposure to endocrine disrupting materials such as BPA and Dioxins. They trigger Estrogen dominance and lower your thyroid hormones.
  • Restrict your use of hormone-based contraceptives. If you can, avoid them completely.
  • Replace tea and coffee with herbals tea.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking altogether. They are highly drying, disturb dosha balance and lead to toxin build up in the body.
  • Abhyanga or regular massage will help to improve circulation in the body
  • Don’t eat junk food. Eat healthily and avoid getting hungry so that you can better resist the temptation to eat junk food.
  • Keep a regular, again, regular, sleep pattern in the night. Learn here on Ayurvedic guidelines for good sleep.
  • Try not to sleep in the day so you don’t break your sleep cycles.
  • Regular exercise to promote strength and balance.
  • Avoid excessive exercise and stressful physical activity.
  • Rest and restoration is highly important for Hashimoto’s Disease patient as it is primarily a Vata imbalance disorder. So, always maintain balance and don’t go over the board.

5. Ayurvedic herbs for Hashimoto Thyroiditis

Ayurvedic herbs and medicines aim to restore the Dosha balance and to facilitate proper thyroid function. Regular use of suitable herbs can help you to improve the function of immune system, remove inflammation in the body and also restore functioning of the thyroid gland.

All the herbs and formulations shared in this post are for information purpose only. All of these are potent Ayurvedic medicines. These should be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor only. Do not indiscriminately use Ayurvedic herbs as it may cause more harm than benefit.

  1. Ashwagandha: It is capable of restoring the body’s equilibrium. It can also help to increase the levels of the thyroid hormones in the body.
  2. Bacopa: It supports mental wellness, reduces inflammation and production of thyroid hormones in the body. In an experiment, bacopa increased the levels of T4 (a type of thyroid hormone) by 41%.
  3. Pippali: This can help with the weight gain symptom and improve thyroid function also.
  4. Kachnar Guggul: It is a resin that supports hormone balance, detoxification and digestive fire. It basically removes all three root causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
  5. Turmeric: Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps to balance both Vata dosha and kapha dosha. Regular consumption of turmeric regulates immune system in the body.
  6. Triphala: Triphala is a powerful Ayurvedic Rasayana (Herbal elixir that promotes longevity and rejuvenation). It deeply cleanses our body and helps to flush out wastes and toxins. Triphala has powerful antioxidants to rejuvenate, inhibit inflammation, promote healthy build of body cells, and blood purification.
  7. Amla: Amla is useful for its detoxifying qualities. It also works well to reduce cholesterol levels. That is not all. It is an anti-inflammatory agent, so it removes free radicals and helps restore hormonal balance in the body.

6. Ayurvedic Therapies for Hashimoto Thyroiditis

Apart from Ayurvedic medicine, diet and lifestyle changes, Thyroiditis patient may also benefit from Ayurvedic therapies. These Ayurvedic treatment options are employed on case by case basis.

Your doctor may recommend any of the following Ayurvedic therapies based on your specific Thyroid symptoms:

1. Panchakarma

Panchakarma means five works of deep purification that boost fertility, immunity and ojas “vitality”. It involves cleansing and healing of the body as a whole.

All the five procedures are employed in a sequence. This helps to systematically release and flush the toxins out. It establishes the digestive fire and strengthens the weakened body systems.

Panchakarma should be done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic Doctor . This will help you to get maximum benefits. It will also help to prevent any damage (due to lack of knowledge).

Therapies given below are part of the Panchakarma. They can be employed stand alone or in the sequence as charted out by your Doctor.

2. Virechana (Cleansing)

It refers to the cleansing procedures that support the health of the liver and help to flush out toxins. Virechana is primarily targeted to balance the Pitta Dosha.

It helps to establish regular bowel movement and promotes digestive fire for better metabolism.

3. Vamana (Vomiting)

Vamana helps to remove excess Kapha from the upper digestive tract through induced vomiting. Herbal concoctions and medicated oils are used to systematically release the toxins that can be flushed out via Vamana.

It is really helpful in establishing hormone balance and removing the blockade in body channels. Thus, Vamana helps to bring good flow of hormones.

4. Nasya (Oil in Nostrils)

It promotes regular flow of hormones by establishing Vata dosha balance.

Nasya involves regular insertion of medicated oil or ghee in both nostrils. It promotes flow of prana (vital life force), supports vitality and longevity.

Other than these Ayurvedic therapies, regular “Abhyanga” or body massage with medicated oils is recommended. Another procedure is “Swedna” or induced sweating via heat treatment or physical activity.

Before You Go!

Your body was meant to take care of itself. It has a natural intelligence and a force that keeps it going.

When you make choices that are not too proper, your body loses its balance. In this case, you begin to notice symptoms. These symptoms are messages the body is sending out to you, saying, “You’re not doing something right.”

When you see these symptoms, do not mask them with medications, tricking yourself that all is well. Tackle the problem from the root. Let the body’s natural intelligence take care of it. Help it along with natural measures and not synthetic supplements.

Once you start with this, you will find that you are able to find relief from Hashimoto Thyroiditis symptoms and remove it altogether from your body. This will also help to achieve the optimum state of health that is meant for you.

Now we want to hear from you. Do write to us for any queries and feedback. If you have tried any of the above Ayurvedic remedies for Hashimoto’s, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.

Wishing you vibrant health!

References

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About the Author

Dr. Pawan Bansal (Ayurveda Acharya)

Dr. Pawan Bansal is the Founder of Medhya Herbals. He is a registered Ayurvedic Practitioner with more than 40 years of experience in Ayurvedic and Herbal treatment. He has successfully cured his patients from chronic health issues related to Poor Digestion, Low Immunity, InFertility, PCOS, Joint Pain, Arthritis, Psoriasis, Inflammation, Chronic Cough, and Sinusitis. Dr. Bansal is passionate about Life and believes that one should enjoy it’s simple gifts to be Healthy and Happy.

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