The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck just below the Adam’s apple. When the thyroid is overactive and produces excessive amounts of the thyroxin hormone, the condition is known as hyperthyroidism.
Common causes of hyperthyroidism include the autoimmune disorder known as Graves’ disease, inflammation of the thyroid gland, abnormal secretion of thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH), excessive intake of iodine, or benign lumps or nodules in the thyroid.
Several signs could be indicative of hyperthyroidism such as drastic weight loss, an irregular heartbeat, nervousness, excessive perspiration, changes in the menstrual cycle, swelling at the base of the neck, fatigue, muscle weakness and difficulty sleeping.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for hyperthyroidism.
The herb bugleweed, also known as Lycopusvirginica, can help manage various symptoms of hyperthyroidism. This particular herb reduces the amount of hormone that is produced by the thyroid. Studies have found that it helps decrease TSH levels and impairs thyroid hormone synthesis. (1) Moreover, it helps lower T4 levels and blocks the conversion of T4 to T3.
- Prepare an herbal tea by putting one-half teaspoon (or a little less) of bugleweed in a cup of boiling water and allowing it to steep for several minutes. Strain and cool, and then enjoy this tea once daily.
- You can also take this herb in the form of tincture (two to six ml per day). Furthermore, a combination of bugleweed, motherwort and lemon balm is highly effective in treating hyperthyroidism naturally.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm, also known as Melissa officinalis, is an herb that can help normalize an overactive thyroid by reducing TSH levels. It contains flavonoids, phenolic acids and other useful compounds that regulate the thyroid.
In fact, it blocks the activity of antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland and cause Graves’ disease, which is a common form of hyperthyroidism. (2) To restore your thyroid activity to a healthy level, drink lemon balm tea.
- Add two tablespoons of lemon balm to one cup of boiling water.
- Let it steep for about five minutes. Strain it and allow it to cool.
- Drink it slowly. Have a cup of this tea three times daily.
You may start the treatment with a lesser dosage, about one-half or one teaspoon of lemon balm, and gradually increase the amount to two tablespoons.
The herb motherwort, also known as Leonurus cardiaca, acts as a natural beta-blocker and helps control tachycardia (high heart rate) and palpitations. It has some anti-thyroid activity as well, which makes it even more beneficial for those suffering from hyperthyroid conditions.
- Steep one-half teaspoon of motherwort in one cup of boiling water for at least five minutes. Strain and cool.
- Drink this tea three times daily.
It is essential to note that this herb must be avoided if you are taking any kind of sedating medications.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains substances known as isothiocyanates and goitrogens, which help restrain the thyroid from producing too much hormone. Therefore, anyone suffering from hyperthyroidism must try to eat uncooked broccoli as much as possible. Other cruciferous vegetables that may be helpful are brussel sprouts, cauliflower, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi, kale, mustard greens, and radishes.
5. Soy products
Protein-based foods are good for those suffering from hyperthyroidism. Protein transports thyroid hormones to different body tissues. Research shows that a moderate concentration of soy sterols can help improve hyperthyroidism. (4) Hence, eating more soy products can help treat the condition. If you are not a big fan of soy products, try to include nuts, quinoa, eggs, farmed fish and legumes in your diet.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If your body is not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids, there can be hormonal imbalance, including thyroid hormones. These essential fatty acids are the building blocks for hormones that control immune function and cell growth, and also help improve the ability to respond to thyroid hormones.
You can increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by eating more fish, grass-fed animal products, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
7. Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables are a good source of iodine, an important mineral for thyroid health. The natural iodine present in sea vegetables can normalize thyroid-related disorders like obesity and lymph system congestion. These vegetables also contain a good amount of vitamin K, B-vitamin folate, magnesium, iron and calcium.
Some of the sea vegetables that you can use in the treatment of hyperthyroidism are kelp, kombu, hijiki, nori, arame, sea palm etc. They are usually available in dried form at groceries. You can use these vegetables by crushing, chopping or crumbling any mix of dry sea vegetables you like into soups and sauces, pizzas, casseroles, rice and salads.
Cabbage is one of the most useful foods that can be used in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Cabbage contains a good amount of dietary goitrogens, substances that help reduce thyroid hormone production. For best results, eat uncooked cabbage.
Berries are rich in vitamins and various antioxidant properties that can help reduce inflammation of the thyroid gland. You can eat different types of berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and others.
10. Indian Gooseberry
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, can treat many health problems including hyperthyroidism. Indian gooseberry, due to its ameliorating effects on the thyroid gland, can help to control the production of thyroid hormones. Mix Indian gooseberry powder with honey to make a thick paste and eat it in the morning before breakfast.
These are some of the foods that naturally suppress thyroid hormone production to help in the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Also, try to limit your intake of dairy products and caffeine as much as possible to manage hyperthyroidism successfully.
Diet for Hyperthyroidism
While a nutritious diet is important for overall health and wellbeing, it does not really have any effect on the development of hyperthyroidism. A diet on its own cannot reverse hyperthyroidism, but it can control the symptoms to a great extent. Therefore, in case you suffer from hyperthyroidism, it is important for you to follow a balanced diet that provides you with all the nutritional requirements.
Most health care providers claim that a diet for hyperthyroidism patients should be high in vitamins, minerals and protein. The calorie content of food items need not be very low either. Here are some foods that should make for a healthy addition to a hyperthyroidism diet:
- Skinless poultry, mainly chicken and turkey
- Lean meat
- Yellow fruits, which include papaya and mango
- Milk and other dairy products
- Cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower and broccoli
- Sea vegetables such as hijiki, dulse and kombu
At the same time, there are certain food items that worsen the condition and therefore, they should be strictly avoided by hyperthyroidism patients. Artificial sweeteners or products that contain aspartame like diet sodas, should be eliminated from a diet for hyperthyroidism, along with foods that are high in iodine. Processed meats like sausage and hamburgers should also be strictly avoided, as they can worsen the problem.