Ayurveda is based on the doctrine that certain substances of vegetable, animal and mineral origin have curative values. These medicinal values have been well documented by various writers and compilers of Ayurvedic literature who observed and experimented with herbs, minerals, metals, animal parts, cooked food articles, natural foods and fruits. The details of these substances are given according to their nature, effects, and curative properties.
Thyroid disease is mentioned in detail by Charaka, one of the writers of the Ayurvedic materia medica. There is a mention that milk, barley, green grams, Bengal grams, sugarcane juice, cucumber and milk products are good for thyroid health. Sour products, on the other hand, aggravate thyroid conditions like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce the level of hormones that are required for the proper functioning of bodily organs. In other thyroid conditions, the gland may produce more hormones or may be inflamed or enlarged. Each of these conditions manifests in a wide variety of symptoms. The thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, and like all other hormones, thyroid hormones must also be produced and released in definite quantities. Their excess or deficiency has a detrimental affect on various organs and their functioning.
The Ayurvedic cure for specific thyroid problems involves the use of a potent herb, Kaanchanara ( Bauhinia veriegata ). Another herb of the genus of East Indian and African trees that yields balsamic products known as Guggulu ( Commiphora mukul ) is widely used for addressing symptoms of thyroid problems like weight gain. Among other herbs, jatamansi, shilajita ( purified asphaltum ), gokshura and punarnava are also used for their curative properties and the management of symptoms associated with thyroid malfunctioning.
Yoga and Ayurveda are complementary to each other. Yoga relies on dietary advice contained in Ayurvedic literature. Similarly, the yogic postures that aid in restoring thyroid function form an integral part of Ayurvedic treatment for thyroid disease.
Herbal and dietary advice and massage therapy based on Ayurvedic principles are fast becoming popular in America and Europe. In reality, this ancient Indian therapy can only make a back door entry into this part of the world, as medical practices in America and Europe are governed by strict regulations that are difficult to meet. Alternative medicine like Ayurveda lags behind due to lack of adequate research and an absence of institutional support. However, Ayurvedic medicine has a strong historical background of effective treatment of various diseases, including thyroid disease.