The thyroid is a small gland with a big responsibility. The hormones that are secreted by the thyroid play an indispensable role in biological processes that sustain life. If the thyroid does not function properly, it can disrupt the functioning of most of the body organs. The wide range of symptoms of thyroid problems can greatly affect the quality of life of an individual.
Herbs have recently become extremely popular in the developed world. However, they have been in use in the East since long ago. Herbs are the mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine and the ancient Indian therapy Ayurveda, and are still popular in the countries of their origin (China and India) and in the neighboring countries. Herbs have been providing effective cures for a number of diseases, including thyroid disease.
Herbs can be taken safely, but it is always better if they are used along with an understanding of the mechanism by which they aid in treating thyroid problems. Basically there are three types of thyroid conditions – an overactive thyroid, an under-active thyroid and an enlarged thyroid. The conditions are self-explanatory, and the level of activity of the thyroid reflects the adequacy or inadequacy of hormone release.
Herbs for thyroid provide the required support to the organ. They do not work like conventional medicine that tries to replace thyroid hormones, reduce the size of the gland or curb production. Herbs, vegetables and fruit have various properties that aid in the healing processes, and it is these natural capabilities that are harnessed and targeted by herbologists and naturopaths. Many natural plant-based products are strong antioxidants that can effectively combat free radicals in the body. They can also provide effective thyroid support by stimulating the gland.
One class of herbs for thyroid health used as thyroid supplement belongs to the commiphora genus of East Indian. African trees yielding balsamic products known as guggul and Ashwagandha, (_Withania somnifera_) also aid thyroid health.
Despite the fact that herbs have been used since ancient times and the curative properties of these herbs has been demonstrated adequately, they are still contested by conventionalists. The sheer lack of funding and support from research facilities is responsible for the non-acceptance of herbs in general. But conventional medicine has actually indirectly helped in popularizing herbal medicine. The side effects of allopathic drugs have been by the far the best ad campaign that herbal medicine could ever get.
A note of caution must be added here. The safety aspect of herbs should not be overplayed. Remember that many herbs have to be prepared in a particular manner to eliminate toxicity. Some, if not prepared properly can be lethal, and others need the systemic approach for preparation to be effective.