Thyroid, the butterfly-shaped endocrine gland situated at the neck that secretes thyroid hormones is highly influential in affecting the metabolism of the body as well as for proper functioning of liver, muscles, heart and brain. Dysfunction of the thyroid glands disables the body’s ability to break down proteins and process carbohydrates and fats, which disrupts the metabolism. Thyroid dysfunction is further categorised as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism where the former represents the excess production of thyroxine, the thyroid hormone and the latter is the inadequate secretion of the same.
Ayurveda identifies the root cause of thyroid dysfunction as the vitiation of Kapha and Pitta doshas combined with impaired digestive fire Agni. The vitiated doshas disrupts the functioning of thyroid gland and causes hypothyroidism, while the aggravation of Vata and Pitta doshas along with the impaired digestion causes blockages in the minute channels of the body which imbalances the thyroid gland.
Ayurvedic approach to Thyroid dysfunction
The Ayurvedic treatment of thyroid dysfunction is aimed at controlling the causative factors and enhancing the function of the thyroid glands using medicinal herbs and therapies to balance the doshas along with dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Ayurvedic treatments prescribed according to the type and characteristics of thyroid dysfunction are,
- Nasya – Nasal administration of medicated oils and powders are recommended to detox, strengthen immunity and to restore balance.
- Head Massage – Massaging the head with medicinal oils help stimulate the thyroid gland, while also improving blood and lymphatic circulation which is beneficial to thyroid.
- Vasthi – Warm medicated oil is made to retain over the thyroid or adrenal glands as a therapeutic remedy to thyroid problems.
- Foot Massage – Massaging specific points on the feet is considered to stimulate the thyroid glands and helps in managing thyroid dysfunction.
- Shirodhara – Medicated oil is continuous poured over the forehead in thin streams to calm down the system and to enhance the functioning of nervous system, which in turn helps in controlling the release of thyroid hormones.
Ayurvedic herbs recommended for thyroid problems are,
- Kanchanara – Regulates thyroid hormone production and reduces inflammation of thyroid
- Guggulu – Helps flush out toxins from the system
- Ashwagandha – Alleviates symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Brahmi – Thyroid stimulant which increases thyroxin concentration
- Jatamansi – Helps balance doshas
- Punarnava – Helps soothe inflammation and numbness of hypothyroidism
Yogasanas recommended for thyroid health include,
- Viparita Karani
- Surya Namaskar
Pranayama for thyroid problems,
- Ujjayi Pranayama
- Nadi Shodhana
- Bhastrika Pranayama
- Nadi Shodhana
- Bhramari Pranayama
- Sheetali Pranayama
- Sheetkari Pranayama