Do you suffer from any of the following?
- Weight gain
- Weight loss or reduced appetite
- Poor memory,
- Muscle stiffness
- Lack of concentration
- Irregular heartbeat
- Menstrual problems
- Muscle soreness
- Intolerance to cold.
If the answer yes to one or more of these symptoms then you could be suffering from a malfunctioning thyroid.
The Thyroid is a gland located in the throat region of the body; also known as one of the Endocrine glands. You may have heard of ‘Goitre’; this is when the thyroid becomes enlarged.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits in front of the neck below the thyroid cartilage. Its main function is producing thyroid hormones- namely Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).
Variation in the secretion of the hormones puts the metabolic rate of the body at stake and the thyroid may be affected by many diseases.
Ayurveda and the Thyroid
- In Ayurveda, the thyroid is located near Vishuddi Chakra (in the throat area) and is made up of Pitta and Kapha Dosha.
- The thyroid is the centre of fire energy (Agni) and its functions are to stimulate psychic and somatic growth, secrete hormones, balance metabolism, and control bodily functions. The thyroid responds rapidly to stimuli and to stress, and is a very sensitive gland.
Thyroid disorders can be caused by stress, genetics, poor nutrition leading to an iodine deficiency, and disturbances in the immune system.
There are two major conditions caused by the Thyroid malfunctioning.
- The first condition is an overactivethyroid gland, known as Hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can cause Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Disease), Multi Nodular Goitre, and Graves’ disease (Diffuse Toxic Goitre).
- Hyperthyroidism has symptoms such as anxiety, sleeplessness, irritation, fear, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, lack of energy, rapid heart rate, heat intolerance, and diarrhea.
- The second condition is an underactivethyroid gland, known as Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is divided into three types:
Primary (originating from the thyroid gland),
Secondary (originating from the pituitary gland,
Tertiary (origination from the hypothalamus).
- The symptoms of Hypothyroidism include unusual weight gain, edema, tiredness, loss of appetite, constipation, anemia, muscle stiffness, difficulty in smelling and tasting, and cold and clammy skin. When Agni becomes too low, the metabolic rate slows due to the reduced secretion of hormones. The above symptoms are typical of aggravated Kapha Dosha.
Ayurvedic treatments assist with the proper secretion of hormones, at the same time encouraging the proper absorption of nutrients. The practice of Pranayama and Yoga create calm and relaxation, while the herbal treatments relieve and control stress, which appears to be a major contributor to thyroid dysfunction. The Ayurvedic treatments will boost the immune system and open the body channels that control healthy metabolism.
Manage Thyroid Conditions
Diet is very important. Below are some dietary tips for managing a problematic thyroid gland:
- Eat fresh and healthy food.
- Drink plenty of fresh, clean water.
- Avoid fried foods, strong tasting food, or food that is very hot or very cold.
- Avoid stimulants such as coffee, chocolate, tea, yoghurt, vinegar, meat.
- Also of benefit is hot ginger tea with basil leaves and peppermint.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and taking an afternoon sleep.
Diet for Hypothyroidism:
- Avoid Cruciferous vegetables that are rich in fiber like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and kale which may inhibit thyroid medication absorption.