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Herbal Medicine to Treat Hypothyroid

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/30/2010

If you suffer from low metabolism or have trouble losing weight, you could have a sluggish thyroid. Not everyone has hypothyroidism at a level that doctors deem treatable with medicines, but that doesn't mean you can't benefit from herbal medicine to treat hypothyroid conditions.

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    How Herbal Remedies Treat Hypothyroidism

    People who don't want to take prescription drugs to increase thyroxine production frequently turn to alternative medicine. Herbal medicine to treat hypothyroid disorders works in several ways. Some herbs stimulate the pituitary gland, which produces TSH, the hormone that stimulates the thyroid. Other herbal treatments support the thyroid by supplying needed nutrients from herbs. Herbs can be used that promote healthy liver function, since the liver is instrumental in the regulation of thyroid production. There are preparations available that contain a combination of herbs and supplements that stimulate the thyroid as well. Here are some herbs that are thought to support and stimulate the thyroid.

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    Licorice is found in some herbal preparations for the thyroid. High in antioxidants, licorice is thought to support the endocrine system as a whole, boosting the thyroid gland as well as other endocrine glands in the body. Licorice is usually used in conjunction with other thyroid boosting herbal supplements rather than alone. It can be a great support, used with other herbs, for those with hypothyroid conditions.

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    Kelp, a type of seaweed is used for the treatment of hypothyroid conditions. This herb has high concentrations of iodine, a mineral that is needed for thyroid function. Low iodine levels can cause hypothyroidism, so it makes sense to supplement with a natural herb from the ocean that supports thyroid function by supplying this needed mineral.

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    Maca is being used as an all-natural treatment for hypothyroidism. This herb works in a more direct way than some other preparations. It appears to directly stimulate the hypothalamus as well as the pituitary gland, which increases the production of thyroid hormone. This herbal remedy may soon appear in more traditional medicines. Research is underway to determine the effectiveness of using maca in medications.

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    Dandelion Root

    For the goal of optimizing liver function, dandelion root tea can be used to detox the liver, and improve overall liver health. Dandelion root does not directly affect the thyroid itself, but a more efficiently working liver may be all that is needed to stimulate better thyroid hormone production. Drink 3 cups of dandelion root tea with a squirt of lemon juice each day to detoxify the liver.

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    Coleus Forskohlii

    Coleus Forskohlii is an herb that directly increases the metabolism. It is helpful in the treatment of hypothyroid conditions, since metabolism is affected by this condition. In addition to helping patients lose stubborn weight, coleus forskohlii may actually directly stimulate thyroid hormone production.

    Synthetic thyroxine is not the only way to treat hypothyroidism. More people are turning to herbal medicine to treat hypothyroid conditions. Whether you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, or just want to support your thyroid, these herbal remedies may be just what you need. Just be sure to check with your doctor before attempting to treat a chronic condition with herbal products.

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    1. Go Herbal:

    2. IRIS Herbal Information Library:

    3. Treatments for Thyroid Diseases using Chinese Herbal Medicine:

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