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Herbal Control of Hypothyroidism

Ashwagandha has long been used in traditional medicines as an herbal treatment to help regulate thyroid hormones. Now modern medicine may provide new evidence to support ashwagandha's use as a safe herbal therapy for hypothyroidism.51

Hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland condition thought to arise from an over-reaction of the immune system that then causes the thyroid to not function properly. Ayurveda links hypothyroidism to excess mucus and fats that lead to hormonal imbalances and enlargement of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism symptoms include weight gain, dry skin and hair, memory loss, menstrual problems, anemia, and sensitivity to cold. The condition slows down metabolism as mental and physical activity decreases, and can be fatal if untreated.51

Conventional treatment is typically oral administration of pharmaceutical preparations of thyroid hormone (e.g., Eltroxin™ and Synthroid®). These can have adverse side effects such as increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular symptoms (e.g., hypertension and irregular heartbeat).51, 52

Evidence of Benefit

Results of animal studies suggest that ashwagandha root extracts can stimulate hormone production in the thyroid gland. When administered orally at dosage levels of 1.4 g/kg, by itself and in combination with orchid tree and guggul, for 30 days, T3 and T4 hormone levels were significantly increased.51

Clinical Study Evidence

Details from a clinical trial show that ashwagandha could help people with subclinical hypothyroidism. "Subclinical" means that people with the disorder hasn't progressed to obvious symptoms of thyroid deficiency.96

Patients in this pilot study were randomly assigned to take either 600 mg/day supplements of ashwagandha extract or a placebo for 8 weeks. There were 50 participants, with 25 in each study group. Ashwagandha significantly restored thyroid hormone levels in those who took it, including TSH, T3, and T4 levels.96

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Bauhinia purpurea and Commiphora mukul.