Herbs have been a part of the medical scene for a long time. The ancient civilizations unearthed (no pun intended) the medicinal components in many plants. The medicinal plants range from well known ones like Aloe to the somewhat unknown (at least for healing purposes) Licorice. Herbs and plants can address various different conditions including thyroid dysfunction. No, I’m not saying that the herb will heal the thyroid completely, but it can definitely help with some of the symptoms and problems. One thyroid-loving herb is Ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is also known as withania somnifera and is part of the nightshade family. It is an herb from India and frequently used in ayurveda (India traditional medicine). Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb which is an herb that helps counteract effects of stress and works with the body to bring it back into balance by regulating or helping regulate certain levels.
A few studies have taken place to test the theory that Ashwagandha actually improves thyroid levels. For instance, an animal study was performed that administered the plant to mice for 20 days and then their T3, T4, and lipid peroxidation levels were checked.1 The result was an increase in the T4 levels. Other studies have shown that when used in combination with other medicinal herbs, Ashwagandha increases both T3 and T4 levels.
In addition to helping thyroid levels, the herb also has many other useful components which include alkaloids, fatty acids, and amino acids, among others. These properties can:
- Boost the immune system
- Improve reaction time
- Reduce anxiety/depression
- Helps lower cholesterol
- Can slow the growth of certain tumors
With all of these wonderful benefits you are probably wondering where you can find this miracle herb. Ashwagandha comes in liquid, capsule/tablet, and powder form, typically found at your local vitamin store. The typical dose for many individuals is about 500-700mg twice a day. The traditional way of preparing the herb is by simmering the root in milk and adding honey for a healing drink.
If you have any other wonder-working herbs or supplements, share them with us in the comments below!
1.Panda S, Kar A. Withania somnifera and Bauhinia purpurea in the regulation of circulating thyroid hormone concentrations in female mice. Journal Ethnopharmacology 1999, 67(2):233-9.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10619390