Thyroid is a gland situated in the neck, which produces a hormone called thyroxine. This hormone helps to regulate metabolism. An overactive or underactive thyroid can pose lots of health risks for the patient.
Deficiency of the thyroxine hormone (hypothyroidism) increases subcutaneous fat in adults and cretinism in children. An excess of the hormone (hyperthyroidism) causes goitre. Hyperthyroidism is a condition more common in women in the age group of 30 to 50 years. They exhibit symptoms of irritation, over-anxiety, rapid heart rate, deep or shallow respiration, menstrual disturbance, fatigue and bulging eyes. While all these symptoms may not manifest simultaneously, any one of them may indicate hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is caused due to the inactivity of thyroxine, deficiency of iodine or thyroid failure leading to fatigue, restlessness and hormonal imbalances. If left untreated, it could lead to myxoedema, which manifests as swollen skin and tissues.
Ashwagandha, a herb used in ayurvedic practice seems to have an answer to both hyper and hypo forms of this disease. It grows in the drier regions of India, Africa and the Mediterranean. Its Latin name is Withania Somnifera.
It works with your body, not against it. It is an adaptogen, a herbal product that increases the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue. Adaptogens are rejuvenating herbs, ‘rasayanas’ in Ayurvedia, and restoratives. They are also tonic herbs and can be taken regularly. They modulate the endocrine system (hormones) to help the person regain hormonal balance and feel better.
Adaptogens work with all types of people i.e. even those who are suffering from extremes of this particular disease. For instance, while one person could take it to correct a sluggish thyroid, another could use it to treat an overactive one.
Scientists are stumped by these observations, perhaps because it has a holistic effect on the body.This herb has been used for thousands of years as a tonic so one can easily use it for longer periods without the possibility of any side-effects.
If the odour is unpalatable, you could take it in the form of tea or smoothie, add basil and make a stimulating hot drink out of it.
One of the best ways to determine whether the treatment is showing any effect is to test your thyroid hormones and check them again after a period of 2 to three months. These tests can be done by any certified health practitioner.
Always discuss with your family physician about consuming this herb to know if it is safe to use it or not.
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