Heal Your Thyroid Naturally

by Michael Vertolli, CH

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Canadians, like members of most Western societies, are living longer and there are those who would like us to believe that this is largely the result of the many medical advances that have taken place in last century. Although there is probably some truth to this, what seems to be forgotten in our increasingly materialistic world is that quality is more important than quantity. What is the use of accumulating endless possessions if we are always so busy and stressed out making money to pay for them that we never have any peace or time to spend with our loved ones and our obsessive consumption is destroying the Earth upon which we depend for our very existence? Similarly, what is the use of living to be 100 if we end up spending the last few decades of our lives incapacitated with chronic disease, wasting away in a retirement home pumped full of medications? If we open our eyes it is obvious that chronic disease is on the rise and affecting each successive generation in rising numbers at an earlier age. All one has to do is listen to the news or read a newspaper and it is impossible not to notice the regular announcements that this or that disease is on the rise.

I did not find this news to be much of a surprise. lifestyle and environmental factors that underlie the condition. the basic approach is always the same: improve the dietary.Recently the media was buzzing with the news that a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal indicated that various types of cancer of the thyroid had more than doubled in Canada the last decade. As always. Although many doctors who commented on the study claimed that this was due to improved diagnosis. It is also possible to shrink and even eliminate thyroid cysts. The most unfortunate part of all of this is that the medical ‘experts’ will insist that there is no alternative. They will tell their patients that thyroid dysfunction will eventually lead to other more serious health problems (true) and that they must therefore accept conventional medical therapy because thyroid function can not be restored (untrue). More than 20 years of practice as an herbalist has taught me that thyroid function can be restored to the point where the dependency on synthetic thyroid medications can be reduced and often eliminated. the health of any organ can usually be improved and often completely restored. In my practice conditions of the thyroid are among the most common that I treat and they are rising steadily. Related Articles      Cancer Patients Increasingly Supplementing Treatment with Integrative Therapies Winter Wildlife Woodford Files – Scandals Plague Western Medicine If Your Cat is Fat. in most cases they are not malignant. not unquestioning adherence to current medical dogma. In general. it is most likely that it is due to both increased incidence and better diagnosis. or prevented if treatment is begun early enough. Although the details differ. This can be accomplished whether or not the condition includes an autoimmune component. a High-Moisture Diet Could Be the Key to Weight Loss Found and Captured in South America One of the sad things about thyroid conditions is that the medical treatments that are available are quite invasive. and provide appropriate treatment that will support the function of the organ and the person’s body as a whole. They involve cutting out cysts and part or all of the thyroid. . Fortunately. Many of my clients who are suffering from thyroid dysfunction also have cysts on their thyroid. destroying thyroid tissue with radiation. and inevitably putting people on increasing doses of synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of their lives. experience should be the ultimate judge of the efficacy of a treatment.

Disturbances of the functioning of endocrine glands often develop over many years. Most of these symptoms can also be associated with hyperadrenal function and other conditions. depression. free T4 and TSH. mild diarrhea and insomnia. these conditions are very real and can have a profound impact on our health and well-being. Even then the results are difficult to interpret because there are many other factors that can influence the levels of these hormones. Symptoms include hyperactivity. most of these molecules bind to blood proteins. Nevertheless. disturbances of function are primarily diagnosed on the basis of blood tests for free T3. Only a small percentage of these hormones circulate in an unbound state. elevated heart rate. Symptoms include fatigue. The master gland of the endocrine is the pituitary. The third hormone produced by the thyroid is calcitonin. It is also important to measure TSH so that we can determine how hard the pituitary has to work to get the thyroid to produce whatever levels of free thyroid hormones are present in the blood. In order to understand how the thyroid is functioning. It is believed that only these free T3 and T4 molecules influence cellular function. Hyperadrenal function often occurs concurrently with hyperthyroid. they often go undiagnosed. intolerance to heat. Medical diagnostic methods usually can not detect a problem until these conditions are very advanced. As a result. weight loss. These are what we call subclinical conditions as the symptoms are often too subtle to be easily diagnosed. This tends to slow down many of the processes that occur in our body. It produces hormones that control the release of hormones by the other endocrine glands. In the case of the thyroid.The thyroid gland produces three important hormones. Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) both require iodine and the essential amino acid tyrosine for their production. Hypothyroidism occurs when thyroid hormones are deficient. In more serious cases goiter (enlarged thyroid) usually develops. It is involved in calcium metabolism. This tends to speed up many of the processes that occur in our body. These hormones are involved in the regulation of the metabolic rate of our cells. it is not sufficient to simply measure T3 and T4 levels. The pituitary controls the release of thyroid hormones by releasing thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). When they are released into our blood. . Hyperthyroidism occurs when thyroid hormones are being produced in excess. Those who suffer from them are usually very aware that something is wrong even if their doctor can’t find anything.

cabbage. rosemary. peppermint. In advanced cases goiter develops here as well. However. Most of these symptoms can also be associated with hypoadrenal function and other conditions. and deficiencies of iodine.) and Mint family (e.) and soy products. This is obviously impractical. or a tendency to experience a lot of anger also tend to create significantly more stress in our life. spearmint. Hypothyroidism often occurs after a period of sub-clinical hyperthyroidism. etc. arugala. It would be more useful to measure hormone levels every couple of days over several weeks. lemon balm. B2. especially when the condition is partially related to dietary iodine deficiency. rapini. broccoli. B6 and E can contribute to hypothyroidism. it can be missed if blood tests are not taken at the right time. thyme. intolerance to cold. etc. This is not necessarily intentional. motherwort.g. mustard greens. kale.reduced libido. As a result. weight gain. oregano. cauliflower. such as being high-strung. Hypoadrenal function often occurs concurrently with hypothyroid. tyrosine supplements and stimulants such as caffeine can contribute to hyperthyroidism. Diagnosed hypothyroidism is much more common than diagnosed hyperthyroidism. but more significantly by our strategies for dealing with stress which ultimately determine the degree to which these factors affect us. (2) Dietary factors: Excess consumption of sea vegetables. so the medical establishment is willing to put up with a certain percentage of misdiagnosed cases. B3. extremely ambitious or aggressive. Brussels sprouts. . constipation. iodized salt. hair loss and irregularities of the menstrual cycle in women.g. Most doctors don’t know that this is the case. Personality factors are also important. The situation is even more complicated by the fact that hypothyroid is often preceded by a period when the thyroid oscillates between hyper and hypo function. bugleweed. marjoram. both are considerably more common when we include undiagnosed subclinical cases. lavender. elevated cholesterol levels. even if the hyperthyroid condition is more pronounced. I have seen many cases where thyroid dysfunction has been misdiagnosed simply because the blood tests were taken on a day when the blood hormone levels were not characteristic of the true nature of the underlying condition. basil. zinc and vitamins A. catnip. The factors that can contribute to thyroid dysfunction include: (1) Psychological stress: This is significantly affected not only by the number and intensity of potentially stressful factors in our life. However. Excessive consumption of raw vegetables and herbs from the Mustard family (e.

One of the major causes of tumours in this organ is radioactive iodine. Also of particular importance for thyroid function is radioactive iodine which is a by-product of nuclear fission from power plants and weapons testing.(3) Drugs: Estrogen therapies opium derived drugs can contribute to hyperthyroid. regular consumption of herbal products containing bugleweed. which is rare since the advent of iodized salt. However. Iodine is an important component of thyroid hormone and these substances tends to be found in the highest concentrations in our thyroid. Foods and herbs from the Mustard and Mint families are very nutritious and many have important medicinal properties. (4) Exercise: Lack of exercise can contribute to both hyper. (6) Autoimmune factors: Many cases of both hyper. Only those who already have hypothyroidism need be concerned.and hypothyroidism. motherwort and lemon balm should be avoided.and hypothyroidism have an autoimmune component.and hypothyroidism. Regular consumption of these plants will not lead to underactive thyroid function unless other factors are also involved. Iodine-deficiency hypothyroidism is rare in our society. particularly iodine deficiency. as can insufficient sleep. (7) Tumours: Cysts and tumours of the thyroid can result in hyper. It . (5) Toxicity: Many toxins can bind to hormone receptor sites resulting in negative health consequences. but not eliminated from the diet and only eaten cooked. Psychological and toxic stress are major factors contributing to the development of autoimmune conditions. Now let’s look at the treatment of thyroid dysfunction. while androgens. although it was once common. Spices and herbs from the Mint family aren’t as much of a concern because they aren’t cons umed in as large a quantity. corticosteroids and salicylates may be implicated in hypothyroid. (8) Iatrogenic causes: Post-therapeutic hypothyroidism can occur from over-zealous treatment of hyperthyroidism resulting in destruction or removal of too much thyroid tissue. In these cases foods from the Mustard family should be reduced. particularly in the Great Lakes region where the soils are exceptionally low in iodine.

(2) a mildly bitter detoxifying herb such as burdock root (Arctium spp.: 20-25%). gentian root (Gentiana lutea: 10-20%). This is also the case if there is a cyst on the thyroid gland. If you are taking thyroid medications. however. the success of treatment will depend on how much of the thyroid has been destroyed. you should stop the treatment and consult with a practitioner if you experience any unusual symptoms or the treatment doesn’t pro duce significant results after a period of 3-6 months. the condition is still treatable. The herbal treatment of both hyper. it is possible to attempt to treat the condition yourself as long as you have an accurate diagnosis. Post-therapeutic hypothyroidism is treatable. If you are not taking thyroid medications. The treatment of these conditions should be supervised by a qualified herbalist or other natural health care practitioner. Autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease require treatment protocols that are more complex.can be treated by increasing dietary sources of iodine or taking kelp or dulse supplements. dandelion root (Taraxacum officinale: 20-25%). As always. garlic bulb (Allium sativum:5-15%) or ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale: 5-10%). (4) an . wormwood herb (Artemisia absinthium: 5-15%) or white horehound herb (Marrubium vulgare: 10-20%). treatment is only possible with thyroid hormone supplements. but it should be supervised by a qualified practitioner.and hypothyroidism are relatively easy to treat as long as you are not taking thyroid medications.and hypothyroidism is similar and involves two distinct stages. if you are someone for whom self-treatment is possible. If too much of the thyroid has been destroyed. If the thyroid has been completely or almost completely destroyed. (3) a pungent (hot) herb such as cayenne fruit (Capsicum annuum: . If most of the thyroid is present. In the first stage we use a formulation that consists of five components: (1) a strong bitter herb such as centaury herb (Centaurium erythraea: 10-20%). complete treatment is possible. only partial results are possible. cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum: 5-10%). Functional sub-clinical hyper.5-2%). or elecampane root (Inula helenium: 20-25%). The treatment protocol for post-therapeutic hypothyroidism is the same as for milder cases of sub-clinical hypothyroidism.

and (3) maidenhair tree leaves (Ginkgo biloba: 20-30%). Overall. Begin at a relatively low dose of about two droppers (a dropper is the amount of tincture that you get in the glass tube of the dropper when you completely press the bulb once) of your of the formulation (not each individual herb). or ginger rhizome (5-10%). lavender flowers (Lavandula angustifolia: 20-40%).aromatic herb such as German chamomile flowers (Matricaria recutita: 20-40%). Add the tincture to 2030 ml (1 ounce) of water and hold it in your mouth for about 30 seconds before swallowing. For hyperthyroid we use bugleweed herb. take a break from the herbs for 1-2 weeks then begin the second formulation. peppermint. (2) a pungent herb such as cayenne fruit (. (5) The fifth component is different depending on whether we are treating hyperthyroid or hypothyroid. Maintain that dose for at least three months or until the symptoms have normalized.5-2%). Siberian ginseng rhizome (Eleutherococcus senticosus: 25-35%). For hypothyroid we use bladderwrack thallus (Fucus vesiculosus: 20-25%). . both kinds of formulations should be fairly bitter (but not overpoweringly so) and pungent (spicy) enough so that you can feel the heat in your mouth without it being too hot or irritating. Otherwise use one of the other Lycopus species’ at a proportion of 20-25%. or lacquered polypore fruiting body (Ganoderma lucidum: 25-35%). cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum: 5-10%).and hypothyroid. North American ginseng root (Panax quinquefolius: 25-35%). It should consist of three components: (1) two adaptogenic herbs such as Chinese milkvetch root (Astragalus membranaceus: 2535%). spearmint or wild mint: 20-40%). increase the unit dose by one dropper every couple of weeks until you reach a maximum dose of 5-6 droppers. The best way to use these herbs is in the form of 1:5 fresh herb tinctures taken three times per day on an empty stomach 10-20 minutes before meals. As long as you don’t get any unusual symptoms. hyssop herb (Hyssopus officinalis: 20-40%). The first stage of the treatment generally lasts about 6-12 months. When you have finished the first stage of treatment. In this stage of treatment there are no differences between the treatment of hyper. or thyme herb (Thymus vulgaris: 20-40%). one of the mint herb (the Mentha spp. T4 and TSH readings have been in the normal range for several months. You will know when to stop when you’re T3. American bugleweed (Lycopus americanus) is preferred because it is a strong bitter and can be used in place of one of the bitter herbs indicated above. How long it takes depends on the specifics of your case.

to grow and to achieve a greater level of harmony within ourselves and the world that we live in. Sadly. This takes a lot more work. whether it’s parasites or low carb diets. only ‘managed’ with drugs and invasive medical treatments. This may sound complicated. it is important that we keep an open mind and not give up our natural inquisitiveness and free will to authority figures until we have adequately explored our options. Tinctures that you purchase may be stronger or weaker. Start at 5-6 droppers right away. Don’t forget that the dosage of your complete formulation will be similar to or slightly higher than the recommended dosage of your individual herbs when used on their own. 1:2 is stronger than 1:5. The lower the second number in the ratio. higher for a less potent tincture). it is important that we don’t unquestioningly buy into the latest ‘alternative’ health fads. You do not take the full recommended dose for each herb. Similarly. otherwise the recommended proportions will change (lower for a more potent tincture.and hypothyroid could be due to other conditions.The second formulation is taken the same way as the first. The recommended dose of the formulation may need to be decreased or increased depending on the potency of the tinctures that you purchase. Minor changes to the proportion of an herb in a formulation will usually not make a big difference in the results as long as it is a good formulation. but our health is ultimately our own responsibility. most medical professionals have also surrendered their free will to the authority of accepted medical dogma and practice. as with anything in life.e. Every illness provides us with an opportunity to rise to the challenge: to learn. herbs are very forgiving. . There are many conditions for which mainstream medical practitioners will claim that they can’t be reversed. the more potent the tincture (i. discontinue the treatment and seek the advice of a qualified practitioner. It is very important that you are sure of your initial diagnosis before beginning treatment as the symptoms of both hyper. 1:10 is weaker than 1:5). but. except that it is not necessary to build up the dose. With our health. The doses that I have recommended are based on 1:5 fresh herb tinctures. Most of the time this is not the case. It’s also best if you purchase all of your tinctures at the same potency. depending on the manufacturer. unlike drugs. This formulation needs to be taken for at least 2-3 months. If you begin treatment and experience any unusual symptoms or you get poor results. You can use the recommended dosages on the product as a guideline.

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