Ancient Ayurvedic Help for the Thyroid
The Ayurvedic remedy Ashwagandha is a natural way to help your thyroid. Ayurvedic medicine has been used in India for thousands of years and is still widely used in the present day. Ayurvedic practitioners have always known of the benefits of Ashwagandha, and we are now discovering its many uses here in the west. Among its many health benefits, Ashwagandha has been shown to increase thyroid function.
Ashwagandha, or Withania Somnifera, is a relative of the tomato plant that produces a small red berry about the size of a raisin. For this reason it is sometimes called winter cherry. It is the root, however, that is commonly used as a medicine. Its Sanskrit name means "smell of horses" and it indeed has a characteristically strong smell. In Ayurvedic medicine it is classified as rasayana, or "rejuvenative".
It has also been called "Indian Ginseng" and like ginseng it is considered an adaptogen, or a substance that regulates the systems of the body and helps it to combat stress. Ashwagandha has a specific effect on thyroid function. It has been shown in medical studies to increase the hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. In at least one clinical study, ashwagandha has been shown to increase the production of thyroid hormones in adult male mice.
Ashwagandha has many other benefits as well. It has been shown to be an effective anti-anxiety agent, to boost immune response, and to stabilize blood sugar. It is an anti-inflammatory, reduces brain cell degeneration, and lowers cholesterol. It contains withanolides, which may inhibit cancer cell growth, as well as alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, and amino acids. It may improve quality of sleep. It is even reported to be an aphrodisiac and male performance enhancer.
Ashwagandha has been used as a medicinal aid for over 4,000 years in India and Pakistan. With so many uses and benefits, it is no wonder that it is called the "king" of Ayurveda and is it's most widely used herb.
Panda, S. and Kar, A. (1998), Changes in Thyroid Hormone Concentrations after Administration of Ashwagandha Root Extract to Adult Male Mice. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 50: 1065–1068. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.1998.tb06923.x