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I think we as a culture have not developed a paradigm such as this, as we are a young country, but it appears to be taking shape more and more as doctors and natural doctors begin to work together and yoga, tai chi, qigong chi kung and healthy foods are all being advocated. I think ultimately, because the people want them. Mary Shomon: Do you feel that there are any natural alternatives to thyroid hormone replacement that would allow patients to either avoid starting prescription thyroid hormone replacement, or gradually reduce their dose over time? Shasta Tierra-Tayam: There are no herbs that have thyroid hormone in them.

That being said, there are herbal, lifestyle, and dietary choices that can be done to help the whole body, which in turn will help the thyroid. So, if herbs are just specialized foods, they would fall under that category and be used to help the bodywork optimally. As we know the thyroid hormones are mostly converted in the liver and the kidneys, so helping these two organs will help the conversion and give the thyroid a brake.

Therefore we want the stomach to absorb the food at it's best so that the liver will have less toxins to cleanse and be able to convert the thyroid hormone better. Therefore we would want to eat easily digestible foods and take herbs that will help with digestion including ginger if the person has mostly cold symptoms and peppermint if the person has cold and heat symptoms and digestive grape bitters neutral. Guggul is known to help the thyroid and if you look at it's properties it is spicy and warm, like ginger, so it again increases the metabolism, while braking down cold clogging fat cholesterol.

Triphala has lots of enzymes, vitamin C and helps digestion and elimination, and since that is a problem with thyroid patients this would be good. Planetary has a product that combines Guggul and triphala, which would be very good for hypothyroid patients. Kelp has iodine in it, which is known to help the thyroid, so eating a little kelp, dulse, or kombu with our meals is a good idea. There are other liver regulating herbs and kidney strengthening herbs such as deer antler, rhemania, polygonum, shizandra and others that may be able to be used if the digestion is working well.

A big problem with taking tonifying herbs for hypothyroid patient's is that they are hard to digest, so if a person only takes digestive aids this may be as good as it gets and would help the patient more then if they were trying to take some heavy duty tonic's and were not digesting them. Some tonic's that are easier to digest and absorb are the Royal jelly, bee pollen and bee propolis. Since these are warmer energetically, yet a whole food the body can brake them down easier. They are known for increasing metabolism, nutrients and enzymes in the body, all-important for helping the thyroid work better.

For the immune system Reishi or Shiitaki mushroom supreme are good Planetary Formulas. Planetary Formulas will be coming out with a formula called Thyro-boost that will incorporate all of the above principles, and be o. This same principle would be true for acupuncture, exercise, etc. I believe the severity of a thyroid problem depends on the above factors, how strong is their genetic problem?

How good or bad is their diet? Do they get enough healthy oxygen? Along with emotions, etc. I have known people who spent their whole life in a devotionally lifestyle, meditating three hours a day, fostering beautiful ashrams and orphanages that still had to be on their thyroid medication.

Can Acupuncture Benefit People With Thyroid Conditions? | Natural Endocrine Solutions

I think it is short sided for complementary practitioners to think that we can fix anything, including the thyroid if we just do all the right things for our health. Some genetic thyroid problems are like type I diabetes, which people are born with and must be treated with insulin for the rest of their lives or they will die.

I know there is a big fear about going on something synthetic or even non-synthetic Armour because it replaces our thyroid and may shut our bodies down, and that is contraindicated if the adrenals are too weak which makes one think that it could weaken our adrenals , but I think the opposite is true. If we do not have proper peristalsis or metabolism then we begin to run off of our adrenals and weaken them even more.

If we use just the right amount, while incorporating the natural options we should be able to keep our dosages lower while preserving our adrenals and other healthy functions of the body. If we take too much thyroid, then of course we get burned out, but if we need it, and can't get our thyroids going after trying the natural stuff for 2 to 4 months, then we may need a little of it to help the body actually assimilate the natural products.

Finding out what works for you is the key. Mary Shomon: Some practitioners believe that the current increase in hypothyroidism in North America is stemming from a deficiency of iodine in the diet. Yet at the same time, many patients who decide to try to self-treat thyroid symptoms with iodine, kelp, or other iodine-rich herbal supplements report having a "crash" several days after beginning. Their energy flags, they feel profoundly hypothyroid, and cannot function well.


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This has happened to me personally several times, taking a variety of products containing iodine, and hundreds of other thyroid patients have written to me with similar reports. Some alternative practitioners believe that lack of iodine is not the cause of autoimmune hypothyroidism, and that iodine aggravates an autoimmune thyroid, which has seemed to be the case for me, and for many patients who have contacted me.

Yet, I also know some herbal experts who feel quite strongly that supplemental iodine in some form is essential for thyroid patients. What are you thoughts about this controversial issue? Shasta Tierra-Tayam: We do not give out plain iodine to our patients. So it would always be used with some form of warming digestive herb to help it assimilate properly. Perhaps that is why you had a "crash" from it, because you could not digest it. It's not what we put into our bodies; it's what our bodies can do with it. Mary Shomon: Many patients who are in the throes of hyperthyroidism due to Graves' Disease are reluctant to try herbal medicine, because they have such acute symptoms - palpitations, high blood pressure, tremors, etc.

Frequently they are being shepherded to quickly have radioactive iodine permanently disable their thyroid. Have you found any herbal remedies for hyperthyroidism that work quickly, or that can be pursued in conjunction with the use of antithyroid drugs or beta blockers that are used to help manage the acute phase?

Shasta Tierra-Tayam: It depends on what you think quickly is. The person's should always try to work with their whole environment, lifestyle, foods, medications, herbs, treatments, exercise etc. I have seen a combination of acupuncture 2 to 3x's a week , Chi Kung exercise , less spicy and greasy foods and some herbal formulas with cooling uncongesting properties help a lot within two months.

I have seen the fast pulse rate decrease and the protruding eyes go back in and a lot of the symptoms decrease with this more aggressive approach 3x's a week of acupuncture treatments for 3 months. The herbs used are again specific for the patient's constitution, sometimes strong Chinese herbs such as oyster shell and dragon bone are used, and in acute stages I have seen western herbs such as St. John's wort and kava kava along with valerian be used. Kava kava is very sedating and works quickly, however it is spicy and hyperthyroid people are too hot so this could create a problem, especially if used long term, so it is very tricky and should be monitored by a health care provider.

I think it is safe to say that chamomile and peppermint tea room temperature along with Planetary Formulas Easy Sleep, Stress Free and possibly Bupleurum Calmative are good over the counter formulas.

As far as taking herbs along with other hyperthyroid drugs, if the herbs are taken two to three hours from the drugs it would decreases the interaction and may help the body rebalance more quickly, but again this would need to be prescribed by a health care provider who was knowledgeable about herb drug interactions. Mary Shomon: One of the big controversies for thyroid patients is the issue of soy isoflavones.

Some studies have reported that overconsumption of soy - particularly in the form of isoflavone-packed supplements and protein powders, can inhibit the thyroid peroxidase, the thyroid enzyme that makes the key hormones, T4 and T3, resulting in goiters, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune thyroid problems. A number of patients have reported developing thyroid symptoms after periods of excessive soy consumption.

What are you thoughts about this process?

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For thyroid patients looking for natural ways to lower cholesterol, or prevent menopausal symptoms, are there other alternatives that might be more thyroid-friendly than soy products? Shasta Tierra-Tayam: In Chinese medicine soy is considered very cold, so to balance it they always cook it with ginger, green onion and sesame oil to help the digestibility of it. Hypothyroidism is considered an excessive cold imbalance, so eating anything that is cold in nature soy, ice cream, lots of salads, and even chilled foods will increase this imbalance and make it even harder for the body to assimilate nutrition from food.

So, if we are to eat soy, it should be in moderation, always cooked and have the balancing herbs to help digest it such as ginger, etc. I had a young male patient who came to my office with severe carpal tunnel syndrome, but upon further inspection, he had all the classic hypothyroid symptoms.


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We immediately took him off all the soy protein drinks and put him on a mostly warm cooked diet, got him on the appropriate thyroid medications and he reported significant improvement in most of his symptoms. However, he still felt his stomach was not right, and after a stool test found he had very high candida which is considered to be dampness in TCM. He is now focusing on treating his candida with warm cooked foods, and appropriate herbs to warm and dry the dampness candida out of his body.

He says the symptoms all started when he began drinking excessive amounts of soy protein drinks and he believes that this may have brought on his hypothyroidism and candida. Guggul has been found to be very helpful for cholesterol as well as red yeast. I have personally seen red yeast lower triglycerides by points in 6 weeks while lowering the cholesterol about 20 points. I have also seen a triglycerides level of go to and cholesterol go from to in about 9 months with the combination of Chinese herbs, red yeast, vitamins and diet change.

Thyroid gland

Regarding menopause, the herb called vitex or chaste berry is used extensively in Europe for helping the balance between estrogen and progesterone. Lesley Tierra has made a wonderful product called Menochange the has many of the menopause herbs in it which is available through Planetary Formulas.

Single herbs that are used are peony, dioscorea, black cohosh and others, but we find that formulas tend to work better because of the synergistic balancing of the herbs. Can you suggest some natural and herbal ideas that can be of help for thyroid patients who are still suffering these symptoms? Shasta Tierra-Tayam: 1 Fatigue: A Qigong - the "simplified Tai Chi" is a system of exercise from Chinese medicine that uses posture movement , breath breathing practices and mind intent visualization , to balance and strengthen the bodies energies.

I have personally had a patient who was so weak from Lupus and thyroid problems that I advised him not to receive acupuncture, as the theory is that it takes some qi energy to move qi, so if a person is too weak then the acupuncture needles will have nothing to move and can even make the person weaker. This same concept is true for people wanting to go out and do aerobic exercise to get stronger, but actually end up running off of their adrenal glands and end up weakening their already compromised adrenal system.

So I advised this patient to do Qigong only, with whatever limited foods he could eat, but have them room temp to warm and cooked to help assimilation. I advised him to keep well covered from the wind and not to take any herbs at this time as he was too weak and too allergic to everything to add new things at this time. This man was completely disabled, severely fatigued and looked like he was 70 when he was only in his mid 30's.

He got both forms of Qigong a the qi emission sessions where the Qigong Therapist emits energy out of his hands into acupuncture points to rebalance the body two times a week and b qigong meditation, movement practices daily which he did for two hours a day on his own at home or at class. Within a few months this man normalized his free t3, some of the lupus test values normalized and he reported an increased his strength, stamina, flexibility and vitality.

Some people who are not this weak do very well with regular acupuncture or moxibustion herbal heat therapy treatments. You have to give it time though.

Healing Thyroid Disorders: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Thyroid (Part III)

If you really want to undertake fatigue it is good to rule out all western causes ranging from thyroid, to Epstein Barr, candida, adrenal and female hormones, allergies, vitamin and anemia test, etc. There is an old Chinese saying that it takes 9 months to create a baby, the first three months you may not even see any changes, but as 6 to 9 months come along it all begins to accumulate in a substantial way.

This is the same for all chronic diseases. B Bone marrow broth's see my father Michael Tierra's web site and Chinese congees in my father's book, The Way of Chinese Herbs can be eaten on a regular basis as they are very well cooked and assimilated much more easily in our bodies.

A few selected herbs can be cooked into these foods to help bring in the nutrients from herbs in a digestible way like citrus peels, astragalus, codonopsis, ginger, lycii berries and codonopsis. C Royal jelly, bee pollen and bee propolis have many healing properties and are especially good for hypothyroid patients with fatigue because again, they are more warm in nature, and are packed with enzymes, B vitamins and minerals which nurture the blood and qi and since they are a whole food, are much more digestible. D Deer antler is known to help hypothyroidism and fatigue as it is packed with nutrients that are known to not only strengthen the blood, qi and yin and yang, but also, more importantly, the essence.

Planetary has just come out with a deer antler product. If digestion is really bad, you can dissolve the tablets in hot water so that they are more like a tea. F A good probiotic is always recommended to restore the friendly bacteria in the intestines. G Using heat therapy, such as a hot water bottle ten minutes a day over the lower abdomen and upper back can be useful in creating better circulation for the lungs and the intestines, which helps the metabolism over all.

H Equal rest, play and work. I Try the "eat right for your blood type" diet theories along with the Chinese theories of food for your constitution can be found in the book Herbal Healing Secrets of the Orient or Between Heaven and Earth. Many of us do not know what our predominate body type according to Traditional Chinese Medicine is and what foods benefit and what foods aggravate our constitution. For example, a hypothyroid patient has deficient "yang" or heat in their body and if they want to loose weight they must eat more warming foods to counteract the slow, cold metabolism.

When we exercise we get hot, sweat and burn calories, if we drink a freezing cold drink on top of that we will squelch all of the heat and metabolism we just increased. Therefore, if we want to loose weight and have deficient heat and internal coldness, we must eat mostly warm cooked, less watery and more hearty foods like root veggies, whole grains, protein and decrease or stay away from the frozen fruit smoothies, yogurts, salads, ice teas, etc.

Refrigerated foods and drink are a new phenomenon of the 20th century and we really have no idea how shocking this may be repeatedly used on our bodies. Most cultures do not serve iced drinks as we do at every meal, and the Chinese never have chilled foods. It may seem hard at first, but over time your taste buds change and cold food and drink is way too cold. As our bodies get warmer, perhaps with the thyroid naturally regulating or from medication, we may be able to handle the occasional chilled foods without it causing stomach distress and weight gain as readily.

B Eating right from your blood type see the book Eat Right for Your Blood Type has been shown to really help most people loose weight and I think there is something to this.

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However, Dr. In addition, he advocates using herbal supplements, which are not FDA regulated and their ingredients cannot be verified. You should discuss your symptoms with your primary care physician PCP to make sure that your other medical problems are appropriately managed, as well as being up-todate with preventative care such as age-appropriate cancer screening, cholesterol screening and immunizations.

If your PCP feels that a referral to an endocrinologist is indicated, then you may undergo some blood tests to see if you have a hormonal problem. Here are some other things to consider: If you are overweight, ask your doctor if you can enroll in a dedicated weight-loss program, or you can do it on your own by cutting out junk food and doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise four days a week.

If you have diabetes, make sure that your blood sugar is well controlled. If you snore, ask your PCP if you should undergo testing for sleep apnea. If you have anxiety or depression, make sure that you stay connected with your mental health professional and your medications are appropriately adjusted. If you recently had stressful personal circumstances, see if you can obtain support from family, friends, or a mental health professional. Some patients have found alternative approaches helpful, including cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, acupuncture and tai chi, a form of mind-body practice exercise that originated in China as a martial art and has value in treating or preventing many health issues.

A healthy, well-balanced diet and regular exercise are beneficial for everyone. Instead, make a goal to cook your meals at home and get most of your nutrition from vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. In addition, try to add more physical activity in your life — walking just 30 minutes a day is beneficial. Other simple strategies to increase your daily exercise include parking your car farther from your destination and walking the distance or taking the stairs rather than the elevator.

Every little activity counts and it might make the difference between feeling well and unwell. Unproven therapies for so-called Wilson's Syndrome may leave you feeling sicker, while a treatable condition can go undiagnosed. Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only. For issues of an individual clinical nature please consult your physician, as medical advice will not be provided through this site. Skip to main content. Home Supporters Contact Us. Search form Search.

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