Ayurveda and thyroid health – effective treatments and remedies

Jun 30, 2023 | Ayurveda


Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest holistic medicinal systems in the world with an history of over 3000 years. Originating in India it promotes the prevention of disease through achieving balance between the mind, body and spirit. Despite being such an ancient life science it is widely practiced even today for its practical and holistic approach to wellness and health. The basis of ayurveda is that the universe is made up of the five elements – air, fire, water, space and earth – combinations of which form the three dosha or life energies of the human body knowns as vata, pitta and kapha. Each person has a combination of these doshas which when out of balance cause disease.

According to ayurveda the thyroid which is a butterfly shaped gland near the throat area, is made of pitta and kapha dosha. It is the centre of agni or fire energy and helps to stimulate the psychic growth, balance the metabolism, secrete hormones and control bodily functions.

Importance of thyroid health to overall health and wellbeing

Thyroid functions as a control for most of the body’s essential mechanisms such as producing hormones that affect our heart rate, breathing, body temperature, digestion and the way our body uses energy. It controls the speed of our metabolism which is what determines how we transform food into energy. Thyroid issues arise when it makes too much or not enough hormones, as it is a very sensitive gland responding rapidly to stimuli and stress. Thyroid problems impact our entire body. Thyroid disease is the general term used for the medical condition that keeps the thyroid from making the correct amount of hormones. Goitre refers to the state of a thyroid when it becomes enlarged.

What causes imbalances in thyroid health

According to ayurveda thyroid conditions arise when there is an imbalance which can be caused by a number of health issues from iodine deficiency to autoimmune diseases which causes the immune system to attack the thyroid. This leads to hyperthyroidism which can be caused by Graves’ disease or hypothyroidism which can be caused Hashimoto’s disease. Certain genetic disorders are another leading cause as are cancerous tumours, non-cancerous lumps or nodules, inflammation and certain medical treatments such as thyroid surgery radiation therapy and certain medicines.

Impact of poor thyroid health on overall health and wellbeing

A thyroid disorder can cause a whole range of health problems from affecting your heart rate, bone health, metabolism, energy levels, mood and pregnancy to name a few areas. It can make existing heart problems worse. There are three main conditions linked with poor thyroid health:

  • An overactive thyroid gland known as hyperthyroidism which causes symptoms such as sleeplessness, anxiety, irritation, fear, muscle weakness, lack of energy, increased heart rate, high blood pressure and even diarrhoea.
  • An underactive thyroid gland known as hypothyroidism which is further sub divided into (i) originating from the thyroid gland (ii) originating from the pituitary gland (iii) originating from the hypothalamus. Symptoms generally include tiredness, weight gain, loss of appetite, oedema, anaemia, muscle stiffness and constipation. The metabolism slows down due to reduced thyroid hormones and in ayurveda this is known as a low agni.
  • Thyroid cancer when some of the thyroid cells become cancerous, an issue more common in women than men. It can be treated successfully.

How do you use Ayurveda to manage thyroid health?

Ayurveda provides natural and holistic methods towards managing thyroid issues through means such as therapies, herbal remedies, dietary changes and lifestyle adjustments. The focus is on balancing the production of hormones through balancing the doshas of vata, pitta and kapha to promote good thyroid health.

Herbal remedies

As a treatment of thyroid, ayurvedic herbs support thyroid functions and help rejuvenate the gland. While they are prepared differently the herbs listed here as well as many others that are not, all help towards promoting thyroid health.

  • Ashwagandha
  • Black walnut
  • Bacopa
  • Bugleweed
  • Echinacea
  • Coleus

Detoxification therapies

Panchakarma is a five process ayurvedic detox treatment which rids the body of impurities and toxins, which provides immense benefits. Nasaya, dhara, charka and shirodhara are all very effective as thyroid treatments.

Yoga and breathing exercises

There is a connection between stress and hypothyroidism and yoga is known for relieving stress while certain yoga poses are believed to balance out the thyroid to counter either an overactive or underactive thyroid. Breathing exercises too calm your mind and help relieve stress. Yoga and breathing exercises are complimentary therapies. Some yoga poses to help balance the thyroid are:

  • shoulder stand
  • pilow pose
  • fish
  • cat-cow pose

Ayurvedic massages

Ayurvedic massages help improve lymphatic and blood circulation which has huge benefits for people with hypothyroid, as lymphatic fluid is crucial for hormone organs. These massages also reduce inflammation.

Following an ayurvedic diet

Practicing Padhyahara or an ayurvedic dietary regime is an effective way to manage your thyroid issues. Get the guidance of a practitioner on a suitable diet to manage your thyroid health so you can be sure of the foods to include and what you should avoid eating. Eat cooked vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli – it is best to avoid eating these raw. You can also include leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek leaves and coriander infused water or tea. Fruits such as bananas, oranges, apples and berries are good as well as are all dairy products. Include Iodine rich foods. Avoid consuming too much zinc rich foods such as red meat, seafood and poultry

Ayurvedic lifestyle practices

Vihara or ayurvedic lifestyle adaptations help manage and compliment thyroid treatments. Managing stress is a key factor and you should adopt habits that help relieve stress for you such as getting proper sleep, ensuring you get exercise and some form of physical activity. Make sometime for yourself to de-stress and follow a regular routine so that you feel less hassled.


Ayurvedic therapies and treatments can be used alongside standard treatments to manage a thyroid disorders to ensure wellness and wellbeing. It helps the body protect itself from the effects of a thyroid imbalance while working to help regain balance in the thyroid gland. If you want to avoid a thyroid imbalance then following these ayurvedic treatments will be helpful to promote thyroid health.