Herbs for an Overactive Thyroid

For hyperthyroidism the herbs most commonly used are Bugleweed (Lycopus virginiana) combined with Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Lemon balm makes a lovely tasting tea. Both of these herbs, as well as Club Moss (Lithospermum officinale) inhibit thyroid-stimulating hormone binding. Motherwort helps to relieve heart palpitations and anxiety, hawthorn helps to regulate blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Lemon balm also helps to relieve anxiety, as does Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) which is sometimes combined with Bugleweed in hyperthyroid prescriptions.

A typical herbal blend for hypothyroid would be

  • Bugleweed (Lycopus virginiana) 4 parts
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) 2 parts
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 2 parts
  • Hawthorn (Crataegus spp) 1 part

A variation on this is

  • Bugleweed (Lycopus virginiana.) 1 part
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) 1 part
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 1 part
  • Nettle (Urtica dioica) 1 part

A typical dose would be 5 ml of either blend to be taken 3 times a day.

Drinks and herbs with a high caffeine content should be avoided such as cola, ephedra, coffee. High sources of iodine - ocean fish, seaweeds, sea vegetables and iodised salt - should be minimised. However fish and seaweed should not be eliminated completely as the body still needs small amounts to function healthily. 

You should try to eat more goitrogens. Goitrogens are mostly inactivated by cooking so raw or lightly steamed is preferred and they are mainly found in leafy greens - kale, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts - and soy. They can also be found in turnips, mustard, cassava root, peanuts, pine nuts and millet. These should form part of a treatment plan to reduce thyroid hormone levels.

We would strongly recommend a visit to a professional medical herbalist to look at the root causes and a comprehensive treatment plan.

© Napiers Herbals Ltd 2014 • Edinburgh and Glasgow • Herbalists and Medical Botanists since 1860
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