Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by abnormally low thyroid production. The common causes of hypothyroidism include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lymphocytic thyroiditis, thyroid destruction, pituitary or hypothalamic disease, medications, and severe iron deficiency. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, weight gain, cold intolerance, excessive sleepiness, dry and coarse hair, constipation, dry skin, muscle cramps, increased cholesterol levels, decreased concentration, body pain and swelling of the legs. Severe hypothyroidism may result in an enlarged heart, plural effusion and heart failure.
The Ayurvedic treatment of hypothyroidism is aimed at controlling the symptoms and treating the basic pathology of the disease. For inflammation of the thyroid gland, medicines like Yograj-Guggulu, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Arogya-Vardhini, Chandraprabha-Vati, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica) and Patha (Cissampelos pareira) are used. For an enlarged thyroid, also known as goiter, medicines like Kachnaar-Guggulu, Arogya-Vardhini, Triphala-Guggulu and Medohar-Guggulu are used in high doses. For weight gain and increased cholesterol levels, medicines like Triphala (Three fruits), Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis), Marich (Piper nigrum), Pippali (Piper longum), Chitrak (Plumbago zeylanica), Lashuna (Allium sativum) and Psyllium (Plantago ovata) are used. For cold intolerance, the powders of Triphala and Trikatu (Three pungent herbs) are rubbed on the skin of the whole body. Dry skin, coarse hair, muscle cramps and body pain is treated with the application of medicated oils like Brahmi oil, Chandan-Bala-Laxadi oil, Vishgarbha oil and Mahanarayan oil.
Excessive sleepiness is treated using medicines like Laghu-Sutshekhar-Ras and Laxmi-Vilas-Ras. Constipation can be treated using medicines like Shankh-Vati, Samudradi-Lavan, Arogya-Vardhini, Triphala, Psyllium and Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa). Depression and decreased concentration is treated using medicines like Vacha (Acorus calamus), Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) and Abhrak-Bhasma. Swelling of the legs, an enlarged heart and heart failure are treated using medicines like Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Shrung-Bhasma, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Laxadi-Guggulu, Maha-Laxmi-Vilas-Ras and Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras. Plural effusion can be treated using medicines like Punarnavadi-Qadha, Gokshuradi-Qadha, Apamarga (Achyranthus aspera) and Ikshumool (Saceharum officinarum).
With the exception of certain conditions, the treatment of hypothyroidism requires life-long medication. Hypothyroidism is a very common condition and the symptoms in many patients are very often subtle. A high degree of suspicion and alertness is required on the part of physicians to diagnose this condition in the early phase.