Thyroid diseases in Ayurveda can be identified as either a local swelling at thyroid gland called as galaganda or as the systemic presentation of the thyroid disease however without a recognition of association of these symptoms to thyroid. The examples of the later condition are shotha kind of conditions which might occur due to hypothyroidism and unmada kind of conditions which may occur due to hyperthyroidism.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Thyroid Problems
Galaganda in Ayurveda is considered as a variable swelling at neck which resembles to that of goitre. Typical features of Galaganda are 1. Nibaddhata (Attached) 2. Mahan (Large) or Hriswa ( small) in size and 3. Mushkavata lambate (hanging like a pouch) . Two different patterns and causes are identified for thyroid swelling. Of these varieties Vata Galaganda is apparently similar to toxic goitre where as kapha galaganda is similar to that of simple goitre. This is interesting to note that no pitta variant of galaganda is described in classical Ayurvedic texts. A medoj variety of galaganda is also proposed however this is found not to be a real thyroid swelling
Vata Galaganda Has Following Clinical Features
- Krishna siravnaddha ( Visible blue-black veins)
- Shayava/Arun( Blue –black discolouration)
- Parush ( Hard and dry)
- Chira Vriddha ( Sustained swelling)
- Talu Gala Prasshosha ( Dryness in mouth)
Kapha Galaganda Has Following Features
- Sawarna (No discolouration)
- Sthira (Stable)
- Ugra Kandu (Itching)
- Shita (Cold)
- Chirabhivriddha (Slow progress)
- Guru (Heavy)
Medoj Galaganda Has Following Features
- It is not a thyroid swelling which is apparent through following features
- Dehanurup Kshaya Vriddhi ( Increases or decreases as per the status of body)
- Pralambate alabu vata ( hanging like a bottle guard)
- Alpa Mulo ( small stalk)
- Medoj galaganda looks like a fat collection or a lipoma at neck
Prognosis of Galaganda
Following are the bad prognostic features of Galaganda
- Samvatsaratita (Chronicity): If the disease is for more than one year
- Pressure symptoms: Kriccha swasa ( respirartory difficulty), Bhina swara ( changed voice)
- Metabolic Symptoms: Aartra ( sad mood), Kshina ( prostrated), Mridu sarva gatrama ( flaccid body), Arochaka ( Loss of appetite)
- Metabolic feature present a mix of hypo and hyper thyroid state
Systemic Presentation Of Thyroid Disease In Ayurveda
Kapha shotha resembles to hypothyroidism for following
The shoth is guru, sthira and non pitting. Additionally the patient also has loss of appetite and increased sleep. These features are similar to myxedema of hypothyroidism.
Bad prognostic features of Unmada
- Sthulaksa ( exopthalmos)
- Druta ( Agitated)
- Patati ( Frequent falls)
- Kamp ( tremors)
- Jagruk ( reduced sleep)
- Kshina Bala Mansa ( Emaciated).
These features of Unmada are similar to that of Thyrotoxicosis.
Management of Thyroid Diseases in Ayurveda
Following classical drugs are recommended in Ayurveda for the Treatment for Thyroid Problems:
- Oral preparations- Kanchanara gugiulu, Jalakumbhi bhasma
- Massage- Amritadi Taila, Shakhotaka Taila
- Nasya- Bimbadi Taila, Tumbi Taila, Nirgundi Taila
Pathya- Yava, Mung, Patol, Karela, Rakta Shigru, Ruksha-Katu rasa, Gugulu, Shilajatu, Trikatu and madhu with gomutra
Vaman, Virechana and Rakta Mokshana
Apathya- Khsira –ikshu vilkriti, Anupa mamsa, Pishthanna , Amla, madhura, guru, abhishyandi
Recent Developments In Herbal Therapy Of Thyroid Disease
Ghallop M 1991 tried kanchanara gugulu upon 899 simple goiter patients for 10-20 months. 35 % patints under trial reported more than 50 % regression in goiter size.
Thyroid function was found stimulated after 14 days consumption of root extract of Sasurrea lapa ( Kushtha) in rats.
Tripathi YB 1995 reported a thyroid function stimulation following Inula
Coleus forskohlii is found to mimic the effects of TSH in regard to iodine uptake, organification of iodine, thyroglobulin production and promotion of secretion of T3 and T4 .
Bacopa menniera ( Brahmi ) exhibits thyroid stimulating abilities through an increase of T4 serum concentration in animal studies. The increase of T4 by 41% withpout any notable increase in T3 or hepatic activity suggests that the action of Brahmi has more to do with direct throid stimulating activity than it does with hepatic conversion of T4 into T3.
Ashwagandha root extract significantly increase the T4 level in blood.
Azadiracta Indica (Nimba)- reduces T3 level in rats possibly through interfering T4- T3 conversion
Embelica officinalis (Amala ) – decreses the T3 and T4 in mice and also intereferes with T3 T4 conversion
Momordica charantia ( Karela) – decreases T3 and T4 in mice
Convolvulus pleuricaulis – Root extract reduces T3 levels
Oscimum sanctum ( Tulsi) – Leaf extract inhibits T4 concentration
Piper betel ( Paan)- reduces T3 and T4 concerntration in male mice
Triphala extract is found to have signidficant affinity for
In summary following drugs from Ayurveda can be used in hypo and hyper thyroid conditions respectively
|Herb||Part used||Mode of action||Use|
|Kanchanara||Bark||Simple goiter, Hypothyroiduism|
|Kushtha||Increased thyroid function||Hypothyroidism|
|Pushkara||Root||Increased thyroid function||Hypothyroidism|
|Coleus, Brahmi||Extract||Mimics TSH||Hypothyroidism|
|Shankha pushpi||Flower||Reduces iodine intake||Thyrotoxicosis|
|Amala||Fruit||Reduced T3, T4||Hyperthyroidism|
|Karela||Fruit||Reduced T3, T4||Hyperthyroidism|
|Piper Betel||Leaf||Reduced T3, T4|
|Haritaki||Fruit||CCK receptor affinity||Thyroid carcinoma|
|Haridra||Rhizome||Reduced TSH binding to receptor||Thyrotoxicosis|
|Triphala||Fruit extract||CCK receptor affinity||Throid carcinoma|