As someone who healed her thyroid cancer naturally, you can’t tell me that plants aren’t potent enough to move the needle when it comes to health and disease.
Today we are talking herbs, which I define as small plants with a green stem. They have leaves, seeds, maybe even flowers- and are multi-use. Could be for flavors, could be for food, could be for…. Medicine.
Ah yes, herbs for medicine. As many who heal with herbs believe, it is all about treating the root cause, which is what you are going to see as we discuss the thyroid and cancer and herbs that are supportive in that area.
As much as I love my vegetables and fruits on my plate, I am very big into getting enough herbs into my diet as I know how much they can support thyroid health.
Some of these herbs are western and some of them are Chinese Herbs. I very much like the way Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at the thyroid.
I’d like to share this excerpt from The Stram Center For Integrative Medicine: “A strength of Chinese herbal medicine is that it treats the root of the thyroid condition to more effectively balance the whole physiological system. In western biomedicine thyroid function is measured in terms of TSH, T3 and T4 levels. In Chinese medicine we observe the patient’s pulse qualities, tongue, and take into account the patient’s symptoms to establish a Chinese medical diagnosis. By this, we look at the thyroid imbalance from an angle that points to the root cause of the imbalance leading to thyroid disease.”
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, they believe thyroid problems stem from things like a low nutritional diet that then impacts the spleen, too much phlegm in the body or fluids that can cause nodules, and too much negative emotion including stress and anger… this can impact the liver which is tied to the thyroid as it can cause fluids to rise to the thyroid/neck.
I wanted to give that quick blurb because when we talk about herbs, the root cause is always what we look at when it comes to healing.
Here are the herbs (both Western and Eastern) I personally recommend and why.
Herbs that help thyroid cancer and support thyroid health
Chamomile tea has been linked as being able to help decrease benign and malignant thyroid disease. There was one study I found incredibly interesting. It was published in 2015 and it stated that intaking 2-6 cups of chamomile (and similar teas like sage) per week was associated with a reduction in risk for thyroid disease. But why? This, they have yet to figure out. (Source)
Curcumin is the active compound in the herb, Turmeric. This herb is anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative. (Source)
The Teggatz Functional Medicine Clinic has this to say about Curcumin and turmeric when it comes to the thyroid: “Curcumin shows tumor inhibiting activity in thyroid cancer [and] curcumin was protective against the genetic damage and side effects induced by radioactive iodine that is sometimes used to treat Graves’ disease.”
I consider Ashwagandha to be one of the best of the best herbs to try for thyroid support. It is a nightshade plant (so don’t take if you have nightshade sensitivities- I don’t) and it has been used in Ayurveda practice and as traditional medicine for thousands of years.
The amazing thing about Ashwagandha is that it’s been studied and proved to reduce thyroid hormone irregularity-- especially for those with a hypothyroid. 600mg daily is what was recommended in these studies. (Source)
Some of the best ways to use ashwagandha is in teas, coffees, smoothies, or baking. I am definitely one to mix in superfood powders into my baking, I highly recommend it, because you can cover a lot of ground!
Ashwagandha is also adaptogenic, so it can help your body respond to stress. This in turn is also good for the endocrine system… which of course, tied to the thyroid! Isn’t it incredible how every part of our body is connected? God’s divine creation!
This herb is a real powerhouse when it comes to thyroid health and also total-body health! Eleuthero is also known as Siberian Ginseng and it is also adaptogenic- so it will help with stress. Low stress = a better functioning thyroid. This is one of the first reasons I recommend Eleuthero alone, because in order to have a healthy thyroud we need to be doing things like getting into a parasympathetic system often, and giving support to our adrenals. Eleuthero does just that.
Another thing that is active in Eleuthero is its flavinoids. Flavinoids are important for the thyroid because, as this analysis from ScienceDirect says, “Flavonoids show important antithyroid effects, affecting biosynthesis, metabolism and transport of thyroid hormones in vivo and in vitro.”
This herb can also help with energy, which people dealing with thyroid cancer can always use the support there.
I just love ginger. It is such a warming spice. It instantly heats up the body and helps spark a digestive fire! It has been used for thousands of years medicinally. And while ginger is a popular flavor- actually drinking or eating it with intention and regularly is what is going to help support your thyroid gland!
Why does it help the thyroid, though? It’s the active within ginger, this knotted earthy root that has anti-inflammatory properties to it. These can help keep thyroid hormones in check and really helps protect those who also have Hashimotos. (Source)
If I had to choose one reason why I incorporate ginger as a thyroid cancer thriver, it is because of the anti-inflammatory effects. As a whole we aren’t doing enough to keep inflammation down on a day to day basis, and this can wreak havoc on the thyroid. Consistent doses of ginger will help keep the inflammation down- not just in the thyroid, but everywhere! Which is nice, because “everywhere” is tied to the thyroid. 😉
Guggle is a powerful herb, that is really a “gum resin” that comes from different kinds of Eastern plants. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It is “tapped” from certain plants much like maple syrup is tapped from a maple tree.
Calming inflammation is so important if we have thyroid issues, and Guggul does just that. (Source)
There are some animal studies (here and here) that show that Guggul can support hypothyroidism by increasing iodine uptake and also improving enzymatic activity that the thyroid produces.
Lastly, another positive benefit from regularly taking Guggle, can be improvement in the areas of fatigue and weakness, which many people who are hypo deal with.
Nettles is a Herbalist's go-to for many reasons. Often called “Stinging Neddle”, this herb can help a lot of fatigue- even with people who have anemia (aka extremely fatigued) so it is a good “pick me up” for people with thyroid issues, when tiredness is a big symptom.
Those with Hashimoto's can benefit from taking Nettles as it has been shown to be helpful for those with autoimmune disorders.
Definitely one of the best reasons to use Nettles on a daily basis (tea is great) is because it can help so much with inflammation, which can be a chronic issue if we are dealing with bladder problems.
So technically Bladderwrack is a brown seaweed but many herbalists recognize it and will include it into their herbal tinctures.
Bladderwrack is usually best for goiters and hypothyroid. Yes, even WebMD says it!
Bladderwrack is also though to be great for Hashimotos. And often people who have Hashimoto's also have hypothyroid. So this is a win win food to add in!
Lemon Balm is a beloved herb. Often used in tinctures for overall wellness and mood.
Herbal Element says this about Lemon Balm, “Lemon Balm may be useful for regulating an overactive thyroid, including cases of hyperthyroidism or Graves Disease. It appears to block hormone receptors, which prevents TSH from binding to thyroid tissue and antibodies from attaching to the thyroid.It would be best to avoid taking Lemon Balm if you have an underactive thyroid”
Herbalists also use Lemon Balm to support hyperthyroidism. It’s great for helping you calm down.
What is your experience with healing herbs? Would love to hear from you and learn how it has worked for you. You may also enjoy reading my ebook “A Guide to My Top Medicinal Herbs, Roots, and Spices” I assure you… You will love it!