Gardening
Herbal Remedies

Are Herbs a Natural and Safe Alternative for Treating Thyroid Disorders?

The thyroid gland, and the hormones it produces, are responsible for the metabolic activities, rate and efficiency, of every cell, tissue and organ system throughout the body.  Thyroid hormones regulate body processes, such as, gene expression, growth, development, reproduction, fluid and mineral balance, cardiac function and blood pressure, and the way the body uses oxygen and food to produce heat, energy and living tissue. The thyroid gland's role in human health is paramount. 

Herbal Remedies

So when it comes to thyroid gland disorders and the myriad of symptoms they can bring, it is of utmost importance to find the right treatment protocols to restore the body to normal function and enable it to heal.  For many thyroid patients their treatment experiences are long and arduous, and not as simple and straight forward as most doctors would assume. Conventional medicine regimes have left many patients with ongoing suffering and have offered little advice or options for better outcomes. This has lead many patients to research for themselves, in a hope of finding answers to their unresolved health issues, and ways to support their body in a more holistic manner. Herbal remedies and dietary changes have often been part of the solution, and have helped to address underlying triggers and causes of their original thyroid dysfunction. What many have found is that herbs will not actually cure the underlying thyroid condition, just as conventional medicine won't, but herbs can encourage healing, reduce inflammation, alter chemical pathways, and improve bodily functions to bring a thyroid condition under more control, thus reducing debilitating symptoms.

Misconceptions and the desire for natural options

Unfortunately conventional treatment regimes are often given a bad rap. It is understandable, because they often don't go far enough to address the actual causes of a thyroid condition. Many patients are left with no guidance on how to avoid a worsening of their condition, and then more extreme and invasive methods are required when it becomes out of control. However, conventional medicine is important and necessary in many cases of thyroid dysfunction. It has it's place and saves lives, and most thyroid patients will require some type of traditional intervention. But this is not where it stops. Those suffering with varying thyroid conditions often need a multifaceted treatment approach to address underlying issues to bring their bodies back into balance and restore healthy functioning.

 

So often I hear that standard medications for treating low thyroid function and restoring thyroid hormone levels, are unnecessary, ineffective, or not natural. For some who sit on the extreme end of the pendulum, thyroid hormone replacement with Thyroxine, Tertroxin, or even Natural Desiccated Thyroid (NDT) is seen as the enemy, something evil to be avoided at all costs because it doesn't encourage the body to heal itself. It is touted as being unnatural and foreign to the body because it is man-made and not from a natural plant-based form. Sorry to burst this bubble, but, hormones are natural to the body! The body produces hormones to power every bodily system and keeps us healthy and alive. Without adequate hormones we become very ill, and for thyroid patients with little to no functioning thyroid cells, hormone replacement becomes a non-negotiable. Having said this, providing the body with adequate nutrients and using complementary therapies and herbal supplements is also beneficial in enhancing healing processes, dealing with causative factors, and restoring healthy bodily functions. They are absolutely necessary for treating the body as a whole. But one thing that needs to be stated: there are no plants based or herbal substances that act like hormones within the plant kingdom. Hormones are unique to the animal kingdom, which includes us, so we need to rely on our own natural production, or supplementation with animal hormones, or bio-identical man-made hormones. There is no other natural option that can replace thyroid hormones.

Should herbal preparations be considered natural and safe?

Are herbs natural to the body? The answer is actually, no. Herbal extracts are not a natural component found in the human body. They are often referred to, and thought of, as natural because they are part of the plant kingdom. Herbs, and herbal medicine, have their origin is ancient cultures, and have been used in food and for medicinal purposes for centuries. They create wonderful flavours and aromas in cooking, and have many health benefits when used therapeutically. Much research has been done in medical fields on the effects of herbs within the body, and how they can be used in treating many conditions that plague us in the 21st century. Hence, we are now inundated with so many herbal supplements, for all types of conditions, it makes the head spin.

 

Most fresh herbs are generally safe to consume regularly, like fruit and vegetables, we can consume them without any negative side effects. But what people do not always consider is that many herbal supplements are highly concentrated, and contain varying substances that can be detrimental to human health if consumed in high doses or for long periods of time. Not all herbs are created equal. They are not like fruit and vegetables that can be consumed in large amounts without any side effects. Some herbs have extremely potent components, and need to be taken with the same level of caution as pharmaceutical medications. The view that herbs are natural and completely safe, and can be consumed freely without any negative side effects, is incorrect. 

Special consideration when it comes to herbal

supplementation

Herbal preparations have a powerful effect upon the body and brain, causing alterations in body chemistry. Some can be extremely beneficial in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, allowing the body to better heal itself from various conditions. Most people can consume a variety of herbal substances without any problems, however, there are some individuals who are particularly sensitive or have complicated health conditions that experience nasty side effects from various herbal preparations. Problems and changes within the liver, kidneys, heart, thyroid, ovaries, pancreas, adrenals, have been reported, not to mention, brain chemistry alterations, and nervous system reactions. Herbal medicines, like pharmaceutical  medications, can cause negative side effects such as allergic reactions, hives and skin rashes, asthma, anaphylactic responses, headaches, hypertension, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. These reactions can range from mild to severe. Anyone taking herbal supplements should therefore be under the careful supervision of a medically trained physician or other professionally trained health care provider who knows the benefits, side effects and interactions of herbal preparations. Doctors should always be fully informed on all medications and supplements their patients are taking, so they can carefully monitor responses and reactions, both positive and negative. Idealistically, herbal medicine should always be prescribed by a qualified and registered practitioner or herbal therapist. It is not uncommon for people to try various herbal supplements in an effort to improve their health, and not let their doctors know. And, often they do not report negative side effects because they are embarrassed to admit to their doctors that they have been self-medicating without their knowledge. Unfortunately, a doctor will not have the full picture and this makes it more difficult to treat their patient's effectively. It is quite common for many thyroid patients to become increasingly sensitive to food components, chemicals, and the ingredients in many medications, and some have negative reactions to herbs. Of course, this is not always the case, as many thyroid patients have benefited greatly, with no known side effects. As I always say, everyone is different. 

 

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Similarly, vitamin and mineral supplements, like herbal preparations, are highly concentrated formulas, but these are required to correct nutritional deficiencies. If these supplements are taken in large doses, or for too long, they can cause abnormally high levels within the body that become toxic, and even life threatening. This is why doctors regularly check their patients blood levels of these nutrients to make sure they are not deficient or in excess, as either way can be detrimental to human health. Herbal extracts within the body cannot be tested in this way, as vitamins and minerals are part of our biological makeup and natural to the body, whereas, herbs are not. However, the effects of herbal preparations can alter body chemistry and these effects may reveal themselves in medical assessments. So anyone taking supplements, whether natural or not, needs to take care and caution, and always be under the supervision of a health care professional.

Chinese Medicine
Pipetting Samples and Test Tube

Quality Control - Conventional verses Herbal

Pharmaceutical medications

All medications can have side effects, whether pharmaceutical drugs, vitamin and mineral supplements, or herbal medicines. In fact, many pharmaceutical medications contain compounds derived from plants, or man-made versions of naturally occurring compounds. However, the difference between conventional and herbal formulations, is that conventional medications are heavily regulated and have to satisfy strict quality control standards, such as having been through vigorous testing, research and drug trials, the reporting and evaluation of any side effects and toxicity, and guaranteeing conformity in purity, potency and ratios of substances. Drug information for doctors and consumers also needs to be provided describing drug components, dosage according to age and weight, usage in pregnancy, and safety while breast feeding. Manufacturers are required to document and alert consumers to any known side effects and dangers. All of this has to be done before any medications can be sanctioned and approved. And finally, those administering medications need to be medically trained professionals with years of experience studying the human body, drugs actions and interactions, and reviewing trials and case studies, before they are allowed to practice.

Herbal medicines
In contrast, many herbal medicines throughout the world, are not regulated and supervised by any agency. There are many sub-standard herbal products available in the market today, which have not been through quality control measures, testing, trials, analysis, uniformity and reporting. No information is provided to doctors or consumers on dosage, interactions with other drugs, and potential toxicity, and manufacturers are not required to warn consumers of possible dangerous side effects. Companies selling these products often misguide people into thinking their products are completely safe and natural and totally free from any adverse effects. It is not unusual for people to take these supplements for months or even years, not realising that long term use could be harmful to their health. 

So, the take home message from this is, be cautious in purchasing herbal medications over the internet, or from overseas, if you can not guarantee they are from a reputable company with strict quality control standards. Purchasing unregulated herbal supplements could pose major health risks, as many herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of pesticides, toxins, lead, mercury and arsenic, leading to toxic side effects and emergency situations. 

 

Herbal medicines in Australia
The good news is that most herbal medicines produced in Australia are regulated and subject to quality controls for their safety, purity, potency and effectiveness. However, there are still products that are advertised over the internet containing hormones and herbs that are sold here in Australia without prescription, under the dietary supplements category, and are not TGA approved. These supplements are often advertised as natural weight loss enhancers, liver and gut cleansers, or hormone balancing supplements. While these products may have beneficial effects, they have been produced with limited quality control measures, and have not been through stringent regulatory procedures as other prescription and over the counter medicines. Often the active ingredients in these formulations vary considerably from batch to batch and cannot be guaranteed to be free from any contamination. So wisdom should prevail. Consult with your doctor, or qualified health provider or herbalist, who knows your health history. If you are considering herbal medications as part of your treatment protocol, always be under professional supervision. Always purchase herbal products from reputable companies, on the advice of a qualified practitioner or pharmacists who can advise you on dosage, drug interactions and information that you need to be aware of.

One size does not fit all. 

Everyone is unique, their condition is specific to them, with their own set of triggers, causes and cofactors that led to the development of their thyroid disorder.

All herbs cannot be used for the same thyroid condition

Herbal Medicines used to Treat Thyroid Conditions

Herbal medicine involves the medicinal use of plants to treat disease and enhance general health and wellbeing.

Herbal medicines are advertised to be free from side effects, which is a myth. A large number of people still rely on herbal medicines, and some people take herbal medicines along with routine allopathic medicines especially in cases of diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disease, etc., where the patient is on long-term or lifelong treatment.

 

In this chapter, we will discuss about possible toxicities of some herbal medicines and their remedies.

2.1. Self-treatment

Herbal medicines are easily available in market and can be purchased without prescription. These products are advertised on media as a miracle treatment without any side effects to attract people that are fed up with side effects or lost hope for being cured. The patients who like to play safe game are attracted in a manner that they are allowed to continue their regular medicines along with herbal treatment. Even persons caring about their health start herbal treatment to remain healthy proving the proverb “Prevention is better than cure.” As a result, a large number of people are attracted towards herbal medicines and

How should we view conventional and alternative medications for thyroid disorders?

List of Herbs - their Potential Benefits and Side Effects
Natural Herbs

This is a partial list of herbs and herbal treatments with known or suspected adverse effects, either alone or in interaction with other herbs or drugs. Non-inclusion of an herb in this list does not imply that it is free of adverse effects. In general, the safety and effectiveness of alternative medicines have not been scientifically proven[1] and remain largely unknown.[2] Beyond adverse effects from the herb itself, "adulteration, inappropriate formulation, or lack of understanding of plant and drug interactions have led to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening or lethal."[3]

Most of the adverse effects stated in this list are associated with only a small percentage of cases; they should be understood as potential risks rather than as certainties.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_herbs_with_known_adverse_effects

Medicinal uses for specific herbs

Herbal medicine aims to return the body to a state of natural balance so that it can heal itself. Different herbs act on different systems of the body. Some herbs that are commonly used in herbal medicine, and their traditional uses, include: 

Aloe vera

Benefits: Aloe suggested uses include promoting wound healing, as anesthesia, as an antiseptic, for arthritis, burns, cold sores, feverinflammation, as a moisturizer, and for itching.

Aloe is possibly effective for pain, inflammation, and wound healing.

Aloe medications can be taken by mouth or applied to the skin. People take aloe products by mouth for conditions such as obesitydiabetesosteoarthritis, and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. People apply aloe gel to the skin for conditions such as acnedandruff, wound healing, and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/aloe-vera-juice-benefits 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-aloe/art-20362267

Side effects:

Bugleweed - Lycopus europaeus

Benefits: is a plant that’s historically been used to treat heart and lung conditions. 

Hyperthyroidism is excessive thyroid hormone activity. Lycopus europaeus, also known as bugleweed, is an herb that has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of mild hyperthyroidism in human studies published 2013.3 It may also reduce the symptoms of Graves' disease, an autoimmune type of hyperthyroidism.

Bugleweed is believed to act against the antibodies that cause Graves' disease, but it is not clear why it may reduce symptoms of hyperthyroidism even if you do not have this particular type. It comes as a liquid and a pill, and while it has been well tolerated in human studies, the ideal dose is not established.

Side effects: Some sources suggest that bugleweed is a thyrosuppressant — that is, it reduces the function of the thyroid gland. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information out there to verify whether it’s an effective treatment for hyperthyroidism or not.

Celery seed extract

Benefits: Celery seed is used by some to treat health conditions including:

In addition, celery seed is said to stimulate digestion and enhance liver health. As a diuretic, it may also help increase the flow of urine, which can reduce water and sodium levels in your body. https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-celery-seed-88621

Here are 6 surprising benefits of celery seeds.

  • Rich in Important Nutrients. Despite their small size, celery seeds have an impressive nutrient profile. ...

  • Support Bone Health. ...

  • Promote Red Blood Cell Formation. ...

  • May Improve Blood Sugar Levels. ...

  • May Fight Bacteria. ...

  • May Have Antioxidant Properties.

Side effects: Allergic reactions may be mild (skin inflammation) but can also become severe, even leading to anaphylaxis. Celery seed is likely unsafe in pregnant women. According to medical sources, it might make the uterus contract and cause a miscarriage. Kidney problems: Don't use celery in medicinal amounts if you have kidney problems. Celery might cause inflammation. Low blood pressure: Celery in medicinal amounts might lower blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already low, taking celery might make it drop too much. Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants and antiplatelets): Celery seed contains chemicals that may thin the blood. This could make the effects of blood thinners stronger and raise the risk of bleeding. Blood thinners include aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and clopidogrel (Plavix).

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6528421/

Chamomile

Benefits:- Chamomile is often used in the form of a tea as a sedative. Chamomile, sage, and mountain tea have all been associated with a decrease in benign and malignant thyroid disease, and this effect appears to be the strongest for chamomile tea. In one study published i 2015, consuming between two to six cups of these types of herbal tea per week was associated with a reduced incidence of thyroid disease

Side effects: Allergic reactions can occur, particularly in persons allergic to ragweed. Reported reactions include abdominal cramps, tongue thickness, tightness in the throat, swelling of the lips, throat and eyes, itching all over the body, hives, and blockage of the breathing passages. Close monitoring is recommended for patients who are taking medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (CoumadinJantoven).

Dong quai

Benefits: quai (dang gui) – used for gynaecological complaints such as premenstrual tension, menopause symptoms and period pain. Some studies indicate that dong quai can lower blood pressure.

Side effects:

 
Echinacea

Benefits: - to stimulate the immune system and aid the body in fighting infection. Used to treat ailments such as boils, fever and herpes​. Largely because white blood cells in the laboratory can be stimulated to eat particles, Echinacea has been touted to be able to boost the body's ability to fight off infection.

Side effects: - Drug interactions: The most common side effect is an unpleasant taste. Echinacea can cause liver toxicity. It should be avoided in combination with other medications that can affect the liver such as ketoconazole (NizoralExtinaXolegelKuric), leflunomide (Arava), methotrexate (RheumatrexTrexall), isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid, Laniazid).

Evening Primrose

Benefits:

Side effects:

Feverfew

Benefits: Most commonly used for migraine headaches.

Side effects: Drug interactions: Feverfew can cause allergic reactions, especially in persons who are allergic to chamomile, ragweed, or yarrow. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) or Motrin can reduce the effect of feverfew. A condition called "post-feverfew syndrome" features symptoms including headaches, nervousness, insomniastiffnessjoint paintiredness, and nervousness. Feverfew can impair the action of the normal blood clotting element (platelets). It should be avoided in patients taking medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Fucoidan

Benefits: There are many types of thyroid tumors, and some can be quite aggressive, requiring surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. Fucoidan, which is isolated from the Fucus vesiculosus seaweed plant, has been shown to help control the growth of thyroid tumor cells in a laboratory setting from 2017. It is not clear whether this will work in preventing thyroid tumor growth in humans.

Side effects:

Garlic

Benefits:– used to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering levels of blood fats and cholesterol (a type of blood fat). The antibiotic and antiviral properties of garlic mean that it is also used to fight colds, sinusitis and other respiratory infections. Garlic has been used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol (Dr. Lucinda Miller notes that there is "...still insufficient evidence to recommend its routine use in clinical practice.")

Side effects: Drug interactions: Allergic reactions, skin inflammation, and stomach upset have been reported. Bad breath is a notorious accompaniment. Studies in rats have shown decreases in male rats' ability to make sperm cells. Garlic may decrease normal blood clotting and should be used with caution in patients taking medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Ginger

Benefits:– many studies have shown ginger to be useful in treating nausea, including motion sickness and morning sickness. Ginger has been used as a treatment for nausea and bowel spasms.

Side effects: Drug interactions: Ginger may lead to blood thinning. It is not recommended to be taken with medications that prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Gingko biloba

Benefits:– commonly used to treat poor blood circulation and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). This herb is very popular as a treatment for dementia (a progressive brain dysfunction) and to improve thinking.

Side effects: Drug interactions: Mild stomach upset and headache have been reported. Ginkgo seems to have blood thinning properties. Therefore, it is not recommended to be taken with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil),  naproxen (Aleve) or Motrin, or medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin). Ginkgo should be avoided in patients with epilepsy taking seizure medicines, such as phenytoin  (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), and phenobarbital.

Ginseng - Ashwagandha, also referred to as Withania somnifera and Indian ginseng

Benefits:– generally used to treat fatigue, for example during recovery from illness. Also used to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, however overuse of ginseng has been associated with raised blood pressure. Ginseng has been used to stimulate the adrenal gland, and thereby increase energy. It also may have some beneficial effect on reducing blood sugar in patients with diabetes mellitus. (Dr. Miller emphasized that there is substantial variation in the chemical components of substances branded as "Ginseng."). 

Ashwagandha, also referred to as Withania somnifera and Indian ginseng, is derived from a nightshade plant. It is a traditional medicine used in Ayurveda practice that comes in a capsule and powder form. At an average dose of 600 mg per day, it has been shown to reduce thyroid hormone abnormalities in subclinical hypothyroidism in a few small human studies

Side effects: Drug interactions: Ginseng can cause elevation in blood pressure, headachevomitinginsomnia, and nose bleeding. Ginseng can also cause falsely abnormal blood tests for digoxin (Lanoxin) levels in persons taking the drug for heart disease. It is unclear whether ginseng may affect female hormones. Its use in pregnancy is not recommended. Ginseng may affect the action of the normal blood clotting element (platelets). It should be avoided in patients taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve) or Motrin, or medications to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants) such as warfarin (Coumadin). Ginseng may also cause headaches, tremors, nervousness, and sleeplessness. It should be avoided in persons with manic disorder and psychosis. It is important to note that ashwagandha can trigger a severe form of hyperthyroidism known as thyrotoxicosis.

Grapeseed extract

Benefits:

Side effects:

Green tea

Benefits:- interestingly, has been associated with a lower incidence of thyroid disease for some people, but a higher incidence of thyroid disease in others.

Side effects:

Gum guggal

Benefits:

Side effects:

Hypericum - St. John's Wort

Benefits:– commonly known as St John’s wort. Studies have suggested that St John’s wort is just as effective as some pharmaceutical antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression. It is also used for anxiety and insomnia.

Side effects:St John’s wort can interact with a number of prescription medications, including the oral contraceptive pill, and stop them from working properly. St. John's Wort is popularly used as an herbal treatment for depressionanxiety, and sleep disorders. It is technically known as Hypericum perforatum. Chemically, it is composed of at least 10 different substances that may produce its effects. The ratios of these different substances varies from plant to plant (and manufacturer).

Drug interactions: The most common side effect has been sun sensitivity, which causes burning of the skin. It is recommended that fair-skinned persons be particularly careful while in the sun. St. John's wort may also leave nerve changes in sunburned areas. This herb should be avoided in combination with other medications that can affect sun sensitivity such as tetracycline/Achromycin, sulfa- containing medications, piroxicam (Feldene). St. John's wort can also cause headachesdizzinesssweating, and agitation when used in combination with serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil).

Horseradish

Benefits:

Side effects:

Lavender

Benefits:

Side effects:

Lemon Balm

Benefits:

Side effects:

Milk thistle

Benefits:

Side effects:

Mother wort

Benefits:

Side effects:

Oregano

Benefits:

Side effects:

Quercetin

Benefits:

Side effects:

Radix Glycyrrhizae -  contain Haizao Yuhu Decoction (HYD),

Benefits: goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland. It can be a sign of hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or a thyroid tumor. Several herbs used to treat thyroid disease in traditional Chinese medicine, including Thallus Sargassi Pallidi (HZ) and Radix Glycyrrhizae (GC), contain Haizao Yuhu Decoction (HYD), an herb which has been shown to reduce the size of goiter in rat studies published in 2016.

Side effects:

Saw Palmetto

Benefits: Saw palmetto has been most commonly used for enlargement of the prostate gland. Saw palmetto has also been touted as a diuretic and urinary antiseptic to prevent bladder infections. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the use of saw palmetto for treatment of enlarged prostate or any other conditions.

Side effects: Drug interactions: Saw palmetto can cause upset stomach. This herb may affect the action of the sex hormone testosterone, thereby reducing sexual drive or performance. Dr. Miller states that "While no drug-herb interactions have been documented to date, it would be prudent to avoid concomitant use with other hormonal therapies (for example, estrogen therapy and oral contraceptives...")

Tea tree

Benefits:

Side effects:

Thallus Sargassi Pallidi -  contain Haizao Yuhu Decoction (HYD),

Benefits:goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland. It can be a sign of hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or a thyroid tumor. Several herbs used to treat thyroid disease in traditional Chinese medicine, including Thallus Sargassi Pallidi (HZ) and Radix Glycyrrhizae (GC), contain Haizao Yuhu Decoction (HYD), an herb which has been shown to reduce the size of goiter in rat studies published in 2016.

Side effects:

TurmericFlax seed

Benefits:

Side effects:

Yingliu - Chinese herbs

Benefits: a combination of Yingliu mixture and methimazole has been used for the treatment of Graves' disease in China. Methimazole is an antithyroid medication, and Yingliu mixture is a preparation of oysters, white mustard seed, and a variety of herbs and plants.

A number of studies that used a Yingliu mixture prepared in a laboratory have been carried out in China. Results consistently showed that clinical symptoms and thyroid tests were better with the combination than with the methimazole alone.

Side effects:

 

  • Summary

  • Herbal medicine is the use of plants to treat disease and enhance general health and wellbeing. 

  • Herbs can interact with other pharmaceutical medications and should be taken with care.

  • Always see your regular medical doctor (GP) about any health concerns and tell them about any herbal medicines you are taking or thinking of taking.

  • Never stop taking prescribed medications in favour of herbs without first discussing it with your GP.

  • Be careful about purchasing herbal medicines over the internet. Unregulated herbal medicines, such as some traditional folk medicines, may not be manufactured to the same quality and standard as regulated medicines.

     

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ConditionsAndTreatments/herbal-medicine

MARY SHOMON:

Final word:

Thyroid disease is a lifelong condition and the idea of herbal therapy can sound like a safe way to control your condition and your symptoms. At the current time, herbal remedies have only been found to be marginally effective in altering thyroid function.

As you consider herbal treatments for any medical condition, including thyroid disease, be wary of claims that any product can "balance" your system. With thyroid disease, the effects of "too high or too low" are both problematic, and there is not a natural therapy that can simultaneously address both conditions.

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-herbs-can-affect-thyroid-disease-3997544

Nature's 9 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants and the Science Behind Them:

This listing represents only a small portion of herbal treatments. Nevertheless, the popularity of herbal therapies is unquestionable. Doctors routinely confront the unknown with their patients who are using herbs. Doctors simply do not have any way of helping you to decide whether these herbs are helpful or harmful for you, or whether they are interacting with your current medications. There are no data.

https://www.medicinenet.com/herbs__toxicities_and_drug_interactions/views.htm

Mary Shomon: How Herbs can Affect Thyroid Disease

https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-herbs-can-affect-thyroid-disease-3997544

Take home message:

Take home message:

Special considerations for herbal medicine

Not all herbal medicines that are sold are safe. Some herbs have potent (powerful) ingredients and should be taken with the same level of caution as pharmaceutical medications.

  • Never stop taking prescribed medications without consulting your doctor. 

  • Always tell your doctor if you are planning to start a course of herbal medicine for your condition.

  • Seek advice from your qualified health practitioner, your doctor or your pharmacist about the herbal medicine’s safety, quality and effectiveness.

  • Always purchase products from a reputable practitioner or pharmacist. Be cautious about buying herbal medicines or supplements manufactured overseas.

  • Take all herbal medicines strictly as prescribed and consult your health practitioner immediately if you experience any adverse reactions. 

Always tell your herbal therapist:

  • which over-the-counter, herbal supplements, vitamins and prescription medications you are taking

  • any allergic reactions you have experienced

  • if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Herbal medications and supplements may interact in harmful ways with over-the-counter or prescription medicines you are taking.  

Taking herbal supplements may decrease the effectiveness of other drugs you are taking or may increase the negative side effects.  
If you are considering taking herbal medications it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about possible side effects and interaction with other medications you are taking.

 

Herbal medicines can be mistakenly thought to be completely safe because they are natural products. This is not correct. 

 Like other prescription medications, herbal medicine should always be prescribed by a qualified and registered practitioner.

Purchase herbal medicine products from a reputable supplier 

Not all herbal medicines that are sold are safe. Always purchase products from a reputable practitioner or pharmacist.

Be careful about purchasing herbal medicines over the internet. Unregulated herbal medicines from overseas may not be manufactured to the same quality and standard as regulated medicines. In some cases, products bought over the internet have been found to have dangerous levels of lead, mercury or arsenic, which can cause serious health problems.

Herbal medicines made in Australia are subject to regulations. Consult with your pharmacist about the safety and effectiveness of the herbal medicine or supplements you are thinking of buying. If you are considering taking herbal medicine, it is recommended that you:

 

Always tell your herbal therapist:

  • which over-the-counter, herbal supplements, vitamins and prescription medications you are taking

  • any allergic reactions you have experienced

  • if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Be aware herbal medicine can interact with other medications

Herbal medications and supplements may interact in harmful ways with over-the-counter or prescription medicines you are taking.  

Taking herbal supplements may decrease the effectiveness of other drugs you are taking or may increase the negative side effects.  
If you are considering taking herbal medications it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor about possible side effects and interaction with other medications you are taking.

Purchase herbal medicine products from a reputable supplier 

Not all herbal medicines that are sold are safe. If you are considering taking herbal medicine, it is recommended that you:

  • Never stop taking prescribed medications without consulting your doctor. 

  • Always tell your doctor if you are planning to start a course of herbal medicine for your condition.

  • Seek advice from your qualified health practitioner, your doctor or your pharmacist about the herbal medicine’s safety, quality and effectiveness.

  • Always purchase products from a reputable practitioner or pharmacist. Be cautious about buying herbal medicines or supplements manufactured overseas.

  • Take all herbal medicines strictly as prescribed and consult your health practitioner immediately if you experience any adverse reactions. 

Where to get help