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Exploring Ayurvedic Management of Thyroid Disorders | Galaganda (Hypothyroidism) in Ayurveda


Exploring Ayurvedic Management of Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disorders and ayurveda

Metabolism comprises the intricate set of chemical reactions in  the body's cells that transform food, water, and oxygen into tissue, energy, and waste products. This continuous and essential process occurs in every cell which facilitates growth, maintenance, and daily function. The regulation of metabolism is primarily overseen by the endocrine glands, which release hormones that influence metabolic activities. These glands include the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes, each playing a vital role in maintaining the body's metabolic balance.

The thyroid gland, which resembles a butterfly, is situated at the base of the neck, just below the Adam's apple. When the thyroid gland becomes enlarged, it results in a condition known as Goiter. Goiters are typically painless and more commonly found in women over the age of 45-50. While Goiter may or may not be associated with thyroid dysfunction like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, Ayurveda recognizes it as Galaganda.


Diseases of the thyroid gland 

·       Hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis

A clinical condition in  which the thyroid  gland secretes an excess of hormones. This condition is more common in women than in men whose age ranges from 30 to 50 years.


The symptoms of hyperthyroidism include 

·       Tremulous, irritable, anxious, and even hysterical

·       Rapid heart rate and palpitation,

·       Rapid shallow respiration.

·       Frequent bowel motions and diarrhea,

·       Flushing, heat intolerance, sweating,

·       Menstrual disturbance and

·       Bulging of the eyes.

·       Fatigue and lack of energy


Causes of hyperthyroidism


· Autoimmune Graves' disease is the most common reason for hyperthyroidism, where an antibody excessively stimulates the thyroid.· Toxic nodular goiter is a condition where one or more nodules in the thyroid gland become hyperactive, although the exact cause is unknown.· Thyroiditis is inflammation of the thyroid gland, leading to temporary hyperactivity followed by hypoactivity.· Overdosing on thyroid hormone medication for treating hypothyroidism· Excessive iodine intake in the diet· Presence of a benign tumor in the pituitary gland causing hyperthyroidism.


Treatments recommended for hyperthyroidism

·         Internal Medicine. 

·         Radioactive iodine. 

·         Surgery

·         Beta blockers. 

·         Steroids. 


What is Hypothyroidism


Hypothyroidism is a medical condition characterized by insufficient production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. This condition may result from a lack of iodine or from thyroid gland malfunction due to issues like pituitary dysfunction, inflammation, or scarring.


Symptoms of hypothyroidism include 

·       Fatigue, depression, loss of vitality, and overall hormonal imbalance.

·       Swelling of skin, cold and slightly yellow skin, and Dry subcutaneous tissues

·       Puffy face, loss of eyebrows,

·       Anginal pain, bradycardia,

·       Anorexia, constipation, and anemia.

 

Causes of Hypothyroidism (galaganda)

Having a goiter doesn’t mean that the thyroid gland is not working properly. Even when it is enlarged, the thyroid may produce hormones within normal limits but it might also however produce too much or too little thyroxine and T-3 hormones.

·         Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

·         Treatment for hyperthyroidism

·         Thyroid surgery

·         Radiation therapy

·         Medications

·         Pregnancy as the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) produced during pregnancy can cause the thyroid gland to enlarge slightly.

·         Iodine deficiency

·         Family history of Autoimmune

·         Menopause

· Disorders of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus

·         Certain medications, such as antiretroviral drugs, cardiac medications,

·         Immunosuppressants,

·         Cigarette smoking and infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi

·         Foods like soybean, spinach, and peanuts, have been found to increase the risk of developing goiters.

 

Treatment for hypothyroidism 

usually includes taking the thyroid hormone medicine levothyroxine (Levo-T, Synthroid, others) every day


Discussion on thyroid problems as per Ayurveda

What are anuktha vyadhis ?

By analyzing the natural constitution, and locations of doshas, and identifying dosha imbalances, specific treatment strategies can be customized even if they are not explicitly described in traditional texts. These conditions fall under the category of anuktha vyadhis, or unexplained diseases. By applying the concept of Anukta Vyadhi, Hypothyroidism can be linked to Galaganda, while hyperthyroidism can be associated with Bhasmaka roga in Ayurvedic medicine.

 

In Ayurveda, Goiter(Gala Ganda) is believed to occur due to an imbalance of the Vata and Kapha doshas, two fundamental energies that govern the body. In Galaganda, the vitiated Kapha mixes with meda dhatu, leading to an immobile, heavy swelling in the front of the throat. Ayurveda classifies Galaganda into three types: Vataja, Kaphaja, and Medoja.

·       Vataja Galaganda is characterized by a blackish color, slight pain, dryness, and tastelessness in the throat and mouth.

·       Kaphaja Galaganda, on the other hand, is larger in size, feels cold to the touch, causes minimal pain, and has a sweet taste.

·       Medoja Galaganda presents as an unctuous, whitish swelling with an offensive odor. It may also cause difficulty in speech and an oily sensation in the mouth.

 

Causes of galaganda include –

·       Sleeping during the daytime,

·       Sleeping immediately after meals,

·       Over-eating,

·       Skipping meals,

·       Having  food that is guru (heavy), sheeta (cold), ruksha (dry), snigdha (deep-fried)  which increases kapha and vata dosha abnormally.

 

The clinical manifestation of Galaganda 

·       Gauravata (heaviness of the body), 

·       Aruchi (anorexia), 

·       Ashraddha (loss of desire for food), 

·       Agnimandya (impaired digestion), 

·       Tandra (stupor), 

·       Angamarda (malaise), 

·       Panduroga (anemia), 

·       Srotorodha (obstruction to channels), 

·       Klaibya (impotency),

·       Fatigue, sleep disturbances, increased weight, less perspiration, constipation, decreased heart rate, brittle and easily chipped nails, sensitivity to cold, puffy face.

 

So how does samprapthi of Galaganda goes ?

 

The above said etiological factors will impair the Jatharagni (digestive fire ) leading  to Ama (improperly digested food) and this is carried to every dhatu (tissue) and thus vitiates all dhatu consecutively from rasa dhatu to shukra dhatu. Thus, both Jatharagni and Dhatvagni are disturbed and those vitiate Vata and Kapha dosha.

 

In hypothyroidism there is Agnimandya, and hence kapha dosha increases

 

Bhasmaka roga or Atyagni is correlated with the hyperthyroidism condition

 

The symptoms of Bhasmaka roga

·       Hridi Stambha (increased heart rate), 

·       Vishtambha (constipation), 

·       Balahani (loss of strength), 

·       Ksudha vriddhi (increased appetite), 

·       Trishna (excess thirst), 

·       Sweda ( excess perspiration), 

·       Kasa (cough), 

·       Shwasa (breathlessness), 

·       Murcha (dizziness),

·       Fatigue, sleep disturbances, increase or decrease weight, thickened and flaky nails, sensitivity to heat.  

 

So how does the samprapthi of bhasmaka goes?


Bhasmaka roga is a result of heightened Agni, which results in elevated Pitta dosha and decreased Kapha dosha. This leads to abnormal metabolism in the tissues.

In hyperthyroidism, there is an increase in teekshangni which leads to an elevation in Pitta dosha.


Diagnosis

·         Blood tests- They can measure the amount of thyroid hormone and thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood.

·         Thyroid ultrasound- This test can see if your thyroid gland has any nodules.

·         Thyroid scan- This test uses a radioactive substance to make an image of the thyroid.


Management of Thyroid Disorders

Dietary recommendations

In hypothyroidism, it is beneficial to consume foods rich in iodine like fish, seafood, oatmeal, beets, high-fiber foods, a low-calorie diet, a diet low in salt and sugar, plenty of water and other fluids, as well as whole fruits such as bananas, apples, oranges, papaya, ginger, almonds, and coconut oil.

To maintain a healthy thyroid function, it is important to avoid processed and refined foods that can disrupt doshas and hinder digestion. Foods should not be preserved, processed, or canned, and hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial colors, and white refined flour should be avoided. Soy products and soybeans should also be eliminated from the diet.Including flaxseeds, nuts, and walnuts in the diet can be beneficial. It is recommended to avoid goitrogenic foods such as cauliflower, sweet potatoes, cabbage, corn, turnips, Brussels sprouts, lima beans, and pearl millet. It is also important to avoid heavy foods, deep-fried foods, caffeine, soft drinks, alcohol, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and emotional stress.


For individuals with hyperthyroidism, it is recommended to consume foods such as rice and lentil gruel, milk pudding, thick gruel made with beeswax and ghee, aquatic or marshy animal meats, unsalted fish, meat soup with ghee, roasted sheep meat, jaggery products, and wheat flour or a mixture of wheat flour and milk.

Maintaining a diet that includes barley, green gram, Bengal gram, sugarcane juice, and cucumber is beneficial for thyroid health.

Conversely, sour foods can exacerbate thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.It is believed that drinking water that has been stored in a clean copper vessel overnight can help improve thyroid conditions.


Lifestyle Management in Thyroid Disorders

  • Engage in regular physical activity to stimulate metabolism and promote overall well-being.

  • Ensure an adequate amount of restful sleep to promote hormonal balance and optimal thyroid function

  • Some yoga poses such as matsyasana, suptavajrasana, Sarvangasna (shoulder stand),halasana,ustrasana   is the most suitable and effective asana for the thyroid gland. Other effective asanas include Surya Namskara, Pavamuktasana with emphasis on the head and neck exercises, yoga mudra, Suptavajrasana and all backward bending asanas.

·         In addition to physical exercises, Manas Swaroopa (state of mind) is also important. To achieve mental health, Meditation should be practiced.

·         Pranayama techniques like ujjayi ,focus on these nadis useful to the thyroid gland. It acts on the throat, and its relaxing and stimulating effects are most probably due to stimulation of ancient reflex pathways within the throat area, which are controlled by the brain stem and hypothalamus.


Panchakarma like Vaman ,virechan ,Basti, Nasya, Udwartanam, Shirodhara are helpful in Thyroid disorders.

·       Nidana parivarjana (avoiding etiology).

·       In predominance of kapha ,Vamana karma (emesis therapy) is advised.

·       In case, there is shotha (edema), Virechana (purgation therapy) can be given. 

·       Basti karma (enema therapy) on Vata dosha vitiation. 

·       Niruha basti (herbal enema) and Lekhana basti (enema aimed at reducing fat in the body) can be beneficial for individuals suffering from obesity.

·       Nasya- this is done to balance the effect n prana vayu which is associated with head, neck including the thyroid gland 

·       Siro dhara – This treatment helps the nervous, immune and psychological process to function properly and results in thyroid-releasing hormone level changes 

·       Agni Deepana (appetizers)  chikitsa on agni mandha conditions

·       Anulomana (which releases the flatus and corrects the Apana vata), 

·       Ama pachana (digestives), 

·       Srotoshodhana (cleansing the channels), 

·       Medohara (anti-dyslipidemic).

 

Herbs beneficial in Thyroid Disorders treatment:

 such as Guggulu, Kanchanara, Punarnava, jatamansi, shilajit ( purified asphaltum ), gokshura, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Triphala, Trikatu, Tulsi, Bala, varuna, nirgundi, aragwadha and Naagbala.


Classical Ayurvedic preparations beneficial in Thyroid Disorders

like  varanadi kashyam,guguluthikthakam kashayam ,hamsapathadi kashayam ,punarnavadi kashyam, thrayanthyadi kashayam, kanchanara gugulu, Mukta-pishti Arogyavardhini Vati, are also used for their curative properties and the management of symptoms associated with thyroid malfunctioning.

 

Q: What is galaganda in Ayurveda?

A: Galaganda is the Ayurvedic term for thyroid disorders, specifically referring to hypothyroidism.


Q: How does Ayurveda classify galaganda?

A: Ayurveda classifies galaganda into three types based on the dosha involvement: vataja, kaphaja, and medoja galaganda.


Q: What are the causes of hypothyroidism according to Ayurveda?

A: In Ayurveda, the vitiation of kapha and impairment of the thyroid functions due to factors like iodine deficiency are considered as causes of hypothyroidism.


Q: What are some Ayurvedic therapies used in the management of galaganda?

A: Ayurvedic therapies for managing galaganda include herbs like guggulu, dietary modifications, yoga, and specific lifestyle recommendations.


Q: How does Ayurveda approach the treatment of hypothyroidism?

A: Ayurveda focuses on balancing the doshas, mainly targeting the vata and kapha doshas, to stimulate the thyroid function naturally in the management of hypothyroidism.


Q: What are the signs and symptoms associated with galaganda in Ayurveda?

A: The signs and symptoms of galaganda include swelling in the neck region, fatigue, weight gain, intolerance to cold, and dry skin, as described in Ayurvedic texts.


Q: How does Ayurvedic management of thyroid disorders differ from conventional treatment?

A: Ayurvedic management focuses on holistic approaches, including dietary changes, herbal remedies, and lifestyle modifications, to address the root cause of the imbalance rather than just suppressing symptoms.

 

Can thyroid be cured permanently?

It can be under control


Can thyroid go back to normal?

Through regular medications and life style regulations


Is thyroid a lifelong disease?

Yes it can be


Do thyroid patients live long?

Yes .its not a life threatening provided medicines are consistently taken


Can the thyroid repair itself?

Some conditons can repair by itself


What is one Ayurvedic herb known to benefit the thyroid?

Gugulu is best for thyroid in ayurveda


How to detox your thyroid naturally?

By undergoing regular panchakarma therapy


What is the difference between Galaganda and Gandamala?

When there is  a single swelling in  the side of the throat it is called galaganda , when there is a chain of swelling its called gandamala 


What is Arbuda disease?

It is related to tumor or carcinoma


Which type of Vikara is Galaganda?

It comes under kaphaja nanatmaja vikara


Can Ayurveda cure Goiter (Gala Ganda)?

By the right medicines and diet, it can be controlled 


Can Ayurveda prevent the recurrence of Goiter (Gala Ganda)?

Yes it can be regular and consistent medications


How to reduce TSH level by Ayurveda?

By proper lifestyle and by intake of herbal preparations 


Is Ayurvedic treatment suitable for all types of Goiter (Gala Ganda)?

Yes it can help alleviate the symptoms


Which yoga is best for hypothyroidism?

Matsyasana, suptavajrasana, Sarvangasna (shoulder stand),halasana,ustrasana  

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