Natural Therapies for Graves Disease

Feb 20, 2012
Conditions An autoimmune disorder, Graves disease is the most common hyperthyroid (over-active thyroid) disease. While children and the elderly occasionally suffer from it, it is primarily experienced by women between the ages of 20 and 40. Conventional treatments include both drugs and surgery, but both of these approaches can have severe side effects and many sufferers choose to try natural therapies before resorting to extreme measures. Many studies and anecdotal (testimonials, etc.) evidence support this natural approach to Graves disease.

Symptoms of Graves Disease

While self-diagnosis is never recommended, there are many symptoms of Graves disease that may alert you to seek a professional diagnosis. Some of these include:
  • An enlarged thyroid (goiter).
  • Bulging eyes, itching eyes and/or double vision.
  • Heart palpitations and/or rapid pulse.
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Psychological symptoms include chronic irritability and nervousness.
  • Chronic fatigue.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Shakiness, excessive sweating and/or muscle weakness.
  • Uncharacteristic sensitivity to hot weather.
If Graves disease is suspected, your medical doctor will advise diagnostic tests, to rule out other causes.

Natural Therapies for Graves Disease

Conventional treatments for Graves disease attempt to slow or, in extreme cases, stop the production of the thyroid hormone. This is accomplished either with immunosuppressive drugs or by removal of some of the thyroid tissue, either with radioactive iodine therapy or surgery.  While these treatments can be effective, they can lead to other complications or a lifelong dependence on medication.

Natural therapies take a different approach, attempting restore balance to the over-productive system. In treating the disease, natural therapists have found that different individuals respond better to different treatments. Some of the natural treatment modalities employed include:
Because stress can be a trigger for Graves disease and can aggravate the condition, massage, yoga and other stress reducing techniques are often advised as secondary treatments.

Some Herbal Remedies for Graves Disease

These are some of the common herbal remedies used to treat the symptoms of Graves disease:
  • Bugleweed (Lycopus virginica)
  • Gypsywort (Lycopus europaeus)
  • Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
  • Stephania root (Stephania tetranda)
  • Motherwort (Leonurus cardica)
Bugleweed and its European cousin, Gypsywort have been singled out by many herbalists as particularly efficacious because they are said to have a number of effective compounds that simultaneously treat the physical and psychological symptoms of Graves disease. A traditional European folk remedy, Gypsywort is used to treat anxiety and stress and lythospermic and other organic acids are believed to tackle hyperthyroidism.

A good natural therapist will be able to help you devise a holistic therapy program that may include herbs, dietary and lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques and more. Some medications, such as diet pills and some dietary supplements, such as those that are high in iodine content, can aggravate Graves disease and some foods that may be healthy for most individuals should also be avoided. Take the guesswork out of natural therapies for Graves disease by seeking professional advice and always consult your doctor about any treatments you are receiving.

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