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11+ Best Herbs & Supplements For Thyroid Health [2024]

March 21, 2024
Clinically reviewed by Dr. Mary Oleksowicz

Essential Takeaways

  • Thyroid conditions like hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can have significant impacts on everyday life.
  • Medical treatments are available to balance thyroid function.
  • In Traditional Chinese Medicine, various herbs can be used to support thyroid health.

An often overlooked and underappreciated organ, the thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism, energy levels, and hormones. For this reason, thyroid disease and related conditions can significantly impact your health and quality of life.

Fortunately, there are herbs for thyroid health that can support thyroid function and regulation. This article will help you identify the right Chinese herbal medicine for your thyroid health.

How Can Herbs Help With Thyroid Conditions?

Herbs may have beneficial effects on thyroid function. Multiple different herbs have different benefits for the thyroid. It's best to consult with your doctor before trying herbs to treat any thyroid conditions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, thyroid disorders are caused by an imbalance of yin and yang. Since Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to treat the individual as a whole, there is no single blend of herbs that is always used for thyroid conditions. Every condition is unique, and every person will have different symptoms and surrounding health factors.

For this reason, it’s extremely important to talk with a certified Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor about your thyroid concerns and symptoms. They will be able to conduct the appropriate examination to determine the best next steps for supporting your health.

With Qi Health, it’s easy to schedule a one-on-one appointment with top Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and then receive a fully customized blend of herbs.

Get Your Custom Herbal Blend

Understanding Thyroid Health

The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck that is shaped like a butterfly. Common thyroid disorders include:

  • Hypothyroidism, in which thyroid hormone levels are abnormally low
  • Hyperthyroidism, in which thyroid hormone levels are abnormally high
  • Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation
  • Thyroid nodules, which may be cancerous or benign

Thyroid Function

The thyroid gland helps regulate weight, balance metabolism, regulate energy and mood, and balance other hormones. The changes to thyroid function due to a thyroid condition will depend on the specific condition or disease.

Thyroid Hormones

The thyroid produces hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which play an important role in regulating your blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, metabolism, and other hormones.

Symptoms of Thyroid Conditions

Patients experience different symptoms depending on the type of thyroid condition impacting them. The following symptoms can indicate thyroid problems:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in weight
  • Arrhythmia
  • Depression
  • Changes in menstruation
  • Abnormal bone development
  • Hair loss
  • A noticeable growth in the neck

If you suspect you may have a thyroid condition, talk to your doctor. They will run the blood tests necessary to determine whether your thyroid hormone levels are within normal range. For conditions like thyroid nodules, your doctor may also order tests like an ultrasound or a biopsy.

Best Herbs For Thyroid Function

The specific herbs that may help support your thyroid function will vary based on your overall health, your exact symptoms, and the type of thyroid condition you are experiencing.

The following herbs are commonly included in herbal blends that support thyroid health.

1. Rou Gui (Cortex Cinnamomi)

Herb - Rou Gui (Cortex Cinnamomi)

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What it is: Rou Gui, also known as cinnamon bark, is sometimes used to treat hypothyroidism. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hypothyroidism can cause spleen qi deficiency. Rou Gui, in combination with other herbs, can be used to strengthen the spleen.

How it can help:

2. Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata)

Herb - Fu Zi (Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata)

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What it is: Aconite, or fu zi, has been studied for its possible effects on patients with Hashimoto’s disease. Fu zi assists the spleen yang and disperses cold and dampness. It is often used to treat hypothyroidism.

How it can help:

  • Supplements fire
  • Assists yang
  • Relieves pain
  • Dissipates cold

3. Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae)

Herb - Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae)

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What it is: Shan yao, or Chinese yam, is believed to boost qi and enrich yin. It can also supplement the spleen and increase the appetite, which may counteract some symptoms of thyroid problems that impact the metabolism.

How it can help:

  • Increases appetite
  • Nourishes blood
  • Boosts qi

4. Gan Jiang (Zingiber Officinale - Dried Ginger)

Gan Jiang (Zingiber Officinale - Dried Ginger)

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What it is: Gan jiang, or dried ginger rhizome, is often used in TCM to expel cold and warm the channels. Hormone imbalances caused by thyroid diseases can trigger brain fog and memory problems, which gan jiang may help counteract.

How it can help:

  • Dissolves retained fluid
  • Unblocks yang
  • Dissipates cold
  • Supports healthy brain function

5. Ren Shen (Panax Ginseng - Ginseng)

Ren Shen (Panax Ginseng - Ginseng)

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What it is: Ren shen tonifies the spleen and stomach qi. Since thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism are associated with spleen qi deficiency, ren shen may help counteract the impacts of thyroid disease. It can also help boost brain function.

How it can help:

6. Huang Qi (Radix Astragali)

Herb - Huang Qi (Radix Astragali)

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What it is: Astragalus root, or huang qi, is a root used for its heart benefits and its immune-boosting properties. It contains antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation. This herb supplements qi and raises yang.

How it can help:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Raises qi and yang

7. Tu Si Zi (Semen Cuscutae)

Herb - Tu Si Zi (Semen Cuscutae)

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What it is: Tu si zi is a seed that is frequently used to benefit the spleen and kidneys. It can help treat dizziness, urinary frequency, and tinnitus by tonifying the liver.

How it can help:

  • Brings balance to kidneys and liver
  • Tonifies yang
  • Supports digestion

8. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

Herb - Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

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What it is: Lemon balm is a plant in the mint family that is commonly used in foods as a seasoning and in household products like cleaners and candles for its pleasant scent. Its calming properties can help counteract the unfortunate emotional effects that can come with thyroid disorders.

How it can help:

  • Improves appetite
  • Reduces anxiety and stress

9. Ashwagandha

Herb - Ashwagandha

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What it is: Ashwagandha has been recognized for its healing properties for thousands of years. This root is commonly used to regulate blood sugar levels, boost the immune system, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve cognitive function.

How it can help:

  • Soothes anxiety
  • Improves cognitive function

Bonus: Green Tea

Green Tea

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What it is: Green tea is not an herb, but it is sometimes used to support thyroid health. Studies have been conducted on this treatment with mixed results. It’s important to note that consuming too much green tea may actually harm thyroid function.

How it can help:

  • May boost metabolism
  • May promote thyroid healing

Bonus: Nori or Seaweed

Nori or Seaweed

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What it is: Nori, or seaweed, is found in the ocean and is not an herb. This food has a high iodine content, and iodine is crucial for healthy thyroid function. For this reason, many people who are concerned about their thyroid health choose to eat nori or seaweed regularly.

How it can help: Thyroid function depends on iodine stores, which seaweed can help supply.

More Questions About Herbs & Supplements for Thyroid Function

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Get answers to common questions about thyroid health and herbal supplements.

How can I naturally detox my thyroid?

There is no medical truth to the idea of “detoxing” your thyroid. However, you can support healthy thyroid function by eating foods with plenty of iodine, zinc, and selenium. Foods high in these elements include seafood, seaweed, salt, and Brazil nuts.

What vitamin helps thyroid function?

Vitamin D levels and thyroid function are closely linked. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and it interacts with some of the same hormone receptors as thyroid hormones do. Getting plenty of sunlight can help with vitamin D levels.

Which supplement is best for the thyroid?

The top supplements recommended for thyroid support include zinc, selenium, iron, and vitamin D. It’s important to recognize that supplements do not have to get FDA approval.

However, herbal supplements aren’t the same as customized herbal medicine. Customized herbal medicine involves the meticulous crafting of herbal remedies to address an individual's specific health needs. Herbalists carefully select herbs based on a person's unique constitution, health history, and current ailments. The customization process begins with a thorough consultation, where the herbalist assesses various aspects of the individual's health, lifestyle, and environment.

This personalized approach aims to create a synergistic blend that not only targets the symptoms but most importantly addresses the root cause of the health issue(s).

How can I improve my thyroid function?

Living a healthy and balanced lifestyle can help improve thyroid function. Eating a diet rich in vitamins and minerals like iodine, selenium, and zinc goes a long way in supporting all organ systems. It’s also important to proactively manage stress and move your body regularly.

Does B12 affect thyroid levels?

Vitamin B12 deficiency and hypothyroidism often go hand in hand. Unfortunately, this generally means patients will experience worse symptoms that can include fatigue and brain fog. Taking a B12 supplement can help alleviate these symptoms, but will not impact thyroid hormone levels.

Is magnesium good for thyroid?

Magnesium helps the thyroid convert T4 into T3, and it may also help protect the thyroid gland from oxidative stress. Magnesium deficiency is correlated with fatigue, depression, and anxiety, which can also accompany thyroid issues. Keeping tabs on your magnesium levels and taking a trustworthy supplement if needed can help boost your mood and alleviate these symptoms.

Find the Herbs For Your Thyroid Health

Thyroid health is complex. With various unique conditions and possible concerns, it’s important to work with a team of professionals to properly treat thyroid disorders. One aspect of a comprehensive approach to thyroid care is Chinese Herbal Medicine.

The best approach to Chinese Herbal Medicine is a customized one. Through Qi Health, you can meet with top functional medicine doctors and receive a personalized herbal medicine plan. Starting with a tongue diagnosis, your practitioner will guide you through every step to identify your health goals and concerns.

Then, they will create a fully personalized herbal medicine plan that you can access directly from the Qi Health pharmacy.

Take control of your thyroid health.

Get personalized herbs for your thyroid

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