Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is a malfunction of your thyroid gland that makes it produce too much of the hormone thyroxine. This causes many of your body’s systems to speed up. If you have an overactive thyroid, you may experience increased metabolism and weight loss, nervousness, muscle fatigue and rapid heartbeat. It is best to avoid certain herbs if you have an overactive thyroid. Check with your doctor before taking herbs and medications.
Hyperthyroidism can have many causes, such as a malignant or benign tumor, an autoimmune disease or inflammation. While herbs do not cause or cure these diseases, their actions may aggravate the symptoms. You should avoid herbs that may stimulate your nervous system, hypothalamus or pituitary gland, or increase your metabolism and promote weight loss. Consult a health care provider for a proper diagnosis to understand the cause of your hyperthyroidism.
Myrrh, or Commiphora myrrha, is a small tree native to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. The bark produces a medicinal resin that has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and astringent actions. Active ingredients include polysaccharides, triterpenoids and essential oil, and herbalists use the resin to treat gum and mouth diseases. Myrrh also aids the production of thyroxine. In their 2000 book, “The Herbal Drugstore,” Dr. Linda B. White and medicinal plant expert Steven Foster state that myrrh stimulates the thyroid and is a useful treatment for hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. If you have hyperthyroidism, the opposite problem, avoid myrrh.
Garcinia, or Garcinia cambogia, is a small tree native to India. Indian Ayurvedic practitioners use the fruit rinds to treat rickets, spleen enlargement and people who are overweight. The rind contains hydroxycitric acid, which is also the basis for many commercial weight-loss products. White and Foster note that garcinia may be a useful herb for losing weight. Since one of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is weight loss, garcinia would add to this effect and may have a serious effect on your heart and other organs. Consult a health care provider before using garcinia if you have hyperthyroidism.
Cola Nut Tree
The cola nut tree, or Cola acuminata, is native to West Africa and cultivated in Asia and America. The seeds are stimulants and herbalists use them to treat mental and physical fatigue. Many commercial energy drinks contain cola nut extracts and are popular for short-term energy boosts. In their 2009 book, “Medicinal Plants of the World,” botanist Ben-Erik van Wyk and biologist Michael Wink note that cola seeds have a stimulating effect on the central nervous system and heart. If you have hyperthyroidism accompanied by nervousness and rapid heartbeat, you should avoid cola nut beverages.
- “The Herbal Drugstore”; Linda B. White, M.D., Steven Foster; 2000
- “Medicinal Plants of the World”; Ben-Erik van Wyk and Michael Wink; 2009