Thyroid disorders are often treated with medication but sometimes natural supplements can help with symptoms as well. Turmeric, a spice often used in Indian food, is a natural herb that has medicinal properties that may be helpful if you have thyroid problems. Before using turmeric for thyroid disorders, talk with your doctor about whether it is appropriate and safe for you.
Known as a spice traditionally used in curry dishes, turmeric has also been used medicinally for thousands of years to alleviate digestive or liver problems and skin diseases, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Its antioxidant properties help reduce cell damage from free radicals; its active compound, curcumin, helps minimize inflammation and lowers the risk of blood clots. Before using turmeric for health purposes, talk with your doctor, as it can interact with several kinds of medications, including drugs for blood clotting and diabetes.
Your thyroid gland is in the front of your neck, above your collarbone, shaped like a butterfly. It is part of the endocrine system and helps produce hormones and aids in regulating metabolism. The hormones the thyroid produces affect nearly every system in the body, states the Hormone Foundation. They help regulate oxygen consumption and control the speed of organ functioning. Thyroid diseases affect millions of individuals, causing the body to either use energy faster or slower than it should, explains MedlinePlus.
Turmeric for the Thyroid
When the thyroid gland becomes inflamed, this is a condition called thyroiditis. This can include Hashimoto's disease. Turmeric can be taken with a supplement called bromelain to help reduce inflammation, typically taken between meals, 500 mg three times daily, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A 2002 study by Deshpande, et al., published in the "Indian Journal of Experimental Biology," found that rats with drug-induced hypothyroidism given antioxidants and turmeric weighed less, had lower cholesterol levels and less suppressed thyroid hormones than rats with hypothyroidism not given these antioxidants. More research needs to be done on the exact ways turmeric is beneficial to thyroid disorders, but talk with your doctor if you have thyroid problems to see if this herb may benefit you.
Turmeric is not meant to replace any medications or treatments your doctor has prescribed for your thyroid condition. Do not stop treatment without first talking with your doctor. Before using turmeric, consult a health care professional to ensure it is safe and appropriate for you to use and that it will not interact with any other supplements or medications you may be taking.
- "University of Maryland Medical Center"; Turmeric; Dr. David Zieve and David Eltz; August 2010
- MedlinePlus: Thyroid Diseases
- "University of Maryland Medical Center"; Thyroiditis; Dr. Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD; June 2010
- "Indian Journal of Experimental Biology"; Effect of Antioxidants (Vitamin C, E and Turmeric Extract) on Methimazole Induced Hypothyroidism in Rats; U.R. Deshpande, et al.; June 2002
- The Hormone Foundation: Thyroid Disorders Overview