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August 17, 2011

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Herb therapy and diet for thyroid problems

THYROID problems are common in middle-aged women who may suffer from over-active or under-active thyroid glands controlling metabolism and other functions.

In hyperthyroidism, the gland is overactive and produces too many hormones. Symptoms include increased appetite with weight loss, diarrhea, excessive sweating, restlessness, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and unstable moods.

In hypothyroidism, the gland produces too few hormones. Symptoms include weight gain, depression, sleepiness, feeling cold, constipation and dry of hair and skin.

For many patients, removal or destruction of the thyroid gland may be the only solution after years of suffering.

In traditional Chinese medicine, thyroid disorders are often considered to stem from emotional problems. Having strong emotions or mood swings over a long period of time can not only cause psychological damage, but also physical damage to the organ systems, as TCM sees them.

The main emotional triggers are deep sorrow blocking the flow of qi or energy, panic producing what is called "heart fire" and anger producing liver fire. Over time these conditions disturb the healthy balance of yin (cold energy) and yang (hot energy).

The fire condition that causes most hyperthyroidism leads to a yin deficiency in the kidneys, heart or liver organ systems. Hypothyroidism is usually linked to a yang deficiency causing coldness and phlegm and is manifested in the spleen, kidney and or heart.

Herbal medication is the most promising treatment to ease thyroid problems and many patients experience significant relief after only three months of daily herbal remedies.

Diet therapy of yin and yang foods are recommended. To heat the body, low-thyroid patients are advised to consume foods such as chicken, lamb, ginger, cinnamon, clove and chestnut.

To cool the body, hyperthyroid patients are advised to include cooling foods for liver fire such as perch fish, dandelion, seaweeds, wheat, barley and grapes. For yin deficiency in the heart or liver, foods such as carrots, egg yolk, pine nuts and jasmine tea are recommended.

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