Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Ashwagandha, powerful herb for improving thyroid health and minimising the effect stress has on our bodies.
Stress can have a major impact on thyroid function. We all suffer from stress to some degree whether it be chronic cumulative stressors such as too much work, too many social commitments, too little time, family pressures or sudden major stressors such as grief and trauma.
Ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng) is an adaptogenic herb, found to grow in the drier areas of Africa, the middle east and India. As far back as 6000BC, this herb was being used as part of Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for the nervous system.
When we are stressed, our adrenal glands pump out a hormone called cortisol. Prolonged elevations of cortisol in the blood can negatively affect thyroid function is several ways. For example, cortisol can weaken the signal sent from the brain to the thyroid, lowering thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH is the message sent from your pituitary gland to your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. If this is lowered due to high cortisol levels, the thyroid will slow down its production of thyroid hormones. Cortisol can also inhibit the conversion of T4 to active T3, and increases the conversion of T4 to reverse T3.
Therefore, chronically high levels of cortisol will ultimately leave your cells crying out for thyroid hormone and you feeling like you’ve lost your get up and go!
Ashwagandha which has been found to help the body cope with stress, substantially reducing cortisol levels (ashwagandha root extract, 300mg daily) (1)
Ashwagandha root extract (600mg daily) has recently been shown to be effective at improving blood levels of thyroid hormone (T4 & T3). (2)
I believe most of us could benefit from including some ashwagandha in our lives.
Has ashwagandha been helpful to you? Like or leave a comment below, I would love to hear about your experiences.