Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) is a fairly common condition and about 5% of Indians of all ages have this condition. Hypothyroidism gets more common with age. Individuals over 60 years of age experience it more frequently. 

Women are more likely to have an underactive thyroid gland. In fact, one out of eight women will develop hypothyroidism as pregnancy, and menopause puts them at a higher risk.

Other factors such as lack of nutrition, lack of exercise, and stress play a huge role in thyroid disorders. 

Things to Know About Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland controls how your body's cells uses energy from food, a process called metabolism. Among other things, your metabolism affects your body’s temperature, your heartbeat, and how well you burn calories. If you don't have enough thyroid hormone, your body processes slow down. That means your body makes less energy, and your metabolism becomes sluggish (slow).

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms experienced vary from person to person. The severity of the condition also affects when the symptoms appear. Usually, the symptoms of hypothyroidism are difficult to identify. 

Early symptoms can include weight gain and fatigue (feeling of tiredness). Both become more common as you age, regardless of your thyroid’s health. You may not realize that these changes are related to your thyroid until more symptoms appear.

  •  Swelling all over your body     

  •  Constipation 

  •  Hair loss      

  •  Dry skin 

  •  Feeling cold        

  •  Irregular menses and/or heavy menstrual bleeding      

  •  Impaired fertility

  •  Shortness of breath         

  •  Hoarse voice  

  •  Poor memory      

  •  Lack of concentration       

  •  Mood swings

  •  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (numbness and tingling in the hand and arm caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist)

In most cases, your symptoms progress gradually over the years. 


Hypothyroidism may be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Iodine deficiency. This trace mineral is primarily found in seafood, seaweed, plants that are grown in iodine-rich soil, and iodized salt. It is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and hence, less iodine can lead to hypothyroidism.

  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune (a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body) condition which attacks your thyroid gland and causes chronic thyroid inflammation and reduces thyroid function. 

  • Damage to your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a small pea-sized gland that plays a major role in regulating vital body functions and general wellbeing.

  • Surgical removal of your thyroid gland.    

  • Congenital (by birth) thyroid defects.     

  • Stress. The impact of stress on the thyroid occurs by slowing your body's metabolism.

  • Pregnancy. Some women develop hypothyroidism during or after pregnancy (postpartum hypothyroidism), often because they produce antibodies (protein used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects such as pathogenic bacteria and viruses) to their own thyroid gland.

Who Are at Higher Risk

Hypothyroidism can happen to anyone, however, you are at higher risk if you:

  • Are a woman

  • Are older than 60

  • Have a family history of thyroid disease

  • Have an autoimmune disease

  • Have been treated with antithyroid medications

  • Have had thyroid surgery

  • Have been pregnant or delivered a baby within the past six months

Ayurvedic Aspects

Although hypothyroidism is not described in the classical ayurvedic text, based on its signs and symptoms, its pathogenesis (the mechanism that leads to a diseased state) can be understood.

Ayurveda is an age-old science of life and longevity. Ayurveda works by balancing the body, mind, and spirit. In ayurveda, each individual is born with 5 elements of nature which are Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Space. The balance of these elements is known as Dosha

There are 3 main doshas- Vata (energy of movement, composed of space and air), Pitta (digestion and metabolism composed of fire and water), and Kapha (structure and lubrication, composed of water and earth).

Ayurveda has played an important role in overcoming the dosha imbalances and boosting the resilience of the body against external factors.

According to Ayurveda, hypothyroidism occurs because of the predominance of less effective vata (energy of movement) and kapha (energy of lubrication and structure) dosha (disorders). Therefore panchakarma (5 action treatment) is necessary to relieve the disease completely and to avoid further progression and complications of the disease. 

Hypothyroidism can be prevented by following healthy regimens like dincharya (daily routine), ritucharya (seasonal routine).

Proper diet and lifestyle ensure proper digestion. Intake of digestive spices such as:

  • Cinnamon (dalcheeni) and cardamom (elaichi) have similar effects for hypothyroidism. If your blood sugar levels become too high, it can affect the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone).
    Therefore, using cinnamon and cardamom as the herbs for hypothyroidism is highly effective as it helps in lowering blood glucose levels. You can add cinnamon powder to your smoothies, cookies, curries, etc., to avail the benefits.

  • Turmeric (haldi). This potent herb has outstanding anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation is a major culprit in thyroid conditions, turmeric is a top herb to consider. You should add it while cooking food.

For proper functioning of the thyroid gland herbs like the following are good:

  • Ashwagandha, punarnava, gokshur appears to stimulate your endocrine system (the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things) and boosts thyroid hormone levels.

  • Kanchanar Guggul increases the iodine uptake in your body and improves the enzyme activity produced by the thyroid gland. 

  • Brahmi stimulates the activity in the thyroid gland and helps in releasing the hormones that are low. 

Yoga poses such as tadasana (mountain pose), sarvangasana (shoulder pose), halasana (inverted yoga pose), matsyasana (fish pose), ushtrasana (camel pose), bhujangasana (cobra pose),  dhanurasana (bow pose), surya namaskar (sun salutation) are beneficial in prevention and management of hypothyroidism.

Ayurvedic treatment tries to heal the root imbalance in hypothyroidism rather than treating symptoms. Eating right, avoiding stress, working out properly, and sleeping peacefully are the basics to maintain normal thyroid hormones. 

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.