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These 4 Herbs can Help Autoimmune Thyroiditis (hypothyroidism)


As part of the endocrine system, your dogs thyroid gland located in their neck is a very hardworking gland. And there are many things that can negatively affect it including the wrong type of diet (ie processed foods etc), chemicals, stress, leaky gut syndrome and more.


The most common problem that occurs in dogs in regards to the thyroid gland is autoimmune thyroiditis which is the most common cause of an underactive or hypothyroid gland. This is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in dogs. It occurs when the dog's immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid gland. While treating this can be complex aand a number of factors need to be considered, what role can herbs play in this type of low functioning thyroid gland. Today let’s take 5 herbs that can be beneficial when it comes to helping balance this condition.



Like any autoimmune disease, autoimmune thyroiditis can be complex to treat and there are a number of factors you need to address from an holistic perspective including treating leaky gut, reducing inflammation and helping rebalance the immune system. So obviously these things need to be considered. But when it comes to herbs and the thyroid gland itself, these 5 herbs can certainly help with managing hypothyroidism.


So first up is one of my favourite herbs Ashwaghanda which many of you know. While this is a fabulous adaptogenic herb for the adrenals, it has some amazing benefits for the thyroid gland. Studies have shown that not only does the use of Withania help to improve symptoms of low energy and fatigue that your dog might be experiencing but it also improves both T3 and T4 levels which is how it can support thyroid hormone production,. T3 and T4 (more commonly known as thyroxine) are hormones that the thyroid gland produces to control energy usage within your dogs body.

In addition, Ashwaghanda helps to reduce serum levels of thyroid stimulating hormone. Thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH is produced by your dogs pituitary gland in response to low levels of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) in the bloodstream. When the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones, as is the case in hypothyroidism, the pituitary gland releases more TSH to stimulate the thyroid to produce more hormones. So we know then that this herb can help bring balance in this way as the need for extra TSH is reduced by taking the herb.

Overall when taken for at least 8 weeks, Ashwaghanda can have a normalising effect on the overall functioning of the thyroid gland helping bring back balance. I like using it in a fluid extract at a dose of 1-2 drops per kg bodyweight 1-2 times daily.


2. Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin)

Nigella, often known as black cumin or black seed, is a native to the middle east. As a medicinal herb it has powerful properties when it comes to this type of autoimmune disease. Nigella is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory but also immune modulating which makes it perfect to treat hypothyroidism caused by autoimmunity. It has been shown to reduce the thyroid stimulating hormone as well as increase t3 levels after only 8 weeks.


Nigella appears to be useful specifically in thyroid conditions due to its positive impact on the gut health, which can be an underlying factor in autoimmune thyroid issues – nigella can help reduce the inflammation associated with leaky gut and therefore this can have a flow on effect to the thyroid and other organs. I would work on a dose of 1 drop per kg bodyweight daily in food when giving the fluid extract


3. Ginger- most of us know the benefits of ginger when it comes to things like nausea and travel sickness but did you know that supplementing with this herb (or spice actually) can significantly improved symptoms of hypothyroidism in both dogs and humans, including weight gain, cold intolerance, and constipation. And Ginger also haas the effect of lowering that TSH level once again showing that the thyroid gland is coming back into balance when giving Ginger.

Once again give this over at least 8 weeks- while you can add in fresh Ginger, I find that the fluid extract is stronger but as this has a spicy taste I would only give 1 drop per kg bodyweight per day or even less in some cases depending on the dog. Ginger works well when combined with other herbs.


And finally (4) Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri). Bacopa is a herb that has been used for centuries in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for promoting longevity and brain function and this is what can make it helpful when it comes to the mental dullness and other mental symptoms associated with hypothyroidism in dogs- it can help to reduce these mental symptoms but in addition, Bacopa has been found to also reduce the thyroid stimulating hormone as well as increasing T4 levels by up to 40%.

I recommend looking at a dose of 1 drop per kg bodyweight 2x daily for at least 8 weeks and it can work even more effectively when combined with Ashwaghanda herb.


So while autoimmune thyroiditis can be complex and needs a holistic approach, the use of these 4 herbs can have really positive benefits to help bring the actual gland back into balance and heal. But always remember to check first with your vet or holistic practitioner before starting any new regime and if your dog is on thyroid medication please do not stop this but consult with your vet as some of these herbs may not be suitable depending on how much medication is being given.

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