Natural Thyroid Treatment Methods
Graves' Disease & Hyperthyroidism
Hashimoto's & Hypothyroidism
  Natural Endocrine Solutions
Get Your Free Guide Entitled
“The 6 Steps On How To Reverse Graves' Disease & Hashimoto's Through Natural Methods”
You will also receive email
updates on any future webinars
on natural thyroid health.
 

"We respect your privacy"
 
Free Webinars on
Natural Thyroid Health


Click Here For More Information

 
 
 
Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone
 
 
 
 

Choosing Between Herbs and Medication For Managing The Hyperthyroid Symptoms

When I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, I was given a prescription for Methimazole and Propranolol.  I was experiencing a high pulse rate, palpitations, and initially I wasn’t doing anything to manage the symptoms.  A few months had passed before I decided to take Bugleweed, and then I eventually added Motherwort.  Looking back this probably wasn’t a smart decision, as I should have either taken the medication, or I should have taken the herbs sooner.  But either way it is important to do something to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms.

I work with a lot of people who have hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease.  Many of them are taking antithyroid medication initially, some are also taking a beta blocker, while others have already been taking herbs such as Bugleweed, Motherwort, and/or Lemon Balm.  Sometimes there will be people who are taking the medication AND taking the herbs at the same time.  And there are some people I speak with who aren’t taking anything for symptom management.

The Pros And Cons Of Taking Prescription Medication For Symptom Management

Even though I’m a natural healthcare professional, I do realize that there is a time and place for taking medication.  And when someone has a very high pulse rate and heart palpitations, this would be one of those times when taking medication may be a wise choice.  Although I personally chose not to take the prescription medication and did fine with an herbal approach, some people don’t do well when trying to manage their symptoms with Bugleweed and/or Motherwort.

Keep in mind that the medication is much more potent than any herbs you can take.  This can be both a good and a bad thing.  It’s beneficial when someone has moderate to severe cardiac symptoms which can’t be controlled by the herbs.  When this is the case, taking the medication  can prevent someone from needing to receive radioactive iodine treatment or thyroid surgery.  So even though I frequently talk about the medication not addressing the cause of the condition, I’m fine with someone taking it on a temporary basis while I try to detect and correct the cause of the problem.

The downside is that these medications can be toxic to the liver.  This is especially true with antithyroid medication such as Methimazole (Tapazole) and PTU.  And this is one reason why most endocrinologists will monitor the liver enzymes.  In addition to affecting the liver enzymes, some people will experience side effects when on the medication.

The Pros And Cons Of Taking Herbs For Symptom Management

The obvious benefit of taking herbs such as Bugleweed and Motherwort is that they represent natural methods of managing the symptoms.  And unlike the medication, people rarely experience side effects when taking the herbs, and these herbs typically won’t put stress on the liver.  As I mentioned earlier, I took Bugleweed and Motherwort to manage the symptoms, and did so for a number of months.  And many of my patients also take one or both of these herbs for symptom management.

The main disadvantage of taking the herbs is that for some people they aren’t potent enough to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms.  Although it usually takes some time before these herbs begin helping with the symptoms, I’ve had some patients who took higher doses of these herbs and gave them a sufficient amount of time to work, but still didn’t notice an improvement in their heart rate and/or the palpitations.  As a result some people do need to take the medication.

Which Hyperthyroid Treatment Method Should You Choose?

So which method should you choose to manage the hyperthyroid symptoms?  Should you take the medication?  Or should you try taking the herbs?  This of course is something for you to decide.  As I mentioned earlier, many of my patients are taking antithyroid medication and/or beta blockers when they first consult with me, and I never tell anyone to stop taking the medication.  And if someone is taking the herbs and they are doing a good job of managing the symptoms then I’m also fine with this.

However, if someone is taking a healthy dosage of Bugleweed and/or Motherwort, and if these herbs aren’t doing a good job of managing the symptoms, then it might be a good idea to switch to the medication.  On the other hand, some people who initially take the medication experience side effects, and as a result decide to switch to the herbs.

Ultimately it is up to the person as to which treatment method to choose to manage their hyperthyroid symptoms.  What it comes down to is that the medication can help, but taking the meds might lead to side effects and can put stress on the liver.  Bugleweed and Motherwort can also manage the hyperthyroid symptoms, but these herbs might not be potent enough to do this in some people.  And so you need to consider these factors when deciding whether taking the medication or the herbs is the best option for you.


 

20 Comments

  1. sarah jurcyk says:

    Dear Dr Eric,

    I wish I had read your posts 4 years ago before I had my thyroid surgically removed. I was not a candidate for the radioactive iodine treatment because my eyes were already affected. I am still trying to find the right dose of synthroid. I switched to triosint, a more bio-identical form but I keep running hyper. I do believe that my diet and stress levels are a lot to blame for this.
    I currently take .88 or synthroid 6 times one week and 5 times the next which comes to roughly .69. If this works I will suggest I take .75 six days a week and keep it simple.

    I am making changes to my diet and your book arrived yesterday so I plan on reading and looking for more information about you to reduce the symptoms which are heart palpitations, fatigue, loose stools, jitteriness and hair loss. I think some of the symptoms are better since I cut back on the medicine but that has only been 2 weeks. I recheck my levels in 4 more weeks.

    Would you suggest I take the herbs? The heart rate/jitteriness seems to be the one symptom that is not subsiding. I did have my doctor do a gluten test and run a hormone panel. Everything is “fine”. It least by western standards. I am thinking of finding a practitioner in the KC area to advise me. I am sure my adrenals are tapped and I have inflammation issues. I am not overweight 5’8” and 124 lbs but I am planning on eliminating a number of things from my diet like sugar and gluten. Not sure if I have lactose issues too, but I can’t give everything up at once 🙂

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Sarah,

      If you have hypothyroidism then you definitely don’t want to take Bugleweed. If you have a high heart rate and/or palpitations then you might benefit from taking Motherwort, although I would recommend working with a natural healthcare professional in the KC area to help you with the correct dose. This way they can also evaluate the adrenal glands, and perhaps other areas which are causing or contributing to your condition.

  2. Tina says:

    Interesting and informative article. I wonder if you have heard anything about seaweeds containing natural beta blockers, and if so, would they be beneficial in the above scenario? The fact that they also contain iodine may or may not be a problem. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Tina,

      I have not heard anything about seaweed acting as a natural beta blocker, and so I wouldn’t rely on taking seaweed to manage the high heart rate, palpitations, etc.

  3. Liz says:

    I started taking methimazole only because my thyroid was too out of control to go holistic. (long story) but I thought I would take the methimazole until my thyroid regulated and then stop it and go on bugleweed. in the meantime I read an article from a medical doc who said it is ok to take the meth and take standardized bugleweed at the same time, for the heart palpitations, etc.
    are you saying it is better not to take both at the same time?

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Liz,

      I’ve had some patients take both Methimazole and Bugleweed at the same time. But you need to be careful, as they both have antithyroid activity. As a result, if you take too high of a dose it can make you hypothyroid. Of course this is usually reversible upon reducing the dose, but when someone is on either the Methimazole or Bugleweed and is still experiencing palpitations I will usually recommend Motherwort (assuming they’re not on a beta blocker). And of course I always recommend working with a natural healthcare professional when taking these herbs, and especially when combining them with the medication.

  4. Christine says:

    I have been using low dose block and replace therapy (Methimazole and Synthroid)along with Lemon Balm to control my Grave’s disease symptoms (my Free T3 and Free T4 levels were always normal, but I had the autoantibodies). How would I transition to taking herbal remedies only?

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Christine,

      If someone begins taking Bugleweed while taking the medication, this should eventually affect both the TSH and thyroid hormone levels (although it might take longer for the TSH to be affected). And assuming you’re getting your blood tested regularly your medical doctor should adjust the dosage accordingly.

  5. Linda says:

    I did not find the herbs to do much for me and my values were not extremely high (highest T4 was 29). Though a low dose of Tapazole controlled the symptoms, my TSH would not rise, though T4 and T3 returned to normal and high heart rate returned to normal on a low dose of Tapazole. What made the biggest difference to my values was the addition of Acetyl-L-carnitine, 1,000 mg per day in addition to Tapazole 5 mg per day. It just made my TSH shoot up right into the normal range. This was based on one research article of the work of Dr. Salvatore Ben Venga of Italy on the beneficial effects of adding L-carnitine to treatment for Graves disease. L-carnitine also lessens many thyroid storm symptoms.

  6. Mike L says:

    I had a rapid (in the Army it was 82bpm when I was in peak condition) but the palpitations concerned me as they can lead to stroke and other issues. I was given (I have Greave’s they say, think I’ve been well above a normal T3/T4 levels all my life, always had a very hard time gaining weight and could eat anything) Beta blockers and used maybe 15 out of 100 in just over 6 months now. At this point the palpitations are gone, feel one maybe once a month or so, I think. But my doctor still wants me on PTU, though I am at this time refusing to take it. My numbers came down now (16-22 is normal range in the tests I get done, I peaked at 55 and now at 38 as of last month) by over 12 points. He says its to slow, but nothing natural is fast (rarely).

    Thanks for the info, if any of the symptoms return, I’ll be trying these first!

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Mike,

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading the blog post. It is true that taking a natural approach usually takes more time to work than the medication, although some people do notice a difference quickly upon taking the herbs.

  7. Kavina says:

    Thanks for the post.
    I’m also curious about the transition from medication (Thacapzol/Tiamazol and Levaxin) only, without having taken any herbs, to only herbs. I will start wean myself off of the meds from October and would love to know the smoothest transition for that (if there is one).

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Kavina,

      Being that I’m not a medical doctor I can’t tell someone to stop taking the medication. And so I will never tell a patient to reduce the medication while slowly increasing the dosage of the herbs. Some people will choose to stop taking the medication on their own and then just start taking the herbs, while others will begin taking the herbs while they are still on the medication. If someone with hyperthyroidism takes the latter approach (i.e. starts taking Bugleweed while on the antithyroid medication) and then monitors the blood tests regularly they should notice the numbers going towards the hypo range, and when this is the case their medical doctor will usually begin decreasing the dosage of the antithyroid meds.

  8. Ashley says:

    Hi~ I am 27 yrs old I have hyperthyroidism with goiter- no graves disease or other. I became hyper when I was 6 months pregnant ( this was 3 and half years ago) and I found a lump ( start of goiter ) on my throat. In the last two years I have tried 2 holistic doctors which I did not see any improvement, just maintained of my hyper symptoms for 2/3 hours. Now I am taking Chinese Medicine and I still am in need of some further suggestions. I have not been on any western drugs for about 1 and half years. Please Help!

  9. Sarah says:

    Hi
    I am recently Diagnosed with Pre clinical Graves Disease and have been taking 5mg of Methimazole.I am researching a holistic approach and went gluten and dairy free a week into the meds..I am also researching The blood group diet as it was recomended to me ( I am type O)…your thoughts?I amreading your and Mary Shomons books..Iamconsidering adding the L-Carnitine…canIdothat whilst taking the meds?
    Thankyou
    Sarah

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Sarah,

      There are so many diets out there, and I am familiar with the “blood type diet”, and have read the book. But just like many other things involving diet and nutrition this is controversial. I’ve known people who have followed this diet and received good results, but I usually just recommend a Paleo-type diet to my patients. As for taking L-Carnitine with the medication, you just need to be careful, as while you’re taking a low dose of Methimazole, if you combine antithyroid medication with supplements and/or herbs which have antithyroid activity (i.e. Bugleweed, L-Carnitine) then this potentially can make you hypothyroid, although this usually is reversible once decreasing the dosage.

  10. nerolie says:

    Hi Dr.Eric,

    10 days ago i was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. TSH less than 0.01 and T4 33.6.
    I want to try natural rmedies first. I read your program and have started changing my diet, as well as have ordered bugleweed and motherwort tincture. I am already taking lemon balm tea 3 x day. I also taking celery and kale juices with lemon. Eating lots of antioxidants and avoiding sugar, milk and even gluten.

    Still going to the gym. At rest my heart rate is Ok (80-95) but fill anxious still.

    My question is: is it safe to take all those herbs mentioned above at the same time throughout the day?

    And finally, I read up a lot about this supplement called: acetyl-l carnitine. Should I try it too? at what point?

    Thanks very much for your help!

Leave a Reply

*
= 4 + 9

 
 
Get Your Free Guide Entitled
“The 6 Steps On How To Reverse Graves' Disease & Hashimoto's Through Natural Methods”
You will also receive email
updates on any future webinars
on natural thyroid health.
 

"We respect your privacy"
 
Free Webinars on
Natural Thyroid Health


Click Here For More Information

 
 
 
Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone