As most people who are reading this know, I personally was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, and used a natural treatment protocol to help restore my health back to normal. And while I frequently mention how just taking nutritional supplements and herbs alone isn’t enough to restore one’s health, this doesn’t mean that taking supplements and herbs aren’t important, as they definitely play a big role in the recovery process.
When I followed a natural treatment protocol there were numerous supplements and herbs which I took. And when it came to managing my symptoms, the herbs Bugleweed and Motherwort were the two most valuable ones. Since I opted not to take any antithyroid drugs, it was somewhat challenging dealing with the hyperthyroid symptoms (high pulse rate, palpitations, etc.). These two herbs were highly responsible for controlling these symptoms.
I actually began by just taking Bugleweed for a few months, which by itself did a good job of managing the symptoms. Of course the other supplements and herbs I took, along with modifying certain lifestyle factors, were also an important part of the recovery process. But for many people who don’t want to take antithyroid drugs, Bugleweed is an option. Although Bugleweed did do a good job of managing my symptoms, I still had some minor palpitations, which is why I decided to take Motherwort as well. Taking both of these herbs pretty much eliminated the cardiac symptoms I experienced.
Taking These Herbs On Your Own
I’m of course not a big advocate of self-treating one’s condition. However, I realize that many people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease will take these and other herbs on their own. In fact, a number of people I consult with are already taking these herbs during the initial consultation. And many of these people told me they decided to take them based on what they read on my website. What’s important to understand is that these herbs won’t work on everybody with a hyperthyroid condition, as other factors need to be addressed as well.
For example, I’ve consulted with some people who took Bugleweed and Motherwort and actually experienced a worsening of their thyroid blood tests. And usually the reason for this is because there are other factors that aren’t being addressed. In other words, when I was taking the Bugleweed, I was also taking certain herbs to help with my immune system, was taking iodine and magnesium to help address my iodine deficiency, etc. So I wasn’t just taking Bugleweed alone, which is what some people do. Or many will take other supplements and herbs, but these won’t be the appropriate ones to address other problems they are experiencing. This is why it’s always wise to consult with an expert.
Replacing Antithyroid Drugs With Herbs
Some people who are already taking antithyroid drugs such as Methimazole or PTU try to replace them with these herbs. Once again, I can’t recommend for anyone to do this, even if they are a current patient of mine. Some people choose to take both the antithyroid drugs and these herbs, which once again is completely up to them.
Weaning Off These Herbs
Just as most people don’t want to take antithyroid drugs for the rest of their life, the same thing applies with herbs. As I mentioned before, I began taking Bugleweed each day, and then eventually began taking Motherwort. Then a few months later I began weaning myself off of these herbs, first reducing the dosage in half, and then taking them once a day, until eventually I no longer needed them anymore. After doing this I was concerned that my symptoms would return, but fortunately they didn’t. Obviously it wasn’t just taking these herbs which was responsible for restoring my health back to normal. But my guess is that most people with an autoimmune thyroid disorder who begin weaning off the supplements and herbs worry about their symptoms returning.
In summary, both Bugleweed and Motherwort can both help to manage the symptoms of hyperthyroidism naturally. However, it’s important to keep in mind that just taking these herbs alone might not be enough to manage your symptoms, and almost definitely won’t be enough to restore your health back to normal. Plus, just as is the case with any other herb, the goal is to eventually wean off these herbs. While many people take these herbs on their own, those serious about restoring their health back to normal really should consult with a competent natural endocrine doctor.
If your taking iodine and bugleweed and motherwort does bugleweed take up all the iodine I live in Tulsa Ok and I wish I could find a natural doctor to help me Racing heart has been going on since Nov13 up to this point none of these dudes I’ve seen have helped me I’m getting tired Any suggestions
Dr. Eric says
No, bugleweed does not “take up” all of the iodine. As for finding a natural endocrine doctor, I would suggesting contact some of the local chiropractors and naturopaths in your town to see if any of them focus on endocrine disorders.
I was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and I consulted with my ND who have me iodine supplement (potassium based) after doing a muscle test. After doing some research, I am hesitant to take it since iodine is normally called for with hypothyroidism and can make hyperthyroidism worse. I am scheduled for a thyroid scan in one week and not sure if it will interfere with the test results. Should I be concerned?
Dr. Eric says
Iodine supplementation is definitely a controversial topic. Some people with hyperthyroid conditions are deficient in iodine and do need to supplement with it, although I personally wouldn’t rely on muscle testing for this. However, iodine definitely isn’t for everyone, and some people don’t do well when taking iodine. When I had Graves’ Disease I supplemented with iodine, and it didn’t make my hyperthyroidism worse. But this doesn’t mean that everyone with hyperthyroidism should take iodine. I probably would hold off on taking any iodine before the scan.
Dear Dr Eric Osansky,
I have been following your write-ups and i have taken my broccoli more seriously, eating a big clove daily and discover lately that the swelling on my neck has started to reduce. I have ordered for bugleweed (lycopus virginucus) hyperthroid herbs and also motherwort (leonurus cardiaca) as a way of gradually eradicating my carbimazole and propalonol. I sincerely hope i will get out of this dreaded disease. i just want to also confirm if cabbage and cauliflower is also ideal for hyperthroid since they belong to the cruciferous family. please help me clarify sir.
Thank you so much for your listening ears.
Dr. Eric says
Eating some raw goitrogenic vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower might help with the hyperthyroid symptoms to some extent, although many times people don’t notice much of a difference, even when eating a lot of servings each day. But of course these foods are very healthy, and so it shouldn’t hurt to eat them, and might help a little.
Dear Dr Eric
I am diagnosed with Hyper and am taking PTU since Aug 2006. My eyes are bulging a little and the swelling on my neck is getting bigger. The doctor asked me to take the radio iodine but i refused to. I’ve read your post and quite interested abt the Bugleweed and Motherwort. I live in Malaysia and i’m hoping that i could get the bugleweed & motherwort here in my country. Maybe u could tell me what kind of vitamins or supplements that have these two?
Thanks so much
Dr. Eric says
There aren’t too many companies which manufacture Bugleweed and Motherwort. You might want to see if you can find a local herbalist who can prepare a tincture consisting of these herbs. I typically recommend the MediHerb brand of Bugleweed and Motherwort, although some people also take these herbs from the company Herb Pharm, which can be purchased online.
My husband has hypothyroidism, diagnosed Aug 2015,with TSH 4 of over 80. He is on Carbimazole (started at 30mg/day and now down to 20mg/day) and is now down to normal T4 levels, though his T3 is still slightly elevated and his TSH is below normal. We are on a tight budget and have been trying to eat as healthily as we can for last 5 years, though has been a steep learning curve – we have followed the Weston Price principles. He is still on medication …
would it be wise in his case to even consider coming off medication?
If so should he ask doctor to take him off before trying Bugleweed/ Motherwort or can he take them alongside. I doubt our docs/consultant at hospital here in UK will be very sympathetic.
Also, I take it these supplements only control the symptoms, not contribute to bring it into remission?
Dr. Eric says
A TSH that is greater than 80 is extremely high. There still are risks with coming off of the medication, but if he stays on the Carbimazole I would make sure that your husband gets retested every 2 to 4 weeks with the TSH being that high. Motherwort can usually be taken with the Carbimazole. As for bugleweed, this can also be taken with antithyroid medication, although it of course also has antithyroid activity and can potentially worsen the hypothyroidism. And yes, the bugleweed and motherwort only manages the symptoms, as it doesn’t address the cause of the problem.
Hi Dr Eric,
You mention you took Bugleweed for Hyperthyroidism as well as Iodine, just wondering why you would take both at the same time, as isn’t Bugleweed is to meant to stop the uptake of Iodine by the Thyroid , so doesn’t taking Iodine defeat the purpose of taking the Bugleweed ?
In your Iodine article you also mention it can sometimes cause Hypothyroidism, and also Hyperthyroidism. Just wondering how it can do both. And if it can potentially worsen Hyperthyroidism , I would be concerned with taking the 50mg of Iodine you mentioned needed to test for deficiency ?
I have hyper. Now I take 2 Tymazole a day each 10mg. Lab test is normal but I have heart palpitation. I want to buy bugleweed and motherwort pills. Also my eyes a bit bulging. What is the best dose to start with these herbs?
I have had a hypothtroid for 25 years (cause unknown). Something changed and now I have suffered from a hyperthyroid for about 8 months. Thyroid Uptake and scan showed it was my thyroid and not my nodules that was producing the thyroid hormone (diffuse hyperthyroidism).
My radioiodine uptake was 62% (high). Ultrasound revealed that nothing with the nodules has changed over the last 5 years other than that the thyroid itself seems slightly enlarged with hypervascularity.
My TSH=0.01, FT4=30, FT3=10.7
I have had a full thyroid panel and have normal results for Thyroglobulin and Thyroperoxidase antibodies. My FSH and LH indicate that I may be in menopause (I am 45 with regular periods).
My rT3=49ng/dL = high and my TBG=normal.
My white blood cells are on the low side.
I am seeing a ND who has prescribed Thyroid Calm PX (Bugleweed, Lemon Balm and Rosemary).
My Endo dropped me because she found out I saw a ND. She did not do any blood work (except T3 T4 TSH) and just wanted to give me radioactive iodine – I don’t want to take that.
Is there any advice you could offer Me? We do not have any Naturopathic Endocrinologists in my area although my ND seems pretty knowledgeable.
Dr. Eric says
Kathy, I know you tested negative for thyroglobulin and thyroperoxidase antibodies, but did they test the thyroid stimulating immunoglobulins, which are specific for Graves’ disease? If not then I definitely would recommend doing this, especially with such a high uptake test reading. It’s also possible that it can be a case of subacute thyroiditis, which usually self resolves within a few months, although if this is the case then you most likely will become hypothyroid again. There aren’t too many naturally-oriented endocrinologists, and while I do conduct remote consultations, it sounds like you’re in good hands with your ND, and so you might want to continue working with him or her for now.
Thank you very much. I appreciate your input
Unfortunately, they do not test for TSI in Canada. I will see if I can get the test done in the US.
Dr. Eric says
You are very welcome Kathy!
Grace Onuoha says
I have been suffering for hyperthyroidism for the past 4 years and also been taking the antithyroid drugs without result.
Kindly advice me on the suitable diet and the best way to handle my situation. I have lost a great deal of weight. Unfortunately, the doctors keep on suggesting surgery.
Dr. Eric says
Below I’ll include a link to article I wrote about gaining weight when dealing with hyperthyroidism, although I do recommend working with a natural healthcare practitioner, as they can help find the underlying cause of your condition.
Kayce Gilcrist says
I have recently had success overcoming hyperthyroidism symptoms, including a thyroid storm, by eliminating all grains, dairy, sugar & any foods with a noticeable amount of Iodine and adding organic cabbage, broccoli daily, as well as juicing organic parsley, cabbage, spinach, kale & cilantro.
I was diagnosed with Graves 2 years ago and haave been on carbimazole until 2 months ago. I asked to come off it as my levels were normal and I had become very depressed and very itchy. However my symptoms have returned. My naturopath has put me on motherwort and I will be adding bugleweed soon. I have been following the autoimmune protocol and have greatly reduced my stress levels. I know there probably isn’t a definite answer but are the herbs likely to cause similar side effects?
recently found your website after being diagnosed with Graves about a month ago (had uptake scan, T4 0f 3.6, TSH <0.01, TPO fine @ 10.9 but TSI 3.0). Was taking 10mg daily of methimazole and beta atenolol. Results have been positive on heart rate (since stopped atenolol) and on T4 (0.9). Unfortunately my ALT shot up to 60 (from 25). Lowered Methimazole to 5mg and retested liver function 3 days later. Well ALT went to 75. Now I need to come off Methimazole and they are recommending RAI. I would like to try an natural approach to manage my symptoms and find an underlying cause. Bugleweed and motherwart sound like a real option for me. I am otherwise a healthy 45yr male and eat pretty well and exercise (at least before this wiped me out). would love your reaction and options on where to start
Dr. Eric says
If you are unable to take methimazole due to elevated liver enzymes then I agree that it’s worth giving bugleweed a try. I can’t tell you exactly how much you should take, as everyone is different, although when I was dealing with Graves’ disease I took 1 tsp of a 1:2 extract of both bugleweed and motherwort twice per day. In some cases people will take less than this. Also keep in mind that while bugleweed can help to manage the symptoms of many people with hyperthyroidism, it doesn’t work for everyone. If this is the case with you then you might want to read some of the articles I’ve written on low dose naltrexone (LDN) and cholestryramine.
Hi Dr Eric! I was recently diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and graves in July 2018. My free t4s and free t3s were optimal just my t4s were a tad elevated at 13 and tsh listed at .2. Tsi was <.10 tpo was 13. Uptake scan showed an extremely elevated rate of 41% at 4 hours and 81% at 24 hours. My endo couldnt understand my blood levels and uptake scan, she said they were so inconsistent. She has stuck me on a small dose of methimazole 2.5 daily. My question is I ate a ton of salt the night before my scan, yes this salt had iodine. I had no idea what I was going in for before hand. Do you think my iodine consumption altered my uptake scan any? I asked my endo but she pretty much avoided the question. I dont feel as bad as most people. first it was just really bad anxiety but after the uptake scan all these new symptoms hit me. I have read all that extra iodine from the uptake stays in your system for 2 months plus after.
JENNI HOLDER says
Dear Dr Eric,
I understand that Bugleweed and Motherwort treat the symptoms the Thyroid creates – which is valuable for quality of life and the health of the heart, among other things.
But if Graves (which I was just diagnosed with) is an auto-immune disease – something that (according to an interview today on Fresh Air with Daniel Davis (author of “a beautiful cure”) could have originated long before it attacked my thyroid ….how can I figure out what I should truly to be doing to put the disease into remission? Is it food, stress, toxins, etc? Is this just a matter of experimentation and education guessing?
I really want to treat my disease naturally – but I don’t want to just deal with symptoms.
Thanks for any insight or advice!
Dr. Eric says
It admittedly is challenging to find the autoimmune trigger, which is why it’s a good idea to work with a natural healthcare practitioner. If food is a trigger then this might be figured out through experimentation, but most of the time more detective work is needed to detect the triggers.
Hello sir I was diagnosed with thyroid hyperthyroidism but my eyes has bulge out and my eyes can’t close am taking drugs from my drs but please Dr how can I reverse my protruding eyes? And herbs Dr please help