Safe and effective treatments for Thyroid Disorders
There are two main thyroid disorders: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: high blood pressure; fast heartbeat; moist skin; increased sweating; tremor; nervousness; increased appetite with weight loss; diarrhea and/or frequent bowel movements; weakness; eyes that seem to bulge out of their sockets; and sensitivity of the eyes to light. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is under-active and produces too little thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include: hoarse voice; slowed speech; puffy face; drooping eyelids; intolerance of cold conditions; constipation; weight gain; dry hair; dry skin; and depression.
Thyroid Disorders in Chinese Medicine
In traditional Chinese medicine, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are considered to be a Yin/Yang imbalance. In Chinese philosophical and medical theory, Yin and Yang are the essential components of the material universe. Everything that exists is Yin or Yang (generally a combination of both in a characteristic balance). The Yin principle is dark, moist, receptive, female, sinking, and its electrical charge is negative. The Yang principle is light, fiery, active, male, outward-expanding, and its electrical charge is positive. A very basic principle of Chinese medicine is to keep the Yin and Yang in balance, since the balance of Yin and Yang represents the healthy state of the body. A treatment intervention by traditional Chinese medicine (which includes acupuncture, herbal medicine, and dietary therapy) is designed to bring the Yin and Yang back to a normal balance. In Western terms, an overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormone alters the body s chemical balance and causes hyper- or hypothyroidism. In Chinese terms, when Yin is deficient it cannot control the Yang energy from escaping outward and upward, and this "reckless" movement of Yang brings about the characteristic symptoms of hyperthyroidism. When Yang is deficient, it simply cannot produce the vital energy necessary to keep the body functioning well, and symptoms of hypothyroidism result.
Recent research, by both Western and Chinese scientists, offers several exciting theories to reinforce ancient ideas about Yin and Yang balance in the body.
Patterns and Treatment of Thyroid Disorders in Chinese Medicine
Hyperthyroidism Three patterns of Yin Deficiency are differentiated for hyperthyroidism: Kidney Yin Deficiency with Excess Heat; Heart/Liver Yin Deficiency; and Heart/Kidney Yin Deficiency. In the pattern of Kidney Yin Deficiency with Excess Heat, typical symptoms are: enlarged, soft, smooth thyroid; anxiety; anger; aversion to heat; flushed, warm face; dry mouth with a bitter taste; increased appetite; bulging eyes; tremor; increased volume of bowel movements, a red tongue body with a dry, yellow coating; and a wiry, rapid pulse.
In the pattern of Yin Deficiency with Heart and Liver Deficiency, the symptoms are: enlarged, swollen, soft, smooth thyroid; heart palpitations; anxiety; insomnia; increased appetite with weight loss; dry throat; a red tongue body with a yellow tongue coating or no coating; and a thin, rapid pulse.
In the pattern of Yin Deficiency with Heart and Kidney Deficiency, common symptoms are: enlarged, swollen thyroid; hand tremors; dry mouth and eyes; heart palpitations; increased appetite; irregular period or amenorrhea (for women); impotence or low sex drive (for men); weakness of the knees and lower back; a red tongue body without coating, and a deep, thin, rapid pulse.
Kidney Yin Tonic (Liu Wei Di Huang Wan) is the herbal formula most commonly used for the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Other herbal formulas, such as Heart Yin Tonic (Tian Wang Xin Bu Dan) are also used, depending on the specific pattern.
Hypothyroidism Two patterns of Yang Deficiency are differentiated for hypothyroidism:: Spleen/Kidney Deficiency, and Heart/Kidney Deficiency. In the pattern of Yang Deficiency with Spleen and Kidney Deficiency, the key symptoms are: lassitude; sleepiness; poor memory; dizziness; ringing in the ears (tinnitus); weakness of the lower back and knees; aversion to cold; dry skin; dry hair; constipation; edema; impotence (men); irregular periods (women); pale, puffy tongue body with tooth marks along the edge; white, sticky tongue coating; and a pulse that is deep and thin or deep and slow.
In the pattern of Yang Deficiency with Heart and Kidney Deficiency, the characteristic symptoms are: heart palpitations; chest congestion and pain; sleepiness; feeling cold; pale, tender tongue body with a white, slippery coating; and a deep, slow pulse.