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Four Reasons to Try Ashwagandha for Thyroid Support : Renegade Health Exclusive Article

Monday May 16, 2011 | BY |
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don't need thyroid support hereI’m guessing you probably wouldn’t need ashwagandha or thyroid support if this were your backyard.

Ashwagandha is a funny name…

Liz in our office can never pronounce it.

I couldn’t either until I learned more about it as well.

I’m not great at spelling things out phonetically, but let me give it a try here…

Ah-shwa-gan-dah.

Say it a couple of times fast, it will grow on you and hopefully roll off your tongue.

Anyway, anyone who wants to take care of their thyroid (which means most women over 35) should know what this powerful herb is and why it would be worth their while to experiment with it.

Ashwagandha is an herb used traditionally in Ayurvedic practice. It grows in the dryer regions of India, Africa and the Mediterranean. Its Latin name – if you’re into that geeky stuff – is Withania Somnifera.

What I think is cooler is that I’ve heard in Sanskrit ashwagandha means “horse-like smell.” But don’t worry, if you take it you won’t smell like a sweaty horse, I promise.

(If anyone who knows Sanskrit can confirm that, I would appreciate it. I’ve found many sources online to confirm what I learned a while back, but am always skeptical of my online searches!)

So enough about what the herb IS, let me tell you what it can DO for you…

Here are the four reasons why you may want to try ashwagandha for thyroid support:

1. It works with your body, not against it.

One of my favorite categories of herbs are the adaptogens.

Adaptogens have stolen my heart because they’re potent (as long as you get good quality), multidimensional, and effective. They’re also – generally – tonic herbs, meaning you can take them regularly.

Scientists actually don’t really know how adaptogens work, they just know that they have a positive effect on those who use them. They modulate the endocrine system to help you feel better – whether you’re up or you’re down.

Sounds pretty vague right?

I agree, but you won’t want to argue with what I’ve said after you’ve used them on a regular basis – with a positive effect.

Through my research, I’ve found that most adaptogens work with the endocrine system (hormones) to bring you back in balance.

I’ve also found through personal experimentation and through anecdotal evidence that adaptogens worth with all types of people – even people who have issues on opposite sides of a particular spectrum.

For instance, someone could take ashwagandha to support a sluggish thyroid but another person could take it to support an overactive thyroid as well.

Again, both seem to work, and many scientists are stumped about this. I think the reason why is because the herb has a holistic effect on the body. The scientific method of “separate and isolate” has a hard time dealing with the larger picture (or at least many of the scientists who use it do.)

Because of this, when it comes to adaptogens, maybe it’s necessary to discard our microscopes, mass spectrometers and the scientific method and learn from those cultures who have been using and herb like this for thousands of years.

In this case, ashwagandha has been used in Indian (Ayurvedic) tradition to help with issues linked to hormone imbalance – including stress, anxiety and metabolism.

2. Science shows… Ashwagandha has a positive effect on hormones.

I know I just said we have to go back to ancient cultures to learn about this herb and what its traditional uses are, but I know some of you want some proof – or at least some evidence that the scientific world even knows this herb exists.

Good news is that there are some blips on the radar.

Ashwagandha has been shown to increase the amount of hormones secreted by the thyroid gland.

It’s unknown why this happens, but it has some type of regulating effect on thyroid hormone secretion.

The studies on this herb don’t show selectively that the herbal extracts cause the secretion of more T4 or T3, but both levels go up with the supplementation of high quality ashwagandha.

So there’s more to it than our “science” can identify, but science has at least taken a look.

If you want to read a good review on the different uses for ashwagandha, you can read this here.

3. Good for adrenal support too…

Aside from the thyroid, ashwaganda also is effective for adrenal support.

What this means is, one, that it is a true adaptogen, since most adaptogens are very good at supporting the adrenals, and, two, it confirms its ability to work with the entire endocrine / hormone system.

Ashwaganda seems to be an effective endocrine system modulator.

My sense is that most of us have hormone imbalances to some degree. It comes with the stress our cultures put on us. So to think that a potent herb could calm us down a bit and relax our reaction to the overstimulation we’re experiencing on a regular basis is not that far-fetched.

Now, keep in mind, ashwagandha isn’t a complete cure for your adrenals or your thyroid. The increases in T3 and T4 (thyroid hormones) are small and if you keep stressing out or using stimulants your adrenals will never recover, but it’s the first step for the thyroid (and adrenals) especially when there’s stress involved.

Who doesn’t have that?!

If you want a complete therapeutic approach to thyroid or adrenal health you would benefit from more support than just ashaganda, but it is a great start.

4. It’s completely natural.

My approach, from what I’ve learned from other successful natural health doctors and practitioners is pragmatic.

Try the natural approach first (unless you break a leg) and then see if it works. From there, you can decide if you need a secondary plan of action.

The whole herb has been used for thousands of years as a tonic herb which means you can take it for an extended period of time without side effects. Of course, if you want to be cautious, you can take ashwaganda for 1-2 months then take a break or switch to another adaptogen.

Little chance of side effects and a good chance of positive effects equals a good way to start your natural treatment protocol.

How much to take?

When you take ashwagandha you want to use a high quality extract and – as per Dr. Williams’ recommendations – take 200-1200 milligrams per day.

You can take it in capsule form, or in a smoothie or tea.

Adding it to a smoothie will mask the tea like flavor of the herb and if you want to make a tea you can mix it with holy basil and a sweetener for a decent tasting hot drink.

(We sell a very high quality ashwagandha in the Renegade Health Store – it’s cold extracted in powder form and very, very potent. I haven’t found anything as strong as this. Click here to read more and buy ashwagandha here.)

One of the best ways to determine if it is working for you, an approach that I’m in favor of is to test your thyroid hormones before you start taking it, then test 3-4 months later to see if there is a positive change.

This way you’ll know for sure if it’s working for you or if you might want to spend your money, time and energy elsewhere.

You can order thyroid hormone tests from any good health practitioner.

And by the way, if at any time you have a question about ashwaganda or if it’s right for you, it’s always a good idea to have a great health practitioner in your corner to bounce some ideas off of.

I want to know your thoughts: Have you tried ashwaganda? What did you think?

**
Wait, for Thyroid There’s More…

Ashwaganda is just the start.

In our “Complete Thyroid Health” Program, Dr. J. E. Williams has laid out at least a half dozen more herbs, supplements and minerals for complete thyroid support and natural treatment.

We’d love for you to take a look at it.

If you want, to take the risk off of you, we have a 60 day money back guarantee. So try it, and if you don’t find it valuable, you can return it, no questions asked!

Here’s where to go to get it now…

http://www.renegadehealth.com/thyroidhealth

Live Awesome!
Kev

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

42 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. chris says:

    hi kevin, i’ve been friends with ashwagandha for some time and it’s really helped me through some challenging times. good to see you write about it. as for horses, ashwagandha is said to bring you the strength of a horse – who wouldn’t want to adapt to their environment with the strength and nobility of a horse! while we can take both, i understand it’s ashwagandha for men, shatavari for women. thanks for your work, and for keeping it real :-) chris

  2. I haven’t tried ashwaganda yet, but I follow Andrew Weil and he mentions the herb in all his books as being a great supplement to healthy aging. I will try it now and order it @ your store, because I trust you have researched and found the best.
    Thank you for all your research Kevin. I do a lot of research also in my business and its not always appreciated, so thank you from a fellow researcher.

  3. PE says:

    Yes, ashva means horse and gandha is fragrance in Sanskrit. The fresh-dug root reminds people of a horse, which has a nice smell.
    It’s chockful of alkaloids.

  4. Kevin and Ann Marie
    it would be great if you listed all the products you have in powder form without the additive magnesuim stearate which is not so good for one. This is the first time I have had the ashwganda offered in powder form thanks great idea. daliya

  5. Flora says:

    Are the effects of ashwagandha similar to those of holy basil? I take the latter on a daily basis, ever since I bought a huge stock back from my travels to India… it’s now running out… so I’d also really like to know if you sell it at yr online store… Thanks

  6. Darlene says:

    The one and only time I tried Ashwaganda was using the powder form I got from a workshop on Ayerveda that I went to. The stuff tasted awful! It was very strong and bitter. I don’t think I’ll be using it again anytime soon.

  7. Coco says:

    I have done several rounds of it recently and found zero difference in my health. Zero. I chalk the results people get from this one up to a desire for it to be so.
    I’ve also done a few rounds of modifilian (brown seaweed extract) with no noticable effects.
    I have milk thistle extract, yellow dock tincture and silica to try next. One at a time for a couple of months at least to see what they do for me. I always buy high quality and eat and live a moderate lifestyle with no serious health issues (just the regular stuff for a 40 year old).

  8. Since I am an herbalist I make my own tinctures. I made ashwagandha about a couple of months ago and have been taking it daily. I love it. I feel like it has really balanced my adrenals and thyroid.

  9. Lori says:

    I started ashwagandha daily, the one you sell in your store several months ago when I stopped my high dose of thyroid meds. Last month my TSH, T3-Free and T4-Free were in the normal range! I am doing other things daily to help my thyroid as well. Thyroid massage while rebounding, grounding and diet to support the thyroid which includes seaweed as well as supplemental iodine.
    I have a question, how much of your ashwaganda powder equalls 200-1200 mg? I have been taking 1/4 tsp. mixed in a green smoothie once or twice a day. I have no problem with the taste and sometimes just mix it in hot water with stevia for a coffee like tea!

  10. tiffany says:

    Hey kevin & Ann-marie,

    this is off topic but im wondering if you know much about the banning of plants used for holistic medicine. We are loosing our right to treat ourselves as we see fit and we need to get the word out. There is increasing interest in the natural remedies of the past but if we continue to let certain regulations pass, all we will have left will be the prescription drugs that I and many others can not afford. We need to bring information and action to the people on these issues and its trustworthy personalities like yourselves who might be the key.

    http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/index_en.jsp

    This is the culprit, please study alternative sources for clearer explanations of the impact.

    thanks
    tiffany

  11. Tal says:

    This is from the MountainRose Herbs website:

    ” However Ashwagandha should not be consumed for long periods of time and is better reserved for the “times of need”.

    Precautions
    Botanical safety guidelines in the US and Germany have suggested that Ashwagandha may be a mild abortifacient and it is not recommended for pregnant women.”

    Good to keep in mind.

    Tal

  12. Janet says:

    Kev,

    Like Chris above mentioned, I too heard from many Chinese herbalist that shatavari is said to be better for for women than ashwagandha. Would you be possibly considering having some shatavari on your site? I would love to get ahold of this herb. It is a bit harder to come by than ashwagandha is.

  13. Blanca says:

    I too, would be interested in the shatavari, now that I’ve read the postings. I hadnt’ heard until then, so great to have you as a resource. I learn a lot from you and also from your informed readers. Thank you.

  14. How is it pronounced!
    A= as in assess
    shwa = as in “shwa”, not at all difficult,and no need to guide you!
    ga= g+a (a as in assess)=”ga”=as in “gut”
    ndha = ndh + aa (a as per all)

    A shwa ga ndhaa
    My father was an ayurvedic doc and we said the word often. Kerala and India, are rich in this herb and its usage. But as it is boiled in oil and cooked etc, I like the effect of it in natural way, as a juice made out of it or a powder made out of it by drying.
    What I know is it is also an overall system maintainer, systems manager, network manager for the body.No side effects.

    Indian Saint,Yogi RamDeoBabaji talks about it often. He manufactures it in his factory with good monitoring, as I heard.
    Thank you Kevin and Ann Marie for your wonderful lead to the world lost in the passion of uncivilised eating!!

    D.PARAMESWARAN
    NatureCure,Yoga,Meditation,Herbs
    http://www.sunflowerdance.com

  15. angie gore says:

    is duatomaceous earth safe to consume and does it benefit our health?

  16. angie gore says:

    diatomaceous

  17. Sharon says:

    I can’t say I noticed a difference with ashwaganda but then again, I’m pretty healthy. I use shatavari too.

  18. Gail says:

    I wrote a review on Amazon of the one I used in capsule form. Yes, it is noticably different – more energy; greater wellbeing.
    However, I have found that if I take Ashwaganda, or Ginseng, or Maca on a day when I’ve had my morning coffee, I am irritable. So, the two don’t mix.

  19. Ashwaganda and astragalis is a good adapatagen combo. My naturopath makes that combo for me as a tincture. Good for the thyroid and energy. Can also stimulate the appetite. Don’t drink coffee but use maca in my green smoothie; have had no problems with the tincture. Ayurveda is a very old healing system that works.

  20. linda says:

    I have read that if one takes ashwagandha with an overactive thyroid it will blow the thyroid out. Exactly what does this mean and is it true? Is it dangerous? Thanks

  21. Tawn says:

    Thank you for your article.

    One source I came across says that the name suggests that one who ingests it can attain “the strength and vitality of a horse”

    a little more poetic anyway!

  22. bernice says:

    kevin,this question is off the subject but do you have any advice for chronic insomnia?

  23. Kelly says:

    Dear Kevin
    I’am very interested in your article about Ashwaganda My question is how does this mix with other medications that are not holistic.I take Concerta for Add also High Blood pressure meds(losartan-HCTZ 100-25 mg) once a day.Concerta is Methylphenidate ER 36mg per day.In your experience are these compatible with each other.
    Please let me know.Thank you

  24. Charlene Clement says:

    Do you not sell Ashwaganda in capsule form? Must I make my own? Other than a smoothie, which gets borning, I don’t know of another way to use the powder form. But, would love to try some…..
    Second IS Shatavari better for me, as an aging woman?

  25. Terry says:

    Ashwaganda would be great if you offered it in pill form.

    Thanks, and have a great week!

    • LynnCS says:

      Hey, Terry. Easy peasy to fill your own. Ask your pharmacist to sell you a kit. Since this is the best quality you can buy, it would be worth the time. Go for it.

  26. karen says:

    the thyroid is being hammered because of world wide soil iodine deficiencies. Lugol’s solution is the solution.

  27. Flo Green says:

    I had radioactive iodine treatment for my thyroid over 40 yrs. ago. I’ve been on synthroid ever since.
    Since I think my thyroid was destroyed, or partially destroyed, do you think ashwahganda would still help?

    • Anne Sears says:

      I have Hashmotos thiroiditis, and I was wondering if it would be beneficial to use ashwagandha. I replace all the thyroxine in my body with synthetic thyroxine, as my thyroid gland is being constantly attacked by antibodies.

  28. Lamont says:

    The article above was very informative .

    Thank you
    Lamont

  29. HI Kevin, just a reminder about breast cancer and thyroid problems. Please listen to me. Go to my web site at http://www.cardinalwellness.com and in my pages please read an article I published PINK RIBBON CONSPIRACY. I believe you will be shocked.
    Thank you
    James Pelowski contact me via my web site for your thoughts. I have been in 51 countries studying health issues.

  30. Rita Wilson says:

    Just a heads-up for those who may be nightshade intolerant. I found out the hard (painful) way that
    ashwagandha is a nightshade. I suffered terrible neck and shoulder pain for weeks before I found out the
    facts. So—-enjoy a great herb if you are not sensitive to nightshades but beware if you are!

  31. Anne Sears says:

    Can someone tell me if this herb is suitable for someone with Hashimotos?

  32. mary says:

    dear renegade show,i developed a very highly overactive thyroid 19 yrs ago at aged 33 and it coincided with a massive breakdown concerning issues that obsessively torment me to this day and ive tried councelling but it doesnt resolve the situation. however physically and emotionally i continue to be in a mess and after the normal medical regime of neo-mercazole tablets for 18months i was weaned off them and the graves disease came back and i finally but reluctantly gave into radio-isotope treatment to kill the gland . that was 8 years ago and im double the weight with a real hard stomach that goes out further than my bust i dont exercise much cause im heavy legged and am a better swimmer infact i could push myself 4hours inthe pool and how come i hadnt lost even a pound when it says in the magazine that a half hour of swimming should burn 500 cals also i can bearly feel my pulse , i must admit i cant cut out carbs im 49 in june and i give up, the dr gave me armour 6 months ago which is 45 pounds a month and i didnt go out exercising much or out in daylight as im also studying alot, and also my blood test didnt go low like it did before when i got hold of armour from a different endocrinologist 5 years ago and back then my tsh went down from high ie 15 to 20 to real low 0.2 and i was on a holiday at the time and walked every couple of days and i lost one and a half stone in 3 weeks and i still ate carbs .since i have my gland burned out with radio-isotope treatment not many people will offer to help not even a local weight loss clinic run by a doctor also although very personal i completley lost my libido 19 years ago and it never has returned and the doctors always say r u taking your medication correctly i will normally eat breakfast straight after medication and i dont get up the same time every day but take them daily and as i get a months supply at a time if i forget to ring a doctor i might miss one or two days at most but normally remember to tell dr i need more , i am on 225mg a day of levothyroxine,and get pains in front of legs terrible hip arm wrist pains chronic fatigue and brain fog forgetfulness depression and ive also had facial hair from aged twenty which despite electrolysis continues to this day mentally im overactve bombarding thoughts , ineed alot of sleep and am addicted to seroquel tranquiliser which gets me to sleep but apparently puts on weight . thyroid which is in my family has ruined my life , i feel defeated i was a nice slim woman up till thirty and my dr said that the hirsutism could have been my thyroid all along , im a strawberry blond haired woman although my dad a dark haired man ;like an italian but with pale skin and blue eyes apparently grows red hair when he has a beard; they say women from mediterannean stock have often got facial hair. ive read that spearment tea works but how can it be high testosterone when all libido completley left me 19 years ago, my gp says its my depression yet i know a really big guy who is by polar about 24 stone still having physical relationship withn his wife despite being on lithium and lots of other drugs howcome? ive so many questions also what do u think of dr clark on utube talking about thyroid, he claims drs dont know what there doing with thyroid patients. i dont think anything will work at my age and i wish i hadnt let the drs take my gland out mary

    • LynnCS says:

      Find out more about the different carbs. Not all carbs are the same. We love good carbs. Check out Dr. John McDougall’s blog and discussion group. He and the people in the discussion group will be of great help. The pain (I have fibromyalgia) brain fog, fatigue, etc, etc, will all get better as it has with me. There are so many people on there who have lost tons of weight. I have no problem with the way they eat. I do find additional help with these supplemental powders (“herbs”) that Kevin has available. I wish you much success and have no doubt that the depression will lift and you will lose the weight and find peace. Commit to the way of eating and you will have a new life. It’s a matter of balance. Check it out. Much love, Lynn

    • Name (required) says:

      Mary,

      I’m sorry u r going thru such hardship… maybe Magdalena Wszelaki (Thyroid Diet Coach) can help you. Community on-line calls are free weekly if you want to check it out and/or don’t have money for consult you can still acquire basic info to get educated and start w/ lifestyle issues…

      http://thyroiddietcoach.com

    • Jacqueline says:

      Dear Mary,
      I read your story and it breaks my heart. First of all, it’s not too late to get your life back. I too suffer from thyroid disorder, Hoshi, and have an auto-immune disease. It most likely started about a year ago and I too was thin with a fairly good shape for my age. I started experiencing swelling, and all the other horrible things that go along with Thyroid issues.

      My point, your adrenals also play are a major player here. You are certainly stressed due to your thyroid, and trouble sleeping. I would look up womentowomen.com. I believe they can help you. In addition, I have learned that you have to eliminate the stress in your life so that your adrenals can heal. Call these people, they will help you. In addition, Levothethyroxine only works on some people, many people have to swith to Synthroid. Get your doctor to try Synthroid or go back on the Armor. It takes time, but don’t overdue the exercise, it too is stressful on the bodys system. Try looking up Hailey Palmroy’s The Fast Metabolism Diet, I believe that too may help you, even if you have to repeat the plan/diet over and over again.

      God Bless you and the best of luck, you are worth every day it takes to get get your health back.

      Jacqueline

  33. Cindy says:

    After about 2 weeks I got low blood pressure as a side effect when I tried ashwagandha weeks….You need to point that out

  34. Rose Roberts says:

    Hi Keven, I have both hypothyroidism and Adrenal Fatigue. I
    am on the thyroid medication Armour Thyroid ( 30 MG 1 x daily). I
    have read that Ashwagandha is very good for the adrenals but am
    equally as happy to hear it helps with the thyroid. To your
    knowledge do you know if it is safe to take while on a thyroid
    medication as I am on? I would so appreciate your thoughts on this
    as I would really like to purchase some from this website. Please
    e-mail me as soon as possible so I too can take advantage of this
    awesome adaptogen. Thank you! Rose

  35. Ryle Gale says:

    Yes, you are right, Ashwagandha is a sanskrit word and it means horse like smell in sanskrit and Hindi also. The name is given so because the actual plant has horse like smell in its leaf. :)

  36. Elaine says:

    Is it ok to use ashwagandha and Lugol’s solution 2 at the same time?

  37. Flavourtrove says:

    Ashwagandha extracts are really the best options for treating insomnia and similar diseases. Theses extracts can also be applied to skin for the healing of wounds.

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