By Danisha Bogue, L.Ac. - November 6, 2023
Categories: General

Thyroid dysfunction affects millions of individuals worldwide, disrupting their overall well-being and quality of life. While modern medicine offers effective treatments, an increasing number of people are seeking alternative and holistic approaches to complement their conventional therapies. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a rich history of addressing various health issues, including thyroid imbalances.

Understanding Thyroid Dysfunction

Before delving into Traditional Chinese Medicine’s role in treating thyroid dysfunction, it’s crucial to understand the thyroid’s significance in maintaining bodily equilibrium. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, plays a pivotal role in regulating metabolism, energy production, and hormone balance. An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to a range of symptoms including: 

  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased sweating
  • Pounding or racing heart beat
  • Sleep problems
  • Weight loss
  • Sensitivity to heat

An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Tiredness
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Memory problems

The Holistic Approach of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine views the body as an interconnected system where balance and harmony are essential for optimal health. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners believe that the body’s vital energy, known as “Qi,” flows through meridians, influencing various physiological functions. When there is a disruption in this energy flow, health problems, including thyroid dysfunction, can manifest. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a holistic approach to address these imbalances by considering the physical, emotional, and energy aspects of an individual.


The aim of acupuncture is to restore balance to the body by promoting the flow of qi. For thyroid dysfunction, acupuncture can target specific points related to the thyroid and endocrine system. By doing so, it may help regulate hormone production, boost metabolism, and alleviate symptoms such as fatigue and mood fluctuations. 

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is another component of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been used for thousands of years and can help support thyroid health. In the case of hyperthyroidism, cooling and calming herbs such as Rehmannia, Dioscorea (wild yam), and/or Cornus (dogwood). On the other hand, warming herbs like cinnamon bark or aconite, could be used for hypothyroidism to invigorate the body’s energy.

Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, diet and lifestyle play a crucial role in maintaining balance. Your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner may offer guidance on foods that support thyroid function and suggest dietary adjustments based on your individual constitution and imbalances. The mineral iodine plays a key role in making thyroid hormones. A low-iodine diet can help to reduce thyroid hormones. Try adding these foods to help with hyperthyroidism:

  • Egg whites
  • Fresh fruits
  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale)

Increasing your iodine intake, as well as other key nutrients like selenium can help you to regulate thyroid hormone levels. Try incorporating foods like:

  • Non-starchy vegetables (greens, asparagus, carrots, peppers, spinach, mushrooms)
  • Fruits (berries, apples, peaches, pears, grapes, citrus fruits, pineapple, bananas)
  • Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, potatoes, peas, butternut squash)
  • Fish, eggs, meat, and poultry
  • Healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, coconut oil)
  • Grains (brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa)
  • Beans and Lentils

Mind-Body Connection

Stress can significantly impact thyroid function. Techniques such as meditation, acupuncture, and herbal remedies can help manage stress – promoting relaxation and supporting thyroid health. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a holistic and personalized approach to treating thyroid dysfunction, addressing not only the physical symptoms but also the underlying imbalaces within the body. By restoring balance through acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary adjustments, and stress reduction techniques, you can embark on a journey towards improved thyroid health and overall well-being. 

Be well.



This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.