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Articles by Cathy Hope

  Hypothyroid: An Alternative Approach  
Proscribed foods; Problematic contributing factors; Alternatives to drug therapy.

  More Good Info on Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels are not the best indicators of cardiovascular health

Iris Herbal Products


Hypothyroid: An Alternative Approach

by Cathy Hope

Proscribed Foods

  • Goitrogenic [suppress thyroid activity] foods: all soy products, peanuts, lima beans, millet, all raw brassicas (broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower) [though cooking usually inactivates at least some goitrogenic activity], radishes and horseradish, mustard and canola, and corn (not all sources agree on corn).
  • Some sources say turnips and sweet potatoes are goitrogenic; some say the opposite
  • Some sources say peaches and pears in moderation
  • Bromated flour products (non-organic white bread)
  • Non-organic meat and dairy (due to xenoestrogens which can disrupt thyroid function)
  • The herbs lemon balm and motherwort (which are used to treat hyperthyroid); other sources add shepherd's purse and watercress.

Problematic Modern Contributing Factors

  • Chronic use of fluoridated, chlorinated, bromated water supplies, internally and externally (these three halides are more chemically reactive than iodine; when in the body they all tend to disrupt stable iodine molecules, displacing iodine and causing its excretion).
  • Fluorine and chlorine in the public water supply
  • Bromine from pesticides, dough conditioners, and from disinfectants for water in hot tubs and commercial spas
  • Aspirin (and other related salicylates) as well as anticoagulants like Warfarin (di-coumerol) increase iodine excretion
  • Release of radioactive Iodine 131 from all nuclear facilities. If we are at all iodine deficient, we will readily take in radioactive Iodine 131 and deposit it in our thyroid glands
  • Chronic selenium deficiency due to its lack in soil and therefore not present in our food (the liver needs selenium to convert T4 to T3)
  • Mercury in the body tends to quell or cripple selenium in the body's enzymes. This means that chronic mercury poisoning can appear as hypothyroidism. Mercury comes into our body through contaminated food and water (due to coal and cement plant emissions, its use in manufacturing, certain species of fish, amalgam fillings, and as a preservative in vaccinations).
  • X-rays to the head and upper chest (especially juvenile radiation exposure).
  • Xenoestrogens (endocrine disruptors) from plastics, factory farming, and various chemicals used in manufacturing (about 20,000 chemicals are currently in circulation via industry, farming, and medical use; most have not been tested individually, and no studies have been done concerning multiple (synergistic exposure).
  • Poor nutrition (fast foods, too little as well as too much fat, insufficient vitamins and minerals).
  • Over-exercising and yo-yo dieting
  • Poor digestion (lack of digestive enzymes)

Alternatives to Drug Therapy


  • Herbs that are mildly helpful: damiana, gotu kola, artichoke, saw palmetto, nettle, wild oat, ginger, schizandra, triphala, codonopsis and bee pollen.
  • Herbs that are moderately helpful: the Ayruvedic guggul, especially as a standardized extract and Coleus forskohlii
  • Herb that is very helpful: all the large kelps (seaweed) and bladderwrack (Fucus spp.) Dosage is variable according to the individual, but is around 1 to 5 grams per day. Seaweed contains biomolecular iodine and other minerals. Fucus spp. contain di-iodotyrosine or DIT, which can be utilized in the thyroid gland as thyroxine halves, which is almost as good as T4.


  • Calcarea carbonica
  • Thyroidinum 3x from standard process lab or 8x from Natra-Bio


  • 1-Tyrosine 800 mg (or more)
  • Vitamin C and B complex
  • Selenium 200 mcg
  • Zinc 10 mg
  • Copper 1 mg
  • Vitamin D 800 IU
  • Vitamin # 400 IU
  • Essential Fatty Acids, especially Fish oil (EPA/DHA)


  • Coconut oil, avocadoes, organic eggs, sardines, organic organ meats, raw dairy products, deep leafy greens, and various seaweeds


"Thyroid Function and Dysfunction" by Ryan Drum, PhD, AHG (consultations: 306-739-4035, email, Waldron Island, WA 98297); many herb books, especially The Energetics of Western Herbs by Peter Holmes and Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Balch and Balch, and various Internet thyroid support groups.

Compiled by:
Cathy Hope, herbal apothecary
505-586-1802 (877-286-2970)
HC 81 Box 640
Questa, NM 87556
(supplements and seaweed can be purchased from Iris Herbal - please call for prices.)




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