Overactivity of the thyroid gland may be caused by a functioning growthor tumor, such as a benign nodule or cancer, a self-limited inflammationof the gland from a probable viral infection, or Graves’ disease (the commonestform). Graves’ disease appears to be autoimmune, caused by the productionof thyroid antibodies which have a stimulating effect on the gland. Thissame process causes the deposition of a thick substance within the skin, behind the eyes, and elsewhere.
Clinical manifestations are the result of an increased metabolic rate, especiallyexcessive body heat, increased neuromuscular and cardiovascular activity, and hyperactivity. For example :
- Nervousness, emotional hyperexcitability, irritability, apprehension, sleeplessness,
- Difficulty in sitting quietly.
- Rapid pulse, at rest as well as on exertion (ranges between 90 and 160);palpitations.
- Low heat tolerance; profuse perspiration; flushed skin (e.g. hands warm, moist)
- Fine tremor of hands; change in bowel habits constipation or diarrhea.
- Increased appetite and progressive weight loss.
- Muscle fatigability and weakness; amenorrhea.
- Bulging eyes (exophthalmos) – produces a startled expression.
Specific Remedies :
This condition has one of the best examples of a specific remedy, Bugleweed(Lycopus virginicus or L. europaeus). It is a useful relaxingnervine but in addition has a sometimes dramatic effect in reducing thesymptom picture associated with hyperthyroid conditions. I have seen nofigures on thyroxin serum levels in patients using Lycopus, and thuscannot say that improvement is due to the herb directly impacting the hormone, but something is definitely going on.
One possible prescription :
Lycopus spp. 4 parts
Leonurus cardiaca 2 parts
Scutellaria spp. 2 parts
Crataegus spp. 1 part to 5ml of tincture three times a day
for associated insomnia :
Passiflora incarnata equal parts as tincture to 5-15ml 1/2hour before retiring.
Actions supplied by this combination :
- Nervine Tonic (Scutellaria spp.)
- Nervine Relaxant (Lycopus spp., Leonurus cardiaca, Scutellariaspp., Valeriana officinalis, Passiflora incarnata)
- Cardio-Vascular Tonic (Crataegus spp.)