At Zoi Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine in Buda, Texas (just south of Austin), we have a strong focus on autoimmune disease and internal medicine. Our clinic is based in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which we combine with modern medical methods like lab testing and studying current medical research. Around 60% of my own patients have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder—hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Complicated and "mystery" cases are my real bread and butter! And as part of that we see a lot of thyroid issues—on their own, or as part of more complicated cases. In fact, we are seeing more and more thyroid dysfunction in our patients every year.
Root causes of thyroid dysfunction
While treating thyroid patients and researching their cases, we have found the following underlying issues to be common:
- Postpartum onset of thyroid dysfunction
- Chronic and/or circulating infections—both bacterial and viral, but typically Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Streptococcus (strep) bacteria
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Significant vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Chronic stress
- Inflammation (a factor in all thyroid cases, and likely most diseases and pain)
- Leaky gut syndrome
- MTHFR gene mutation leading to detox issues
Any and all of these factors must be addressed for those with thyroid disruption. When the root problems of thyroid dysfunction are treated, the result is healthier thyroid function and more gains in overall wellness, than when the thyroid gland and it’s hormones are treated directly and alone.
Overcoming thyroid bullies
And so, we deal with the “bullies”. We do this by combining our TCM approach, which includes the powerful pharmacology of plant medicines, with modern lab testing. Lab testing tells us about current thyroid function, the health of other organs and potential nutritional deficiencies. Using that information and our TCM methods, we identify the bullies and kick them out of the playground with herbal medicines, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture. We deal with the viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections, correct specific vitamin and mineral deficiencies, heal the gut and support the diversity of the microbiome, provide support to cope with MTHFR gene mutations, and resolve whole body inflammation. We've found this to be the most effective way to correct thyroid dysfunction, enhance overall wellness, and reduce or eliminate the need for pharmaceutical thyroid supplements.
Our favorite herbal tools for the thyroid
Two of our best herbal tools used with patients with thyroid issues are the Zoi Medicinals™ formulas Fos | Resilience™, and The Zoi | Longevity™.
- Zoi Medicinals™ Fos | Resilience™ formula is an adaptogenic mix of herbs that can strengthens the body's ability to handle all types of stress, physical and mental. It modulates the release of stress hormones from the adrenal gland through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is also involved in proper thyroid function. Fos™ helps to correct some of the disruptions that often put undo pressure onto the thyroid. It is also a clinic favorite for fatigue, postpartum recovery, and the prevention of stress and hormone-related complications.
- Zoi Medicinals™ The Zoi | Longevity™ formula regulates the immune system and helps reduce viral and bacterial activity and whole body inflammation. As an added benefit, we often see significant improvements in the patient’s overall energy and mood!
Thyroid healing with an integrative approach
We have found the best path for treating thyroid disorders is integrated, with input from both modern medical science and holistic practices, and using the power of natural herbal medicine. The body has an amazing ability to receive plant medicines and use them to correct itself, to reverse illness, and find relief from autoimmune and other complicated disorders with less pharmaceutical medications and sometimes without the need for pharmaceuticals at all.
To explore this treatment approach yourself, find a functional medicine practitioner. Look for a Traditional Chinese Medical clinic like ours, or another integrative medical MD or practitioner that incorporates functional medicine with medical lab testing. And most importantly, look for a practitioner that uses herbal medicine as a key piece of their treatment strategy.
Noa Lynne Sutherland, MSAOM, LAc
Zoi Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine Owner and Clinical Director