Ayurveda perspective of Goitre
Goitre in medical terminology refers to an enlargement of the thyroid gland which results in the pain / swelling of the throat region and is very much inconvenient for the patient. Though it is non-cancerous in nature and also at times it can be painless in nature, but its to be noted that if the colloid nodules becomes too large or protruding in appearance, then it starts causing difficulty in swallowing and breathing leading to medical emergency protocols and so such a condition must not be ignored while being in early stages. The disease is more prevalent amongst females and in people above the age of 50. Goitre may or may not be associated with the actual thyroid dysfunction i.e. hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism so a detailed medical differential diagnosis is a must to confirm the diseased condition. In Ayurveda science, goitre is known as ‘galaganda’ and we shall here share more details in same regards for your easy reference and knowledge purposes.
As per ayurveda principles – Galganda is classified into vataj, kaphaj and medoj
- Vataj galaganda is somwehat black in colour, often accompanied with pain and is also evident with dryness & tastelessness in throat / mouth.
- Kaphaj galaganda is usually very large in size and protrudence, cold in sensitivity, presenting with very little pain and a sweet taste in the mouth.
- Medoj galaganda is very much unctuous, white in colour, presenting with a distinct offensive odour and may cause difficulty in speech with an oily taste in the mouth. This type of goitre is certainly the most inconvenient for patient as almost all the time, patient feels very bad with regards the taste prevailing in the mouth.
In Ayurveda, goitre is generally known as “Galaganda.” It refers to the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, leading to a visible swelling in the neck. Ayurveda views goitre as a disorder related to the imbalances in specific doshas, particularly Kapha and Vata. Let’s explore the Ayurvedic understanding of goitre in detail:
Ayurvedic Understanding of Goitre (Galaganda):
1. Dosha Imbalance:
- Kapha Imbalance: Goitre is often associated with an aggravated Kapha dosha. Kapha governs the structures and lubrication in the body, and its excess can lead to the accumulation of fluids and enlargement of tissues, including the thyroid gland.
- Vata Imbalance: In some cases, Vata dosha involvement may contribute to the irregular growth patterns and disturbed metabolism in the thyroid gland.
2. Dhatu and Srotas Involvement:
- Meda Dhatu (Adipose Tissue): The imbalance in Kapha dosha affects Meda Dhatu, leading to the deposition of fatty tissues and enlargement of the thyroid.
- Majja Dhatu (Bone Marrow): Goitre may also impact Majja Dhatu, as the thyroid gland is in close proximity to the neck bones.
3. Agni (Digestive Fire) Impairment:
- Jatharagni (Digestive Fire): Ayurveda emphasizes the role of impaired digestive fire in the manifestation of goitre. A weakened digestive fire may lead to the accumulation of toxins (ama) and aggravate Kapha dosha.
4. Srotas (Channels) Blockage:
- Rasa and Rakta Srotas: Ayurveda considers the involvement of Rasa and Rakta Srotas, the channels responsible for nutrient and blood circulation. An imbalance in these channels can lead to the accumulation of excess substances in the thyroid gland.
5. Mala (Waste Products) Accumulation:
- Mutravaha Srotas: The improper elimination of waste products, particularly in the urinary system (Mutravaha Srotas), can contribute to the accumulation of impurities and impact the thyroid gland.
6. Lifestyle and Environmental Factors:
- Improper Diet: Consuming Kapha-aggravating foods, such as dairy products, excessive sweets, and fried foods, may contribute to the imbalance.
- Environmental Toxins: Exposure to environmental toxins, pollutants, and certain waterborne impurities may also play a role in the development of goitre.
Ayurvedic Approach to Goitre Management:
1. Dietary Recommendations:
- Kapha-Pacifying Diet: Emphasizing warm, light, and easily digestible foods. Avoidance of heavy, cold, and sweet foods is recommended.
- Herbs: Incorporating herbs like Guggul, Trikatu (a combination of Ginger, Black Pepper, and Long Pepper), and Punarnava to balance doshas and support thyroid function.
2. Lifestyle Modifications:
- Regular Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity to balance Kapha and improve metabolism.
- Yoga and Pranayama: Practices like Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and Ujjayi Pranayama can be beneficial in supporting thyroid health.
3. Herbal Supplements:
- Kanchanara Guggulu: A classical Ayurvedic formulation containing Kanchanara (Bauhinia variegata) and Guggulu (Commiphora wightii), known for its detoxifying and thyroid-supportive properties.
4. Panchakarma (Detoxification):
- Vamana and Virechana: Therapeutic emesis and purgation to eliminate excess Kapha and toxins.
- Nasya: Administration of medicated oils through the nasal route to balance doshas in the head and neck region.
5. Ayurvedic Medications:
- Varuna (Crataeva nurvala) and Punarnava (Boerhavia diffusa): These herbs are traditionally used for their diuretic and detoxifying properties.
- Triphala Churna: A combination of three fruits (Amalaki, Haritaki, Bibhitaki) known for their detoxifying and digestive benefits.
6. Consultation with an Ayurvedic Practitioner:
- Individualized Approach: Treatment is tailored based on an individual’s constitution (Prakriti), current imbalances (Vikriti), and the severity of symptoms.
- Regular Follow-ups: Ayurvedic practitioners may recommend periodic assessments to monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.
It’s important to note that Ayurvedic management of goitre should be carried out under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. Individual variations and the holistic approach of Ayurveda make it crucial to consider a person’s unique constitution and imbalances for effective and personalized treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional for comprehensive and integrative care.