Note: Do consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Use home remedies just as an adjunct treatment.
In simple terms, goiter means the enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is located in your neck. However, the presence of a goiter does not mean that the thyroid is malfunctioning.
A goiter can occur in a gland that is producing too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone (hypothyroidism). Basically, a goiter gives an indication that there is something wrong and causing the thyroid gland to grow abnormally.
Iodine deficiency is the main cause of goiters. In fact, 90 percent of cases are due to iodine deficiency. Other possible causes are Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, inflammation of the thyroid, nodules, thyroid cancer, pregnancy and adverse drug reactions.
Anyone can develop goiter, but people who have a family history of thyroid disease are at higher risk. Women older than 40 or who are going through menopause are also more prone to developing goiters. Radiation exposure can also trigger this problem.
Not all goiters cause symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they often include noticeable swelling in the neck, difficulty swallowing or breathing, coughing, hoarseness in the voice and a tight feeling in the throat.
Many goiters disappear with treatment, which varies depending on the size and condition of the goiter as well as the symptoms associated with it. Along with medications, there are many simple home remedies that can help treat goiter and eliminate the symptoms. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking these remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for goiter.
Iodine deficiency is one of the primary causes of goiter. To treat goiter, eat a diet that contains adequate iodine. For adults, the recommended dose of iodine is 150 micrograms daily.
To replenish iodine in your body, include iodine-rich foods in your diet, such as iodized salt, kale, seafood, cod fish, tuna, eggs, shrimp, turkey, natural yogurt, cow’s milk, navy beans, baked potato with the skin and cranberries.
Note: At times, goiter can also be caused by excessive iodine. So, make sure you consult your doctor before increasing your iodine intake.
Kelp, a kind of seaweed, can also help treat goiter. Its high iodine content helps normalize thyroid functioning. It also has potassium, calcium, magnesium and iron. You can easily find dried or pickled kelp in natural food stores and Asian markets.
- As kelp is salty in taste, you can use it in place of salt in soup, salad and other dishes.
- Add one to two tablespoons of dried kelp powder to any of your favorite smoothies and have it once daily.
- You can also take kelp in capsule form, but you must first consult your doctor.
Watercress is an excellent source of iodine and hence it is considered very effective for treating goiter. Plus, it is high in other minerals and nutrients like sulfur, germanium and antioxidants that are beneficial for your thyroid gland.
- Grind a handful of watercress to make paste. Apply this paste on your neck where there is swelling. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it off. Do this daily for at least 10 days.
- Alternatively, mix two tablespoons of watercress juice in half a glass of water. Drink it three times daily for six weeks.
According to Ayurveda, the leaves of dandelion can decrease the swelling on the neck and relieve the discomfort associated with goiter.
- Take two to three dandelion leaves and smear them with clarified butter on one side. Warm the leaves gently and then put them onto the goiter. Secure with a tape or bandage and leave it on for a few hours.
- Another option is to crush a handful of dandelion leaves to make a paste. Add two teaspoons of clarified butter into the paste and mix well. Gently heat the mixture and then apply it on the affected area. Leave it on for 15 minutes.
You can use either of these remedies once or twice daily for about two weeks.
Kanchanar, botanically called Bauhinia variegate, is a popular Ayurvedic remedy for goiter, nodules and other types of growth on the neck. It also detoxifies the lymphatic system.
- Boil 10 to 15 grams of powdered bark of this herb in 160 ml (two-third cup) of water over medium heat.
- Turn off the heat when the solution reduces to about 40 ml or a quarter of the original amount.
- Strain the solution and drink it once or twice daily half an hour before meals.
- Continue this natural treatment for two to three months.
Note: Consult your doctor before taking this or any other herbal remedy.
Garlic can also be used to treat goiter. It stimulates the production of glutathione in the body, which is essential for healthy thyroid functioning. Also, it can help reduce the swelling in the neck.
- Chew three to four raw garlic cloves daily in the morning. You can also add garlic to your dishes.
- If you do not like the taste of garlic, you can take garlic supplements. Consult your doctor for proper dosage.
7. Sorrel Leaves
Sorrel leaves are rich in minerals like iodine and thus help to treat as well as prevent goiter.
- Make a paste of a handful of sorrel leaves.
- Mix two tablespoons of olive oil into the paste.
- Lie down and apply this paste on the swollen neck area.
- Leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.
- Follow this remedy once daily until the swelling is gone.
8. Green Tea
Many herbalists also recommend drinking green tea on daily basis to cure goiter. Green tea is full of antioxidants and contains a high amount of natural fluoride, which helps support healthy thyroid functioning. Drinking green tea daily can also prevent goiter.
- Put one teaspoon of green tea leaves in a cup and pour hot water over them.
- Cover and steep for five minutes.
- Strain, add some honey and mix well.
- Drink this green tea at least three times a day.
9. Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm is another herb known to help treat goiter and hyperthyroidism. It slows down the functioning of the pituitary gland and lowers the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which in turn helps treat as well as prevent goiter.
It is also high in selenium and thus helps regulate thyroid functioning as well as increasing antioxidant levels.
- Put two tablespoons of dried lemon balm or two teaspoons of fresh lemon balm in a cup.
- Pour hot water in the cup, cover and steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain and mix in one to two teaspoons of honey.
- Drink this herbal tea three times a day.
Note: Those suffering from glaucoma should avoid lemon balm.
10. Selenium-rich Foods
The thyroid gland needs selenium to function optimally. Selenium deficiency can make your thyroid heavy and worsen your condition. So, it is important to eat selenium-rich foods on a daily basis. These foods will help in the production of thyroid hormone and treat goiter.
Some foods that are rich in selenium are kidney, liver, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, shellfish, crab, onions, salmon, tuna, mushrooms, wheat germ, barley, brown rice, oats, meats, poultry, eggs and fatty fish.
- Limit your intake of goitrogenic foods like radishes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower and soybeans.
- Take a cold shower twice daily to stimulate the thyroid gland and help it work properly.
- Avoid processed foods, soy products and beverages like coffee, alcohol and soda.
- Exercise regularly and include neck stretches and exercises specific to goiter.
- Eat several small meals instead of a heavy meal. This will allow the body to better absorb all the nutrients.
- Take vitamin B-complex after consulting your doctor.
- When cooking, use coconut oil to speed up the recovery time.
- Drink a glass of barley water once a day to reduce the symptoms of goiter.
- Drink filtered rather than tap water.
- You can also use massage therapy for treating goiter. Techniques like reflexology and acupuncture can also give you relief from some goiter symptoms.