How The Herb Eleuthero Can Benefit People With Hyperthyroidism and Graves Disease

Published June 11 2012

When I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, one of the herbs I took was Eleuthero, which is also known as Siberian Ginseng.  This herb can help people to greatly deal with the stress, which is a big factor with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid disorders.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that stress was one of the main factors which contributed to the development of my condition.

Of course taking Eleuthero by itself wasn’t responsible for restoring my health back to normal.  In addition to taking other herbs, I also greatly improved my stress handling skills.  I primarily did this by changing my mindset, eating well, and exercising regularly.  Other people need to incorporate different stress handling techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or in some cases biofeedback.  In any case, Eleuthero can be another “tool” which can help a person better deal with the stresses of daily life until they are able to manage it on their own.

In addition to helping people better deal with the stress in their life, Eleuthero also has other benefits.  It helps to enhance the immune system, which can benefit people with compromised immune systems.  This of course is the case with autoimmune thyroid conditions, such as Graves’ Disease.  I almost always will give other supplements and herbs to focus on improving the health of the immune system, but Eleuthero can also help in this area.

How Long Should Someone Take Eleuthero?

So this herb is not something one would want to take on a continuous basis, although there is nothing wrong with taking it for a number of months consecutively.  Although some claim that it shouldn’t be taken longer than 6 weeks without a two week break, while other sources claim it shouldn’t be taken for longer than three months, there is no research I know of that shows it can’t be taken longer than this.  This is reinforced by Kerry Bone, who is an herbalist with many years of experience, and whose opinion I trust dearly.  As a result, I frequently give it to my patients for five or six months consecutively, and sometimes longer than this.

This doesn’t mean that this herb is completely safe under any set of circumstances.  Although most of the time Eleuthero can be taken by those with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease without a problem, there are times when it is contraindicated.  One of those times is during an acute infection.  Some claim that it should also be avoided in those who have hypertension, although other studies contradict this claim, and even state that it can be used to treat high blood pressure.  So far I haven’t noticed any adverse effects in my patients with high blood pressure who take Eleuthero.

Although the herb seems to be safe during pregnancy and lactation, just as is the case with any herb I would exercise caution.  This is especially true when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.  Even though it hasn’t been shown that taken Eleuthero during pregnancy will cause an increased in malformation or other harmful effects, one also needs to keep in mind that there really isn’t a lot of research in this area.  But if one decides to take this herb while pregnant or breastfeeding, I would definitely seek the advice of a competent natural doctor, who most likely will recommend a very small dosage.

Pay Attention To The Quality Of The Herb

Of course the effectiveness of any herb depends on its quality.  When it comes to Eleuthero, the part of the plant you want to take is the root.  Where it is obtained also seems to be a big factor, as according to Kerry Bone, this herb in China is chemically different than the herb in Russia.  As a result, Eleuthero from Russia may have “increased therapeutic activity” when compared to the herb from China.

This is why I’m very cautious about where I get any herbs from.  Most people don’t worry about the quality, as they will read this information and then either try to find this herb online at the cheapest price they can find, or perhaps they will visit their local health food store.  While some people will get lucky and obtain a good quality brand, other people won’t get a good quality herb, and thus won’t receive optimal results from taking it.  My goal here isn’t to promote a specific company, but only to make you aware that not all companies are the same.

So hopefully you have a better understanding of the benefits of taking Eleuthero.  I personally took it when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, and many of my patients with hyperthyroid conditions also take this herb.  When taken under the guidance of a competent healthcare professional, and when combined with modification of lifestyle factors, this herb can greatly help someone to better manage the stress in their life.