Related Terms

Overactive Thyroid; Grave's Disease; Thyroid Hormone, Excess; Thyrotoxicosis

The thyroid is a gland in the front of the neck. It is shaped like a butterfly. It makes hormones that control the pace of the things your body does. Hyperthyroidism is when it makes too much. This can cause your body to speed up. You may have problems like a racing heart, sweating, shaking, problems sleeping, and muscle weakness.

Treatment depends on what is causing the problem. You will need medicines. Untreated hyperthyroidism may lead to problems with your heart, bones, muscles, and fertility. Some people may need surgery to remove the thyroid if medicines don’t help.

Natural Therapies

May Be Effective

  • Chinese herbal medicine—may provide benefit A1
  • Iodine during antithyroid drug therapy —may lower recurrence rates A2, A5
  • Potassium iodide —may improve short term control of Graves’ hyperthyroidism when used with standard care A2
  • Yingliu —may improve thyroid function when used with standard care A4

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.


Herbs and Supplements

A1. Zen XX, Yuan Y, et al. Chinese herbal medicines for hyperthyroidism. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007 Apr 18;(2):CD005450.

A2. Takata K, Amino N, et al. Benefit of short-term iodide supplementation to antithyroid drug treatment of thyrotoxicosis due to Graves' disease. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Jun;72(6):845-850.

A3. Kahaly GJ, Riedl M, et al. Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial of Selenium in Graves Hyperthyroidism. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 1;102(11):4333-4341.

A4. Yang H, Cong Y, et al. Clinical efficacy of Yingliu mixture combined with metimazole for treating diffuse goitre with hyperthyroidism and its impact on related cytokines. Pharm Biol. 2017 Dec;55(1):258-263.

A5. Huang H, Shi Y, et al. Optimal iodine supplementation during antithyroid drug therapy for Graves' disease is associated with lower recurrence rates than iodine restriction. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2018 Mar;88(3):473-478.

Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
Last Updated: 5/26/2020

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