Goitre refers to a swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck. Women are more prone to this disease than men.
Causes and Symptoms
The initial symptoms of goitre may be emotional upsets which gradually increase in duration. Other symptoms which appear subsequently are loss of power of concentration, irritability, and depression. The thyroid gland may swell but this has no relation to the severity of the ailment.
Deficiency of iodine in the diet is the most common cause of goitre. The thyroid gland makes use of organic iodine in its secretion and a diet deficient in organic iodine is a predisposing factor towards the appearance of this disease, especially under physical and emotional disturbances. Goitre gradually affects those who habitually live on denatured foods and not those who eat much of their food in a raw or uncooked state.
Iodine: Iodine is, undoubtedly, most helpful in many cases, but it should be given in its organic form. All foods containing iodine should be taken liberally. These are lettuce, turnips, carrots, garlic, onions, oats, pineapples, whole rice, tomatoes, watercress, strawberries, guavas, citrus fruits, egg yolks, and sea foods.
Watercress: Watercress is one of the best sources of the element iodine. It is valuable in correcting the functioning of the thyroid gland. Its regular use, therefore, is highly beneficial in the prevention and treatment of goitre. A paste made of this vegetable can also be applied beneficially over the affected parts. It helps to reduce swelling.
Swamp Cabbage: The leaves of swamp cabbage are useful in expothalinic goitre. A teaspoon of the juice with tea almonds should be given once or twice daily as a medicine. The leaves are also useful in myxodema, a condition that results from lack of thyroid hormones.
Kachnar: Kachnar, botanically known as Rauhinia variegata, has been used as a folk medicine for goitre in India. About 30 ml of the decoction of the bark should be given twice a day in the morning on an empty stomach.
Dandelion: Dandelion has been found valuable in goitre. The leaves of this salad vegetable should be smeared with ghee, warmed and bandaged over the swollen parts for about two weeks. Any existing discomfort will be relieved by this remedy.
Flex: The seeds of flex are also useful in reducing swellings in goitre. The seeds should be ground in water, heated and applied over the affected parts. The leaves of the tree should then be bandaged over them.
To begin with, the patient should take juices of fruits such as oranges, apples, pineapples, and grapes every two or three hours for five days. After the juice fast, the patient may spend the next three days on fruits and milk, taking three meals a day of juicy fruits with a glass of milk, at five-hourly intervals. Certain foods and fluids are extremely injurious for goitre patients and should be avoided by them. These include white flour products, white sugar, flesh foods, fried or greasy foods, preserves, condiments, tea, coffee, and alcohol.
For the first five days of the treatment the bowels should be cleansed daily with lukewarm water. The patient should take plenty of rest and spend a day in bed every week for the first two months of the treatment. More and more physical exercise should be taken after the symptoms subside.