Alternative Medicine for Graves Disease

Instructor: Amy Couture

Amy has a master's degree in nursing and has taught nursing students at the college level.

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that results in overproduction of thyroid hormones. This lesson discusses some of the alternative medicine choices for this disorder.

What is Graves Disease?

June is being seen by her doctor to talk more about her recent diagnosis of Graves disease. Her doctor explains to her again that Grave's disease causes the thyroid gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. He describes this as an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues and causes disease. The doctor explains how June has experienced such symptoms as weight loss, heat intolerance, chest palpitations, shortness or breath, irregular menstrual periods, muscle weakness, and vision difficulties because of this disease.

Alternative Medicine for Graves Disease

June wants to know if there is any alternative medicine to help treat Graves disease. The doctor informs her that there are some things she can do such as changing her diet, reducing stress, exercising, quitting smoking, and treating sensitivity of the eyes and skin. Following are some of the things June can do to address her condition:

Eat an Anti-inflammatory Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet helps reduce inflammation and increase immune function. The doctor tells June she should stay away from the following foods since they are capable of aggravating Graves disease:

  • dairy products
  • gluten
  • added sugar
  • artificial flavorings

June hears about the foods that she should consume more of. They are:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • herbs such as rosemary, basil, and oregano
  • tumeric, ginger, and garlic
  • bone broth
  • omega-3's healthy fats
  • probiotics

Fruits and vegetables are food choices included in an anti-inflammatory diet.
Fruits and vegetables

Reduce Stress

The doctor tells June that stress aggravates thyroid disease, so she should try stress-relieving practices throughout her day. He suggests meditation, prayer, spending time outdoors, using essential oils, massage therapy, or volunteering for a good cause.


June informs the doctor that she does not exercise on a regular basis. The doctor tells her to start exercising daily because this controls stress and reduces inflammation as long as she does not overdo it. The doctor suggests walking, low impact aerobics, yoga, and body weight exercise.

Exercise helps control stress and reduce inflammation.

No smoking

The doctor is happy to hear that June does not smoke, but he warns her that exposure to tobacco or recreational drugs is known to be a trigger for autoimmune disorders like Graves disease. The toxins in these cigarettes and drugs spur inflammation and activate the immune system. June assures him she will avoid these substances.

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