The roles of thyroid glands in different functions of the body have been well explained such that hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can impair the metabolism and normal functions of the body’s tissues. Recently, using medicinal plants and their active compounds in treating diseases has attracted attention, and the people’s tendency to use these compounds, which are considered to be low risk and to cause no side effect, is increasing. Because changes in the levels of thyroid hormones have considerable effects on body physiology and play a substantial role in the pathogenesis of different diseases, it is necessary to conduct further studies on hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism and also the effects of plants and their compounds on thyroid hormone secretion rates. This review was conducted to present the information on thyroid hormones, as metabolism‑regulating agents, and their association with different diseases as well as the effects of plant‑based active compounds on changes in the hormone levels of the pituitary–thyroid axis in hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Results indicated that disrupted serum levels of the thyroid hormones lead to increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, menstrual disorders, and kidney disease. The most important effective compounds on these hormones include flavonoids, coumarins, alkaloids, minerals, essential oil components, such as terpinene, gamma‑terpinene, and limonene, and antioxidant compounds that directly influence thyroid and change serum levels of the thyroid hormones through inhibiting thyroid peroxidase. Other mechanisms of change in thyroid hormone levels by plant‑based compounds are related to decrease in lipoxygenase activity and increase in the activities of catalase and dismutase. It can therefore be argued that using medicinal plants and their compounds can be a novel and efficient approach to develop drugs for thyroid diseases.
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