Natural treatments for gout

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

This summary of natural remedies for gout should not substitute for a visit to see a rheumatologist who can offer a comprehensive treatment program. Gout, particularly chronic gout, needs to be treated aggressively because of its potentially damaging effects on the kidneys and joints.

It is important to stay well-hydrated in order to prevent attacks of gout. This will prevent the uric acid from becoming too concentrated and inhibit uric acid crystallization. Uric acid crystallizes and forms stones in an acidic environment. One way to prevent this is by alkalinizing the urine or making it more basic. Lemon juice stimulates the formation of calcium carbonate, which neutralizes acids like uric acid. Therefore, drinking freshly squeezed lemon in a glass of water after meals can prevent a gouty attack. Baking soda can also help alkalinize the urine.

Alfalfa is a good source of minerals and other nutrients that help reduce serum uric acid.

Apple cider vinegar is an old time remedy still favored by many. Add some rose hips to vinegar and boil; dab on affected area. You may need to apply this mixture several times a day for a few weeks. The vinegar changes the blood pH so that the crystals will go into solution and be excreted.

• Mix two teaspoons each of apple cider vinegar and raw honey in a glass of water and drink at mealtime.
• Soak the foot in a mixture of ½ cup of the vinegar and three cups of hot water.

Bilberry is high in anthocyanosides and flavanoids, which are helpful in relieving the finflammation of gout.

Black cherry juice The best way to take this is to get some natural, concentrated black cherry juice and drink several tablespoons of the concentrate daily. You should expect relief in 48 hours.

Black cohash changes blood acidity and may be useful.

Blueberries are high in anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory and help ease the pain of gout.

A couple of other natural ingredients to know about are bromelain and quercitin. Bromelain also helps reduce the inflammation. Quercitin can be taken with bromelani to improve its absorption. Bromelain, by itself, can act as an anti-inflammatory and in turn contributes to the improved absorption of quercitin.

Buchu tea helps dissolve and “flush out” uric acid crystals.

Castor oil packs Soak a piece of white flannel in warm castor oil, wring it out and place it over the affected area; cover with plastic wrap and apply a heating pad. Do this for one hour twice daily. Do not do this over an open wound!

Cayenne pepper can block the effects of substance P, a neurotransmitter that is released with pain syndromes. It can be boiled in vinegar and water and applied onto the painful joint. It can also be mixed with wintergreen oil to make a paste and subsequently applied to the affected area.

Boil one tablespoon of pepper in 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water and dab onto the painful joint.

Mix cayenne with enough wintergreen oil to make a paste and apply to the affected area.

Celery seeds These seeds are quite effective in relieving gout by eliminating uric acid from the body. According to James Duke, Ph.D., a medical botanist formerly with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, celery seeds contain about twenty different anti-inflammatory agents. Recommended dosage is 500 mg (standardized to 450 mg of celery seed extract) 2x daily. Note: This remedy is not to be used by pregnant women because of its diuretic effect and the fact that it can encourage uterine contractions, or those with kidney disease because of its potential diuretic effect. Some people say that the plant's oils can aggravate kidney inflammation.

Cook a tablespoon of celery seeds in two cups of water until they are soft; strain and drink 1/2 cup four times a day.

Charcoal Take ½-1 teaspoon of activated charcoal daily. Why this works is still unknown.

Make a poultice using ½ cup of activated charcoal, 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and warm water to draw out the toxins.

Cherries can lower plasma uric acid levels. They contain flavanoid compounds that may lower uric acid and reduce inflammation. Flavanoids called anthocyanins, often found in purple and blue colored berries, help to block the effects of enzymes that cause tissue inflammation. Anthocyanins can therefore prevent and treat many kinds of pain. A study done at the University of California at Davis by Jacob et. al entitled "Consumption of Cherries Lowers Plasma Urate in Healthy Women" proved this hypothesis and also showed that there was a decrease in serum urate after cherry consumption. This remedy was reported in 1950 by Dr. Ludwig W. Blau who cured his own gout. Frozen and canned cherries may also be used. When you feel an attack coming on, eat 20-30 cherries immediately. Cherries are rich in compounds that prevent the destruction of collagen, which the body uses to form connective tissue. The connective tissue is damaged by gout. Cherries also have an enzyme that neutralizes uric acid and are high in anthocyanins which have high antioxidant properties as well as anti-inflammatory action. For greatest effectiveness eat them between meals.

Devil's claw reduces uric acid levels and is a natural cleansing agent for toxic impurities. Take 400 mg of the dried extract 3x a day for as long as desired.

DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) is very effective in relieving pain and swelling caused by inflammation. It helps dissolve crystalline deposits. This is also a very controversial topic. It can be toxic… so beware.

Garlic Eat several cloves of raw garlic daily. Mince the garlic and add it to black cherry juice for a potent remedy.

Ginger Put 1/3 cup of ground ginger (buy in bulk) in a bathtub of water and soak for 30 minutes. This will cause you to sweat (a good thing) which will help eliminate the uric acid from your tissues. When you are finished the bath, rinse off thoroughly, as the ginger can cause skin irritation if it dries on your skin.

Grapes contain a substance that neutralizes the acidity of uric acid and aid in its elimination from the body.

Hawthorn is high in anthocyanosides and flavanoids, which are helpful in overcoming the inflammation of gout.

Hydrangea is an anti-inflammatory.

Ice Apply an ice pack for ten minutes, then alternate with a moist hot-towel compress, to soothe and numb the pain.

Mullein Soak mullein leaves in a hot vinegar/water mixture. Pack the leaves on the affected area.

Nettle contains alkaloids which help to neutralize uric acid.

Parsley acts as a natural diuretic.

Quercetin, another flavanoid, can be added as a supplement to decrease uric acid levels. Quercetin inhibits uric acid production in a similar fashion to commonly prescribed drugs for gout. Take 1000 mg of quercetin along with 1,000-1,500 mg of the enzyme bromelain (to enhance absorption) two to three times daily between meals.

Red clover has traditionally been one of the standard remedies for gout, as well as removing toxins from the body, and treating psoriasis, eczema, and hot flashes. Studies have shown that red clover may thin the blood, so it should not be used by patients who are also taking an anticoagulant medication. Red clover is high in isoflavones.

Saffron reduces uric acid buildup.

Spearmint Make a poultice of spearmint leaves and wrap the affected area.

Strawberries Eating a cup of strawberries with each meal should bring quick relief. They neutralize uric acid.

Yarrow Make a tea by using equal parts of yarrow and stinging nettles; strain, cool and drink several cups a day.

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