Natural Solutions for Gout

Natural solutions for Gout

Hi Annie, I have a friend that suffers from gout. She is having a flare up now. Do you have any suggestions that might help? 

Hello, I’m sorry your friend is having trouble. Gout is a terribly painful condition. Let us start by investigating the problem of gout, along with its symptoms and causes. Then we will explore natural therapies for healing and prevention.

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    About Gout

    Gout is caused by an over abundance of uric acid in the system.  The build up begins with purines, a natural substance contained in almost all our food and drink. 

    Some people have trouble metabolizing purines, upsetting the balance between the production and excretion of uric acid. This disruption can cause uric acid to build up in the blood stream, a condition called Hyperuricemia. It is estimated that about 1 in 20 people with hyperuricemia develop gout.

    The condition of Gout is a buildup of uric acid crystals in one or more joints. Microscopic, needle-like crystals, made up of monosodium urate collect in soft tissue causing excruciating pain, swelling, redness and warmth.

    Gout in the big toe

    Symptoms of Gout

    • Single joint affected – Usually, gout flares occur in only one joint, often the big toe joint. But, like most things, health or biologically related, that is not always true. Although less common, the pain and inflammation of gout can impact more than one joint at a time. Other common joints affected include the instep of the foot, heel, the ankle and knee. Less often gout may impact the fingers, wrist, elbow, and spine.
    • Rapid pain onset – Gout strikes quickly and severely without warning. Usually, the worst pain and inflammation is reached within 24 hours of onset, sometimes faster. It is not uncommon for flares to occur in the middle of the night, with the individual waking up with a feeling of the big toe on fire.
    • Intense pain – The pain is described “like being constantly stabbed by hot knives.

    • Tenderness – the area may be so tender than even a light touch or blanket resting on the joint brings is excruciating.
    • Severe swelling of the area or joint affected.
    • Skin turns red and warm to the touch.
    • Flu like symptoms – Some folks experience flu like symptoms including fever, tiredness and bodily aches and pains.
    • Short duration – Flares typically lasts about 10 to 14 days. Most will self-resolve even without treatment.
    • Recurring – Gout is frequently a recurring problem that comes and goes.

    Risk Factors

    • Men or more likely than women to develop gout.
    • Genetics – 6% to 18% have a family history of gout
    • Obesity
    • Over consumption of Alcohol (especially beer) – alcohol interferes with the elimination of uric acid.
    • Exposure to lead
    • Enzyme deficiency
    • Some medications cause difficulty processing purines and eliminating uric acid like pharmaceutical diuretics, medications that contain salicylates (like aspirin), the vitamin niacin, cyclosporine (a medication taken to prevent rejection in organ transplant) and more.
    • Eating foods that are high in purines, like organ meats, meat gravies, sea food, wild game and red meat.
    • Rapid weight loss diets may increase uric acid levels in the blood.

    Natural Approaches to Gout

    Two separate approaches are indicated from a holistic perspective. 

    1. Prevent flare-ups by lowering uric acid levels, taking in fewer purines, and enhancing the body’s ability to both metabolize purines and excrete uric acid.
    2. Address the pain, inflammation, and sensitivity when a flare-up occurs, while helping the body flush out or eliminate the built-up uric acid.

    Gout Flare-up Prevention

    From the lens of a holistic healer or herbalist, the symptoms, and actual condition of gout, is a symptom caused by the buildup of uric acid. If we can address what is causing purines and uric acid to build up in the system, the gout may not re-occur. That does not mean that an individual with a history of gout becomes immune or is not predisposed. It means that with mindful lifestyle choices, they may not have, or may experience, considerably fewer flare-ups.   

    First, let us look at each person individually. Are there any other symptoms that may or may not seem related?  For example, is there difficult digestion, or acid reflux?  If so, there may be an enzyme deficiency.  Were they exposed to lead?  If so, they may need to address a build up of heavy metals in their system.  The diet will need to be addressed in all cases, as will alcohol consumption.  Medications are a little harder.  Each situation needs to be looked at individually in terms of the whole person.

    Diet

    In general, a whole grain, plant-based diet is recommended. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid sugary foods and beverages, high-fructose corn syrup in any form, food preservatives and sweet fruit juices. Here are some more complete dietary suggestions by the Mayo Clinic, and a weekly dietary suggestion guild by goutbye.org.

    Eat Cherries

    Studies show that consuming cherry products significantly lowered the rate of gout flare-ups. Additionally, the results of these studies, spanned all sub-groups including age, sex, obesity status, purine intake, alcohol use, diuretic use, and use of antigout medications. Findings showed that eating ½ cup of fresh or frozen tart cherries (10-12 cherries), or 1 cup of tart cherry juice per day made a difference in uric acid levels within 48 hours.

    sour cherries for gout

    Skin Brushing

    Uric acid crystals are excreted in perspiration, accumulating on the skin. Dry brushing skin with a soft brush in the morning, before showering, removes uric acid crystals that can cause gout and kidney stones. Further it helps cleanse and purify the kidneys, as well as stimulates lymph movement and the removal of toxins from the whole system.  Here is a great video about the benefits and techniques of skin brushing.

    Drink plenty of water

    Uric acid crystals are excreted in perspiration, accumulating on the skin. Dry brushing skin with a soft brush in the morning, before showering, removes uric acid crystals that can cause gout and kidney stones. Further it helps cleanse and purify the kidneys, as well as stimulates lymph movement and the removal of toxins from the whole system.  Here is a great video about the benefits and techniques of skin brushing.

    Natural Suggestions During a Gout flare-up

    During the intense pain and inflammation of an active gout flare-up, we will want to decrease the pain, and inflammation by using anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic herbs. We will also use diuretic herbs to alkalize the system as we flush excess urates. 

    Drink water for Gout

    Help is in the Kitchen

    Baking Soda

    Sometimes the simplest things make a huge difference. Baking soda can alkalize the system, helping to bring relief to gout symptoms. Mix ½ teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup water. Add a few lemon slices and drink 3 to 4 cups per day.

    Garlic

    A powerful anti-inflammatory, garlic is also diuretic (increasing the output of urine) and diaphoretic (increasing elimination of toxins through perspiration.) Best used fresh, peel and chop a clove of garlic, leave it set for about 5 minutes and eat up to three times per day.

    Castor Oil

    Castor oil is a great anti-inflammatory that helps break up congestion and stagnation anywhere in the body. To help relieve the pain and inflammation of gout, apply warm oil to the affected joint. If your level of sensitivity allows, soak a soft cloth in Castor oil and wrap around the gouty area, covering it with a piece of plastic wrap. This is best done at night but can be done up to 3 times per day. Again, depending upon your personal level of comfort/discomfort, a heating pad (on low) may be placed over the castor pack for up to 90 minutes.

    Epsom Salts

    Epsom salts in a bath helps the body excrete excess uric acid (and other toxins) through the skin. It is also relaxing and anti-inflammatory.

    Herbal Suggestions for Gout Relief

    Below are a few of my favorite herbs for the treatment of gout. This is not a complete list, as many other herbs may be used to increase urine output, flush the kidneys, reduce uric acid levels, and reduce pain and inflammation. 

    Remember, a lot depends on the individual and their unique situation. For example, if someone has been exposed to heavy metals, and has gout, I might suggest Dandelion, Burdock, Red Clover and or Yellow Dock Root because they not are not only specific for gout but are also helpful removing heavy metals from the body. Each person is unique, with their own history, and circumstances. In herbal medicine we work with the person, not the “illness.”

    Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)

    A powerful diuretic that helps lower inflammation, celery seeds are mainly used in the treatment of gout, arthritis, and rheumatism. Two separate studies showed that Celery Seed extract decreased gouty inflammation in rats and mice while successfully lowering blood uric acid levels. Celery Seed is also used to treat edema or swellings with spasms. It is used to help with chronic kidney and urinary infections of a cold, stagnant nature. It is considered especially useful when arthritis symptoms are accompanied by mental depression.

    Celery seed for gout

    Celery Seed extract can be taken daily as a tonic to decrease hyperuricemia or elevated uric acid, hopefully preventing gout re-occurrences. For this purpose, Celery Seed mixes well with Dandelion.

    To make Celery Seed tea, infuse 1 or 2 teaspoons freshly crushed Celery seeds in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and drink 3 times per day. The tincture (1-4 ml) or standardized extract may also be used.

    Gravel Root (Eupatorium purpureum)

    With Diuretic, antilithic (dispels stones) and antirheumatic properties, Gravel Root is used in formula as an assisting herb to reduce built up uric acid, clear crystals, and stones via the urinary tract, and decrease inflammation in cases of rheumatism and gout. Gravel Root is best taken in warm water to hot water and can be taken by tea or tincture. It is for short-term use only.

    Gravel root for gour

    Nettles (Urtica dioica)

    One of my favorite herbs, Nettle leaf, is a remedy for debility when the system needs to get moving again. Nettles are a general cleanser, activator and nutritive agent that removes uric acid wastes from the body. Nettles is very handy in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, urinary gravel, and skin rashes like eczema.  

    In the case of gout and high uric acid, the recommended dose is 10 to 15 drops of the leaf tincture or ¼ cup of the infusion every 2 hours.

    Prickly Ash (Zanthoxylum americanum)

    Nettle seed tincture for HPV

    The bark of the Prickly Ash is a relaxing diuretic with anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic activity. For our purpose of relieving gout, it acts to stimulate peripheral circulation, relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and reduces fluid stagnation. Prickly Ash helps clear the system of built-up toxins, including uric acid, while helping replenish, strengthen, and stimulate healthy metabolic function. It is especially indicated for chronic gout. 

    Herbal Recipes for Gout Relief

    Gout Relief tea

    • 2 parts Nettle leaf
    • 1 part ground Celery
    • 1 part Dandelion Root

    Place ¼ cup in 16 oz boiling water for a minimum of 20 minutes. Strain and drink ¼ cup every 2 to 3 hours.

    Gout Relief Tincture

                   Mix individually prepared tinctures of:

    • 2-parts Nettle leaf
    • 1-part Celery seed
    • 1-part Gravel Root
    • 1-part Prickly Ash bark

    Suggested dose 15 to 30 drops every 3 to 4 hours.

    Wonderment Gardens

    Suggested Products from Wonderment Gardens

    Further Reading

    Thank you for reading. I hope you found the material useful and interesting. If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me either by e-mail or through the contact form on the website. If you are so inclined, you are invited to share your experiences in the comment section below. I can’t wait to hear what has worked, and what hasn’t, for you.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Many blessings

    Annie

    References

    https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/gout/what-are-purines

    https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/gout/all-about-gout-symptoms-diagnosis-treatment

    https://goutbye.org/GB_00_WeekLowPurineNutrition.pdf

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/gout-diet/art-20048524

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6535740/

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31885677

    https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/do-cherries-prevent-gout#vh_footnotes

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23023818/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6797962/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047868/

    Wood, Matthew; The Book of Herbal Wisdom, North Atlantic Books, Berkley, Ca; 1997

    Hoffman, David FNIMH, AGH; Medical Herbalism, the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine; Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VA.  2003

    Hoffman, David; the New Holistic Herbal; Element Publishing, Rockport Ma. 1990

    Frawley, David and Lad Vasant: The Yoga of Herbs Second Revised and Enlarged Edition; The Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wi.  2001

    Disclaimer

    The statements and ideas presented here are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. They have not been evaluated by the FDA. All ideas presented are for the sole purpose of education. To help you take control of your own health. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. We suggest that you always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

    These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.

    Herbs taken for health purposes should be treated with the same care as medicine. Herbal remedies are no substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you are serious about good health, you’ll want to combine diet, exercise, herbals, a good relationship with your doctor and a generally healthy lifestyle. No one of these will do it alone.

    This information is designed to be used as part of a complete health plan. No products are intended to replace your doctor’s care, or to supersede any of his/her advice or prescriptions.

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