Apologies to my readers for repeating column subjects, but when six people in one week come in for remedies for the same affliction, it might be time to talk about it again. Gout. Chronic pain. Recurrent flare-ups. If you’ve ever had an attack of gout, you never want to have another one. While millions of people live with arthritis pain, of which gout is one, gout creates excruciating, abrupt onset pain that feels like someone’s mercilessly jabbing body parts with an ice pick. Then there’s the swelling, the heat, the inability to walk, and often the mystery of what’s causing the problem.
Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body and when not treated, can sometimes lead to kidney stones. Normally, a group of chemicals called purines are metabolized in the body, turned into uric acid, and excreted through the urine. With imbalance, the body doesn’t produce enough uricase, the digestive enzyme responsible for metabolizing purines, and uric acid accumulates in the blood and tissues. It then crystallizes into needle-shaped deposits, which stick themselves in the joints, especially the big toe. This hurts. A lot.
As an alternative to drugs, there is natural relief. Cherries, celery, and a change of diet and lifestyle habits can all remedy gout as well as prevent other attacks. Cherry and celery extract are available in pill form as well as in juice, although you have to juice your own celery stalks, and many sufferers have found relief by eating at least half a pound of cherries a day, but this might cause diarrhea or cramping.
Cherries contain the xanthine oxidase inhibitors anthocyanadins and proanthocyanidins. These flavonoids, like quercitin, folic acid, grape seed and pine bark, act like Allopurinol, the chemical drug prescribed for gout, by preventing the conversion of purines to uric acid. The can both prevent and remedy a gout attack.
95 per cent of gout sufferers are men over the age of 30, and most of them usually know what triggers an attack. A huge steak, bacon, or too many beers can turn a burly, tough-as-nails guy into a penitent man of moderation. Meat, particularly organ meat, is high in purines, and alcohol inhibits uric acid secretion by the kidneys. Combined, these two dietary factors are a painful duo.
A change of diet and lifestyle can help with gout attacks. Eliminating meat and alcohol, achieving ideal body weight, drinking lots of quality water, limiting intake of caffeine and sugar, as well as rich fatty and sweet foods, all help reduce gout recurrences. Cleansing with herbs, or going on a raw foods diet or a juice fast can also hasten healing and eliminate pain. If you feel your diet is a good one, with lots of water and green vegetables, and you still get gout, look at any medications you’re taking and see if “arthritis symptoms” are a side effect.
Herbally, burdock decreases swelling around the joints and acts as a blood purifier. It clears the kidneys of excess wastes, including uric acid, and increases the flow of urine. Celery neutralizes body acidity and can be juiced, or celery seed can be taken in capsule form or made into a tea and used as an anti-inflammatory. Devil’s claw, like burdock, cleanses the blood and joints of toxins, and especially removes uric acid from the system. It can be used during acute gout attacks since it also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Finally, the sulfur present in garlic detoxes the blood of lead, which has been implicated in cases of gout.
Homeopathically, nux vomica helps when gout is accompanied by an acid stomach and the sufferer has overindulged in rich foods or alcohol. Belladonna can help when there is a burning and painful throbbing and the affected joint is swollen and red. Rhus tox is useful when the big toe is painful, swollen, and the pain is relieved by movement; calcarea fluorica is indicated when there are deformed joints that crack when moved.
You can prevent and remedy gout naturally with attention to diet and lifestyle. A low purine diet, cleansing the body, and using supplements can prevent and eliminate recurrences. If you have blood sugar problems, be aware that eight ounces of black cherry juice contain 44 grams of carbohydrates; two pills, containing the equivalent of 16 oz. of juice, have only one gram.
Find the gout remedy that is best for you and get out of pain.