Natural Remedies for Gout
Natural Remedies for Gout
The agony of gout can start very quickly. One minute, you're skipping along with a smile on your face and a song in your heart. The next, you're in excruciating pain. Your first instinct might be to reach for aspirin-a wrong move. Aspirin slows the excretion of uric acid, which only makes things worse. A better bet is naproxen (such as Aleve or Naprosyn) or the prescription drug indomethacin (Indocin). Then you can turn to these home remedies to further reduce pain. Pay special attention to drinking plenty of water to dissolve the uric acid crystals.
Lift Off and Ice Down
- During an acute attack, try to stay off your feet as much as possible and keep the affected joint elevated. When gout is at its worst, most people can't even bear the weight of a bed sheet on the painful joint.
- If you can stand to, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes or so. The cold will dull the pain and bring down the swelling. Wrap the ice in a cloth to protect your skin. Use the ice pack 3 times a day for two or three days.
Try the Cherry Remedy
- Cherries are an old folk remedy for gout. They contain compounds that help neutralize uric acid. Cherries are also a source of anti-inflammatory compounds. So if you feel an attack of gout coming on, try eating a handful or two of cherries right away. if they aren't in season, buy canned cherries or black cherry juice (drink 1 to 2 cups; try mixing it with pineapple juice).
- Alternatively, you can take cherry fruit extract pills, which are available at health-food stores. The recommended dose is 1,000 milligrams once a day (for maintenance) or three times a day (for attacks).
- Don't like cherries? Some people swear by strawberries for gout.
Pill Power to the Rescue
- Daily doses of fish oil or flaxseed oil can ease the inflammation in the joints. These oils are rich sources of a potent anti-inflammatory agent known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The typical dosage of fish or flaxseed oil is 1500 milligrams a day (about a tablespoon).
- Another way to ease inflammation is with pills containing bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple. The typical dosage for acute gout attacks is 500 milligrams three times a day between meals.
- Tablets containing celery seed extract seem to help eliminate uric acid. The typical dosage is two to four tablets a day.
- Long advocated by herbalists to treat joint inflammation, nettle also helps lower uric acid levels. Experts typically recommend 300-600 milligrams of freeze-dried extract a day. Don't use nettle for more than three months at a time. (off-limits… nettle in tincture form. Tinctures contain alcohol, which aggravates gout.) Another way to use nettle is to soak a clean cloth in a tea brewed from the leaves of nettle and apply it to the tender joint. If you pick this common weed yourself, wear gloves, long pants, and a long sleeves to guard against nettle's stinging leaves.
Live on Water, Not Beer
- Drink lots of water-at least 8 oz glasses a day. Fluids will help flush excess uric acid from your system. As a bonus, the water may help discourage kidney stones, which disproportionately affect people with gout.
- Avoid alcohol. it seems to increase uric acid production and inhibits its excretion. Beer is particularly bad-it contains more purines than other alcoholic beverages.
Foods to Avoid if You Have Gout
meat based gravy, organ meats like kidneys and sweetbreads, mussels, sardines, liver, herring, fried foods, refined carbohydrates, oatmeal, yeast-containing foods like beer and baked goods, asparagus, peas and beans, spinach and cauliflower.
To Tame the Pain, Mind Your Meds
- If you're taking diuretic-for high blood pressure, for instance, ask your doctor about alternatives. Diuretics eliminate excess fluids from the body; as a side effect, they reduce the amount of uric acid that passes in the urine. Less passes, more stays, and the worse your gout.
- Gout can also be triggered by niacin, or nicotinic acid, which is often prescribed for high cholesterol. if your doctor has prescribed niacin for you, ask about alternatives.
Fast Not, Hurt Not
Losing weight can help keep gout at bay, but going on a crash diet or fasting is a big mistake. Drastic dieting causes cells to release more uric acid. If you're overweight, lose weight slowly and sensibly-two pounds a week at most.