How to Treat Gout Naturally: 6 Alternative Remedies
Gout is a very painful form of arthritis that is caused when a build-up up of uric acid is deposited in your body tissue. Sharp monosodium urate crystals form in the joints, particularly the big toe, and cause pain, inflammation and stiffness. The onset of gout often occurs at night, and either after a stressful event, from the consumption of alcohol or drugs, or from an illness. Over time, it may start to affect other joints and will eventually become chronic.
An estimated 2.1 million people in America suffer from gout, and around 1.4% of adults in the UK are also affected.
There are different prescription drugs and steroids available to treat the condition, but these have known side effects, so here are six natural alternatives that you could try (under supervision from your medical professional):
Drink Plenty of Water
Water can help the kidneys to flush the uric acid out of the body, along with many other toxins. The reduction of uric acid levels helps to prevent crystals from forming in the joints, which causes the pain in gout sufferers. Dehydration can also trigger a gout attack because when the level of water in the body decreases, the uric acid concentration increases.
Try to sip water regularly throughout the day, and aim to drink just under three litres each day. It may seem a lot, but just think, it's flushing the toxins out of your body!
Black cherries are filled with antioxidants, including anthocyanins, and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Anthocyanins help to relieve the inflammation around the joint and have been said to decrease the incidence of gout attacks. They also contain compounds which break down the uric acid crystals and repair the tissues.
You can eat fresh cherries, between a half cup and a pound a day, or blend them into a juice. Alternatively, you could purchase a cherry extract from a health food shop.
For centuries, devil's claw has been used as a herbal remedy for many ailments. It contains an active ingredient called harpagoside, which has natural anti-inflammatory properties, easing the pain caused by gout. It also lowers the concentration of uric acid and helps to flush toxins out of the body.
It has been found that using devil's claw consistently may decrease the need for NSAIDs (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs), which are taken by some people suffering with gout.
Devil's claw comes in many forms, including capsules, tinctures, teas, powders and tablets.
Applying ice to an inflamed joint is a common remedy, and because gout causes heat and swelling, ice can help to relieve this by soothing and numbing the area. You can easily make an ice pack by putting some ice cubes into a bag and covering it with a towel, so it does not make direct contact with the skin. The blood flow and temperature of the joint are reduced which then reduces the pain and swelling.
Avoid Purine-Rich Foods
It is recommended that people suffering with gout avoid foods that are purine-rich. This is because purines are broken down into uric acid when they are metabolized. Foods you should try to avoid include:
- Organ meats, such as liver or kidneys
- Meat extracts
- Fish, in particular sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies and haddock
- Some vegetables, such as spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms and asparagus
- Alcohol, in particular beer -- because it dehydrates your body!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an age-old folk remedy that has been used to treat many different conditions, including gout. It has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Although it is an acid, when it enters the body a chemical reaction takes place and the effect is alkaline-forming. This process makes your body more effective at removing the uric acid deposits. In addition, the malic acid in the cider vinegar dissolves the uric acid deposits, helping to flush them from your body.
When purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you should go for one that is raw, un-pasteurized and un-distilled, because these processes can remove the living ball of enzymes, known as the mother, that contains all the goodness!
You should take apple cider vinegar twice a day, diluted with water, or if you don’t like the taste you can try mixing it with honey for a more pleasant flavour. There are plenty of other recipes on the Internet that you can check out.
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