* Gout is a common form of arthritis that results from too much uric acid in the blood, tissues and urine.
* Gout used to be known as a ‘rich man’s arthritis’, as usually only wealthy men with rich diets were prone to gout. However, now it is more prevalent across all socioeconomic groups, especially in the West, due to the increased intake such food. Gout still mainly affects men.
* Gout occurs when uric acid forms into crystals that are deposited in joints, tendons and tissues. The crystals form in needle-like projections which cause pain and inflammation to the affected area. Common areas of infection are the big toe, fingers, wrists and ankles; sometimes the kidneys may be affected.
* Gout has two known causes.
– The most common cause of gout occurs due to increased level of uric acid caused by the body’s inability to adequately excrete uric acid, or overproduction of uric acid, or a combination of both. Two factors closely linked to gout are obesity and diet and they play a major role in the recurrence of gout.
– The less common cause of gout is an increased level of uric acid due to a disorder such as kidney disease, high blood pressure and certain medications. Due to the original disorder, uric acid is not adequately excreted from the body, thus it forms in needle-like crystal formations which cause pain and inflammation.
* Uric acid is formed from chemicals known as purines, which are taken into the body through the diet. This means that gout is readily treated and prevented with dietary changes and herbal remedies.
* Gout is characterized by severe pain in joints such as the big toe, fingers, wrists and ankles. Usually gout occurs in one of these joints and the joint is often very hot, swollen, red and extremely painful to the touch.
* In most cases the first attack of gout occurs at night, often after an excess of alcohol or certain foods, or after a trauma such as surgery.
* If gout is left to progress, chills and fever may occur.
* Acupuncture – on a daily basis during acute gout, may help reduce inflammation and pain of joints.
* Address Obesity Problems – obesity raises serum uric acid levels. Weight loss should be steady and sustained, as crash dieting is also known to increase uric acid levels; sometimes it may bring on an attack of gout.
* Dietary Changes – diet is a powerful way to prevent recurring attacks of gout.
– Eliminate meat, which contains purines. Also avoid other purine-containing foods such as asparagus, mushrooms, seafood, alcohol, fried food, any oil that has been heated, white flour, sugar, eggs, caffeine products, yeast products, oats, peas, lentils and cauliflower.
– Take plenty of filtered water, as this will increase the excretion rate of uric acid.
– When there is an attack of gout, a vegetarian diet of raw fruit and vegetables, nuts, grains and seeds, is recommended for at least two weeks. This will assist in reducing uric acid levels. A vegetarian diet on a constant basis is one of the best ways to prevent the recurrence of gout.
– Consume plenty of cherries, blueberries and hawthorn berries as they have shown to significantly reduce uric acid levels. 300 – 600 gms daily are recommended.
* Acute gout is often treated with conventional drugs as the pain is excruciating; however aromatherapy and herbal remedies may also be used to treat gout in its acute form. After the initial pain has subsided, measures such as diet and lifestyle changes, acupuncture, herbal and aromatherapy remedies may be used to reduce uric acid concentrations in the body and to prevent the recurrence of gout.
VITAMIN C – With bioflavonoids. An important antioxidant, used for cell and inter cellular structure, works synergistically with vitamin E, and is known to lower uric acid levels. Sources of vitamin C include tomatoes, citrus fruits, potatoes, berries, peppermint, alfalfa, fenugreek, hips, kelp, pineapple, dandelion greens, papaya, brussel sprouts, parsley, broccoli and cabbage. Take 1,500 – 2,500 mg of an esterified form of vitamin C with bioflavonoids twice daily. Do not use more than 5,000 mg daily if pregnant. Use esterified vitamin C if you use aspirin. Large doses of vitamin C may cause diarrhea, may deplete the body of copper and affect the reliability of oral contraceptives.
VITAMIN E – An important antioxidant, a cofactor in many enzymes, works synergistically with vitamin C and selenium, and may be of assistance for cell damage and gout. Sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, whole grains, brown rice, alfalfa, flaxseed, dandelion, asparagus, peas, vegetable oils, peanuts, almonds, butter and walnuts. 400 – 800 iu daily in divided doses may be of help. Take according to label instructions if you suffer from diabetes, overactive thyroid, or are taking anticoagulant medication.
ZINC – Is used in many enzymes, is an antioxidant and aids in growth and repair of tissue. Zinc can be found in milk, brewer’s yeast, soy lecithin, alfalfa, chamomile, dandelion, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, soybeans, legumes, wheat and other whole grain products. 50 mg daily may be of help. Excess zinc intake may cause copper deficiency. For prolonged periods of zinc intake, copper is recommended ie: 30 mg zinc with 2 mg of copper. Do not use more than 100 mg daily as excess zinc intake can depress the immune system.
ALFALFA – Contains many vitamins and minerals and reduces uric acid levels. 2,000 – 3,000 mg daily in divided doses may be of assistance. * Bilberry – strengthens connective tissue and contains bioflavonoids. Use according to label instructions.
BILBERRY – Strengthens connective tissue and contains bioflavonoids. Use according to label instructions.
BURDOCK – Known to relieve symptoms of gout. Use according to label instructions. Burdock root should be used with caution during pregnancy and may reduce iron absorption.
CAYENNE,CAPSICUM, RED PEPPER, HOT PEPPER. – Applied topically to affected areas with wintergreen oil may relieve the inflammation and pain of gout.
JUNIPER – Essential oil. May be added to carrier oil and massaged into the affected area for pain relief. Essential oil should equal three percent of total oil. Juniper may also be used in a compress. Add six drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water. Put compress cloth into the water scooping up the oil. Gently squeeze out the excess water and apply to the affected area until the cloth goes cold. Repeat for about ten minutes. Do not use during pregnancy or if there are liver or kidney problems.
NETTLE, STINGING NETTLE – Useful for kidney problems and arthritis, relieves pain and inflammatory conditions. Use according to label instructions.
ROSEMARY – Used in aromatherapy, rosemary essential oil may be added to carrier oil and massaged into the affected area for pain and inflammation relief. Essential oil should equal three percent of total oil. Rosemary may also be used in a compress. Add six drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water. Put compress cloth into the water scooping up the oil. Gently squeeze out the excess water and apply to the affected area until the cloth goes cold. Repeat for about ten minutes. Do not use if you are pregnant, epileptic, or have high blood pressure.
THYME – Essential oil. Use diluted to three percent in a vegetable based cream, may help with gout. Do not use if you have high blood pressure.