Home Remedies for Gout: Herbal Medicine, Diet, and Lifestyle Tips
Try a Natural Remedy for Gout the Next Time You Experience an Attack
When my husband suffered his first attack of gout, we decided early on that we would look for a good home remedy for gout to treat and prevent follow-up attacks. More than 8 million people in the United States suffer from painful attacks of gout, leading to lost time from work and school as they wait for the flare-up to subside. My husband’s attacks of gout have been so painful in the past that it’s impossible for him to put a sock on the affected foot, not to mention the side effects he had to deal with from the prescription medication given to him by his doctor. Many people with gout also find themselves on lifelong maintenance medication without knowing that there is a safe and effective home remedy for gout out there that will work for them.
What is Gout, Anyway?
What is gout? Gout is actually a complex form of arthritis that can cause symptoms like severe pain and swelling in an affected joint, usually the ankle, foot, or big toe. Substances called purines, which are found in foods like red meat, venison, turkey, organ meats, and seafood, cause a buildup of uric acid in the blood. When your kidneys can’t properly filter the uric acid out of the blood, it accumulates in places with poor circulation like the feet, ankles, and toes.
An attack of gout can happen overnight, causing swelling and excruciating pain in the feet and toes. While men are more likely to suffer from gout, post-menopausal women are also at risk of developing this painful and often debilitating condition.
While there isn’t one single home remedy for gout that will work for everybody, there are lots of options to choose from both for preventing gout and treating an acute attack.
Home Remedy for Gout: Diet and Exercise
Much to my husband’s chagrin, diet is the first line of defense in preventing gout. Our freezer and refrigerator are usually stocked with venison, wild turkey, rabbit, and other game meats. Since my husband believes in using every single part of an animal when he hunts, we usually have delicacies like pickled deer heart, too. Unfortunately, most of this meat can cause an attack of gout if eaten regularly, so making an effort to reduce the amount of red meat that you consume can be one effective home remedy for gout.
Alcohol, particularly beer with its associated sugars, and anything sweetened with fructose eaten in large quantities can also cause an attack of gout.
Contrary to popular belief, the amount of purines (the substances that cause the body to produce uric acid) in vegetables is not to blame for an attack of gout. Vegetables like asparagus and chickpeas were once thought to trigger an attack of gout, but new research points to fructose and sugar as more likely to cause an attack of gout. So if you’re using diet as a home remedy to prevent an attack of gout, eat your veggies, and reduce the amount of meat you eat every day.
Exercise is also another excellent way to prevent an attack of gout. You don’t need to do excessive aerobic exercise, but gentle, low-impact movement like yoga, walking, and tai chi are all beneficial in preventing gout. Gentle movements every day can keep your blood flowing, improve circulation, and prevent uric acid from building up in your joints where it can cause a painful attack of gout.
Home Remedy for Gout: When an Attack Occurs
When an attack of gout occurs, the first thing to remember is to stay calm. High stress levels can increase the pain of an attack, so make sure you take the time to rest and stay off your feet if you’re experiencing pain and swelling in your toes, ankles, or foot. If the swelling is severe, you can soak your foot in cold water or an ice bath for 10-20 minutes to help relieve the pain. Avoid putting your foot into warm water or a hot water bath, as this can actually make your symptoms worse.
Many people prefer to use herbal medicines as a home remedy for an acute attack of gout, and while these are safe and effective, they often take longer to work than a prescription medication. Depending on what you have handy in your herbal apothecary or your pantry, chances are you can find a home remedy for gout.
Make sure you stay hydrated during an attack of gout. Drinking lots of water will help your body remove the excess uric acid from your bloodstream and can reduce the duration of the attack. You may actually notice symptoms of dehydration like dry, cracked lips during an attack of gout. (If you know how to make lip balm at home keep some handy to help you treat some of these minor discomforts while you treat gout.)
Home Remedy for Gout: Tart Cherries
Tart cherries can actually help your body excrete uric acid, the substance that causes a painful attack of gout. To treat an acute attack of gout, try drinking one to two cups of tart cherry concentrate throughout the day. Avoid taking cherry juice sweetened with sugar, as this can worsen your symptoms. If you can’t find tart cherry concentrate or unsweetened cherry juice, you can eat 10-12 dried cherries twice a day to get the same effect.
Home Remedy for Gout: Celery Seed
Celery seed tea or extract is another effective and safe home remedy for gout. If you have organic celery seed in your pantry, make a warm tea by steeping one tablespoon of celery seed in two or three cups of hot water, and drink three or four cups of this every day. Alternately, you can find celery seed extract in your favorite natural foods store, or if you have a juicer, make your own celery juice. If you have a knack for growing beets every year in your garden, celery and beet juice is a great home remedy for gout, and it tastes pretty good, too!
Celery seed tea and celery juice act as an anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce your symptoms and remove the excess uric acid from your blood.
Home Remedy for Gout: Goldenrod
While most people mistakenly assume that goldenrod is an allergen, medicinal goldenrod uses actually include treatment for gout and kidney stones. Goldenrod tea or goldenrod tincture are both effective and tasty home remedies for treating an acute attack of gout. Like the tart cherries, goldenrod contains substances that are both anti-inflammatory and help reduce the amount of uric acid in the blood.
To make a tea, steep one tablespoon of dried goldenrod in two or three cups of hot water. (Never boil the water with the goldenrod in it, just pour the hot water over the herb and let it steep.) You can sweeten this tea with a small amount of honey if desired. Drink up to six cups a day during an acute attack of gout to relieve symptoms.
If you prefer to make your own goldenrod tincture, you can pack a ½ gallon glass jar with fresh-picked goldenrod and then cover with diluted grain alcohol. (We use a mixture of three parts Everclear to one part of filtered, dechlorinated water.) Steep the tincture in a cool, dark place for at least 30 days, and then strain the goldenrod plant out of the jar. Bottle in amber glass, and take up to four full droppers three times a day to treat gout.
What’s your preferred home remedy for gout? Leave a comment here and share your experiences treating gout naturally with us!