With gout being characterized as sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, and tenderness in one or more joints, it’s a type of arthritis that you certainly want to avoid. But, unfortunately, it’s also a type of arthritis that most people don’t even know about until the unbearable symptoms take over their body. But knowledge is power, and in this article, we will give you all the information needed to prevent uric acid crystals from building up in your joints. So, if you’re tired of waking up with the feeling of your big toe, ankle or knee being on fire, keep reading to discover the most effective natural home remedies commonly used to treat gout.
What is Gout?
Gout is a type of arthritis that affects approximately 8.3 million people, or 4%. It is more common in men than women and happens earlier in life for men (after menopause for women). The risk of developing gout increases with age, but as mentioned, it mainly affects men as they typically have higher levels of uric acid throughout their life1MacFarlane, L. A., & Kim, S. C. (2014). Gout: a review of nonmodifiable and modifiable risk factors. Rheumatic diseases clinics of North America, 40(4), 581–604. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rdc.2014.07.002.
But what is gout, you ask? Gout is often described as sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, and tenderness in one or more joints caused by a high uric acid buildup. An attack can occur suddenly, and it often strikes at night, waking you up in the middle of the night with the unbearable sensation that your big toe is on fire. The burning sensation can also be felt in the ankles and knees2Gout – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897..
Most people who experience these attacks do so for 3 to 10 days, making gout a complicated type of arthritis that can strip you of your mobility and mental health.
Treatment for Gout
Since gout occurs when the body builds up too much uric acid from breaking down purines found in foods, making some dietary changes can make a huge difference. It can help decrease your purine levels, reducing the likelihood of having a gout flare3Gout | Arthritis | CDC. Cdc.gov. (2020). Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html.. However, there are also many additional treatment options and natural remedies that can help you tackle your gout pain at the source to heal and eliminate it for good.
Eat More Cherries
According to several studies, something as simple and delicious as eating more cherries can help prevent gout attacks4Eating cherries ‘could cut gout’. BBC News. (2012). Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/health-19746453.. Whether you prefer sour, sweet, black or red cherries, extract, juice or raw, aim to get three servings for the most effective relief over a two-day period.
Take Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium is one supplement that often does not get the recognition it deserves, despite being responsible for hundreds of bodily functions. It’s a dietary mineral that can help with gout, as a magnesium deficiency has shown to worsen chronic inflammatory stress in the body5Nielsen F. H. (2018). Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives. Journal of inflammation research, 11, 25–34. https://doi.org/10.2147/JIR.S136742. Getting adequate amounts of magnesium has also been linked to lower and healthier uric acid levels6Zhang, Y., & Qiu, H. (2018). Dietary Magnesium Intake and Hyperuricemia among US Adults. Nutrients, 10(3), 296. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030296. So, add some magnesium supplements into your diet or eat more magnesium-rich foods, such as:
- Dark chocolate
- Whole grains
- Fatty fish
- Leafy Greens
Using Ginger for Gout
Ginger is a common herb used to help treat inflammatory conditions and its ability to help gout is well documented. It’s been shown to reduce pain related to gout and reduce high levels of uric acid7Semenovskaya, Z. (2021). Home Remedies for Gout: Get Relief- K Health. K Health. Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://khealth.com/learn/gout/home-remedies/.. Sprinkle a little extra into your next meal or apply it directly to the sore area using a ginger compress.
Hot Cold Therapy
Using topical cold or hot application is a common and effective form of treatment for inflamed joints. Soaking in cold water is most recommended and considered to be the most effective, but ice packs will suffice. Soaking in hot water or using a hot compress are additional options that can help reduce inflammation. Alternating between hot and cold can also be quite helpful.
Make a Tonic
Mix together apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and turmeric with some warm water for a highly-recommended anecdote for gout. This soothing beverage has shown to help lower uric acid, which can reduce attacks and prevent them altogether8White, A. (2019). Gout Remedies: Natural Treatments You Can Try at Home. Healthline. Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/gout/home-remedies.. Just be sure to drink it two to three times a day for maximum results.
Take a Bath in Epsom Salts
A warm soak in Epsom salts can go a long way in treating and preventing gout. In addition, Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, which can lower gout risk and symptoms, as mentioned previously. Just add 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salts in your bath or see if there are Epsom salt soaks or float tanks in your area.
Enjoy Some Celery
Top up on your celery intake. Raw celery, extract, and seeds have become popular home remedies, with plenty of evidence showing their ability to reduce inflammation9Shubrook, N. (2021). Top 5 health benefits of celery | BBC Good Food. Bbcgoodfood.com. Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-celery..
Gift Yourself Some Flowers
No, not in the traditional sense. Dandelions (yes, I know they’re considered weeds) and hibiscus are excellent choices as a traditional herbal remedy. Dandelion can be used to improve your liver and kidney health, which can lower uric acid. Hibiscus has been used as a folk remedy for treating gout, as it can also lower uric acid levels.
Eliminate Dietary Triggers
As mentioned, diet is closely linked to gout flare-ups and pain. Many have even healed their gout entirely, just by changing their diet. It’s important to avoid triggers known to increase uric acid, inflammation or gout symptoms. These triggers include:
- Red meat
Aim to stick with low-sugar fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and low-fat dairy instead for a gout-friendly diet. Apples and bananas, in particular, are two things you’ll want to try to eat each day. Apples contain malic acid, which reduces uric acid, and bananas are high in potassium, which can help the tissue and organs in the body function properly. But remember, these items also contain sugar, so enjoy in moderation. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
One of the most important things you can do is drink plenty of water to support healthy kidney function. Staying hydrated will help keep your kidneys in good shape while reducing uric acid crystal buildup and ultimately, gout attacks. Aim to get 8 cups of water each day. If the lack of flavor makes it difficult for you to drink 8 cups of water, try to add fresh fruit slices or squeeze some lemon into your cup.
Movement and mobility can become increasingly difficult when experiencing a gout attack. Take this time to relax to avoid worsening symptoms. This includes avoiding any type of exercise, bearing heavyweights, or using your joints excessively.
There’s no denying that gout can be an incredibly painful experience that can leave you feeling debilitated and depleted. Fortunately, there are many options available for healing and preventing gout attacks, all of which you can do right at home. Natural also means that there will be little to no side effects and oftentimes, a significantly smaller price tag than conventional options. However, contact your doctor immediately if your gout pain becomes worse or intense and the home remedies provided fail to work to the degree you need them to.
- 1MacFarlane, L. A., & Kim, S. C. (2014). Gout: a review of nonmodifiable and modifiable risk factors. Rheumatic diseases clinics of North America, 40(4), 581–604. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rdc.2014.07.002
- 2Gout – Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897.
- 3Gout | Arthritis | CDC. Cdc.gov. (2020). Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html.
- 4Eating cherries ‘could cut gout’. BBC News. (2012). Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/health-19746453.
- 5Nielsen F. H. (2018). Magnesium deficiency and increased inflammation: current perspectives. Journal of inflammation research, 11, 25–34. https://doi.org/10.2147/JIR.S136742
- 6Zhang, Y., & Qiu, H. (2018). Dietary Magnesium Intake and Hyperuricemia among US Adults. Nutrients, 10(3), 296. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030296
- 7Semenovskaya, Z. (2021). Home Remedies for Gout: Get Relief- K Health. K Health. Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://khealth.com/learn/gout/home-remedies/.
- 8White, A. (2019). Gout Remedies: Natural Treatments You Can Try at Home. Healthline. Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.healthline.com/health/gout/home-remedies.
- 9Shubrook, N. (2021). Top 5 health benefits of celery | BBC Good Food. Bbcgoodfood.com. Retrieved 28 December 2021, from https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-celery.