On this page you’re going to discover ten natural ways to quickly relieve gout pain and, at the same time, prevent future gout flares. First though, please take a minute to listen to the excellent Dr. Edwards on what gout is:
- Gout is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis.
- It can affect various joints in the body, not just the big toe.
- Repeat gout attacks can eventually lead to disablement.
- The incidence of gout worldwide has doubled over the past 20 years.
- Gout isn’t just a disease of the rich, those who overeat, or those who drink alcohol to excess.
- There’s certainly a link between obesity and gout, but not all obese people will have gout.
- There’s also a link between alcohol and gout, but not all people with gout drink alcohol.
- Many gout sufferers have a family history of gout.
- Middle-aged men are most at risk although women also have a higher risk as they grow older.
- Once you have gout it’s for life, not just when you’re suffering the symptoms of a gout attack.
Note: Dr. Edwards spoke about the links between obesity, alcohol and gout and explained that not all people who are obese or who drink to excess have gout.
However, studies have shown that obesity and alcohol are high risk factors for gout. So although some people who are obese, or who drink to excess, may not have gout now, nevertheless they are still at a higher risk of gout at some point in their lives compared with those who are not obese and who don’t drink to excess.
For me, the two main takeaways from Dr. Edward’s very informative video are:
- Once having had gout, you have it for life.
- But it can be managed successfully!
There isn’t an actual cure for gout, instead, when diagnosed with gout, your doctor will normally prescribe medication (usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — NSAIDs) to alleviate inflammation and pain and separate medication (such as Allopurinol and the newer Febuxostat) to help lower blood uric acid to try to prevent future episodes. And there is no doubt that they can be very effective.
But more and more people are turning to natural ways to manage their gout. Here are some of the most popular and effective natural remedies for gout:
10 Natural Remedies for Gout Relief and Prevention
1. Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
This remedy is very effective for relieving the inflammation and pain of a gout attack. It can even be taken along with NSAIDs to help improve their performance.
Bicarbonate of soda can help to increase the solubility of uric acid so that the body can excrete it more effectively.
It also helps to dissolve crystals in the joints and boost urine pH to decrease the risk of uric acid kidney stones.
To take it, dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water in a large glass. Drink a glass right before bedtime, first thing in the morning, and once every two to four hours between meals. Repeat as necessary until the symptoms have gone.
Do not exceed 4 teaspoons of baking soda per day. Change to a low sodium diet whilst taking this remedy; better still cut-out salt altogether. And if you suffer from high blood pressure it’s best not to use this particular remedy.
Note: This remedy is only for the fast relief of the painful symptoms of an attack. It’s not for long term uric acid management as it’s so high in sodium. There are other remedies that can be used to help manage uric acid levels as you’ll see below.
2. Reduce Purines
Uric acid is a byproduct of the natural breakdown of ‘purines’ – chemical compounds found in all of the body’s cells.
Purines also exist in animals’ cells, and nearly all our foods at varying levels. So the more high-purine food eaten the more uric acid is produced.
Someone with gout is usually advised to move to a low-purine diet in order to reduce their uric acid levels.
This means avoiding or severely limiting high-purine foods such as:
- organ meat
Even asparagus, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, and legumes, have moderately high purine levels.
A low-purine diet will include things such as:
- foods high in vitamin C (e.g. potatoes, red bell peppers, red cabbage, etc.)
- vegetables (especially green leafy veggies and celery)
- fruit (particularly cherries, other red/blue berries, tangerines and mandarins)
- essential fatty acids (tuna, nuts, seeds, flaxseed, etc.)
- complex carbs (cereals, pasta, rice, etc.)
- low-fat dairy produce
Some animal protein may be eaten, but no more than 4 ounces of lean meat or fish or poultry a day.
3. Fluids / Water
This is perhaps the most important natural remedy because it’s more difficult for urate crystals to precipitate out of uric acid in a well-hydrated body.
And drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day helps your kidneys to flush-out excess uric acid more easily.
So, drinking sufficient fluids not only helps to excrete excess uric acid more efficiently, it also helps to prevent future gout flares.
Finally, drinking plenty of fluids helps to reduce the risk of painful kidney stones and kidney infections.
The American Dietetic Association recommends 2 to 4 liters of fluid per day, with at least half of that amount being water. But avoid alcohol because it dehydrates the body and is a well known trigger for gout.
4. Vitamin C
Studies around this particular home remedy have shown that vitamin C can increase urinary excretion of uric acid and therefore lower blood uric acid levels. One also found a link between higher intake of vitamin C and a lower gout risk.
So eat lots of vegetables and fruits, especially oranges, mandarins, etc. You can also get it in supplement form of course, but it’s preferable to get your vitamin C through fruit and vegetables, if you can, since they’re also more nutritious and contain important fiber and protective elements that supplements don’t.
However, suddenly taking large amounts of vitamin C can trigger a gout attack due to abrupt changes in uric acid levels. So talk to your doctor about the correct vitamin C levels for your particular case before implementing this natural remedy.
5. Cherries and Cherry Juice
Cherries / concentrated cherry juice can help to alleviate the inflammation and pain of a gout attack as well as reduce uric acid levels in the blood. So, not only can they relieve the painful symptoms fast, they can also help to prevent future gout flares.
Research suggests that 20 cherries per day is much the same as taking one NSAID and that cherries, taken in combination with traditional uric-acid reducing drugs, can significantly help to reduce the risk of gout flares.
Cherries are rich in anthocyanins which are known to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In studies, whole cherries and concentrated cherry juice were found to be equally effective so, where you can’t get fresh cherries, concentrated cherry juice will do the job.
This is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, of all the natural remedies for gout out there.
Bromelain is an enzyme found only in pineapples. It was discovered in 1957 and subsequent studies have shown it to have natural inflammation-reducing powers.
For example, a 1995 German study found that it caused significant reductions in swelling, tenderness, and pain, in 59 test subjects. The study used bromelain in supplement form, the enzymes being extracted from pineapple stems.
Bromelain helps to improve blood circulation and tissue drainage around gouty joints by breaking down a blood-clotting protein called ‘fibrin.’ It also impedes the production of chemical compounds that cause swelling and pain.
The suggested dose during a gout flare is 500 mg every 3 hours until symptoms abate. For maintenance, reduce the dose to 500 mg twice a day between meals. Some experts suggest adding 500 mg of the flavonoid, quercetin, twice a day, to reduce blood uric acid levels. Quercetin is absorbed more efficiently when taken with bromelain
Buchu is a small dark green-leaved shrub that is native to the Cape region of South Africa. Its leaves have oil glands that release an aroma that’s similar to that of blackcurrants.
Buchu has been used to treat digestive problems, rheumatism, inflammation, kidney infections, urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and gout, for 100s of years.
This herbal remedy, when taken as a tea for example, has been shown to aid in the dissolution of uric acid crystals and their excretion from the body.
Note: Buchu is a powerful diuretic that can deplete the body’s store of potassium. So anyone taking buchu should up their intake of potassium-rich foods. And it definitely shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy or nursing.
8. Devil’s Claw
Devil’s claw is another plant native to South Africa. Its root has been used in traditional medicine there for thousands of years.
As a natural medicine it found its way into Europe via the colonists, where it was used to treat digestive problems, inflammation, arthritis, lower back pain, general joint pain, and gout.
This is another herbal remedy which has natural uric acid reducing powers. And it contains chemicals that help to reduce inflammation and pain.
Experts suggest taking 400 mg of devil’s claw extract three times a day until the symptoms disappear. Again, check the label.
Note: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid devil’s claw. It may affect blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and can even interact with some medications; so talk to your doctor before using it.
Hawthorn is a thorny shrub or tree native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. It’s related to the rose family.
It has been used in traditional medicine since ancient Greece times to treat such ailments as poor circulation, stress, sleep disorders, stomach ache, and kidney and bladder disorders, and gout.
It contains anti-inflammatory anthocyanocides so is great for helping to reduce inflammation and pain around the affected joint.
In addition, hawthorn can help the body retain the protein and collagen that untreated gouty joints tends to lose. Collagen and protein are needed to help ease joint movement.
10. Hot and Cold Compresses
This physical remedy can be very effective: Applying alternating hot (3 minutes) then cold (30 seconds) compresses around the joint can provide pretty fast natural pain relief.
Repeat until the water cools, then reheat as necessary.
You can also use a basin or large bowl, but be careful to test the water before immersion. And always finish on cold.
Note: Always consult with your doctor before starting any natural home remedies or any major dietary changes.