Gout- it’s painful! You know that. Either you have acute gout (only at one joint) or chronic gout (multiple joints), you need to relieve yourself of that painful lump. Even better if you can avoid those gout flare ups that stay for days and weeks. Medicines haven’t proved to be the magical pills. They only suppress the symptoms, the pain and the swelling just letting them come again and again. So, what’s the way out then? Home remedies and certain changes in diet and lifestyle. Here I give you a list of really effective home remedies for gout. Following them will not only avoid your gout flare ups but eventually treat your gout too.
1. Drink, Drink, Drink Water!
Uric acid in your blood is the culprit. The excessive uric acid that can’t be excreted out of your system by your kidneys not only forms kidney stones but also leads to gout by crystallizing itself at the joints. The pain and swelling at your big toe or at heels, ankles, knees and elbows are caused by crystallization of this excess uric acid only. So, its better to expel it out of your body before it gets a chance to crystallize. For this, you have to drink a lots of water. Water in your case or anyone who suffers from gout, is the elixir of life! Make it a habit of drinking a glass of water every 30-40 minutes. You can even have other healthy beverages like coconut water, lime juice and fruit juices. If so, you may keep your water intake somewhat low but ensure that whatever amount of fluid you are having during the day, half of it should be water.
2. Munch on Cherries
Cherries are the second best home remedy for gout, after water. Why? Because cherries have in the ‘anthocyanins’ known to heal pain, inflammation and tenderness of joints.
Ways to have cherries during the day:
Just for your help, these are some of the ways in which you can have lots of cherries to treat your gout.
- Have cherries (sweet or sour- both can work) before breakfast.
- Make juice with cherries and a few cloves of garlic to get relief from inflammation and joint tenderness.
- Just munch on cherries. Have 6-10 cherries during the day.
- Drink a glass of cherries juice once a day.
- Have anything cherry- cherry pie, cherry compote, cherry juice, cherry jam, cherry tea! Just consult your doctor if you are diabetic or have any other grave medical condition before having them in abundance.
- Have concentrated juice of black cherry at regular intervals, twice or thrice a day to get relief from gout pain.
- Along with cherries, you may also have other dark colored fruits like blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes and raspberries etc.
- You may even have cherry in vitamins form if you don’t like to munch on this fruit.
3. Help from Other Fruits and Veggies
Just like the dark colored fruits including cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, purple grapes, there are many other fruits that can help you in getting relief from gout. Which fruit can provide gout relief in what ways can be known from the below facts.
Apple: There is this acid called ‘malic acid’ in apple which helps in neutralizing the excessive uric acid in your body. You can go by the old saying- an apple a day keeps ‘gout’ away! If you can have this apple after meal, even better. This will help neutralize the uric acid faster to give you relief from pain and inflammation. You can even have apple juice. You may also use home made apple preserves. Whatever way, you should have apples.
Banana: The high amount of potassium and phosphorus in bananas are capable of altering uric acid crystals into liquid which can be easily flushed out of your system. Bananas also have high content of vitamin C that can give you relief from pain and swelling. Therefore, you should have at least one to two bananas a day.
Grapes: Grapes are alkaline foods and again help in neutralizing uric acid. They also avoid building up of acid and help in eliminating it from body. However, if you are diabetic, you should consult with your doctor before adding grapes and even bananas in your diet.
Orange: Oranges are beneficial for the same reason- their citric acid and vitamin C which help in neutralizing uric acid. Orange juice is also beneficial for you.
Gooseberry: Amla or Indian gooseberry is the best source of vitamin C. If you can, have an amla every morning. The best thing is that when you convert amla into jam, jelly or cook it, it doesn’t lose its vitamin C’s quality. So, you can have it in any form.
Strawberries: Strawberries too are good sources of vitamin C. Have fresh strawberries and a lots of them during the day.
Cucumber: Cucumber is very beneficial in gout probably due to the high water content in it. You may like to have this delicious juice made up of carrot, cucumber and beet root. A juice wholly made of cucumber would also do.
French beans: Juice made up of French beans too is beneficial to get relief from pain and inflammation due to gout. Drink half a cup of such juice once or twice a day.
4. Have Lime Juice to Neutralize Uric Acid
I have not included lemon in the list of fruits for three reasons. One, you may not deem it a fruit. Two, I wanted to emphasize the importance of lemon and lime juice for gout remedy and three, you may or may not have fruits on a regular basis but if you suffer from gout, you should make it a point to have fresh lime juice twice or thrice a day. Just squeeze a lemon into a glass of water and have it. You may even include lime juice in your meals- in raw form though. Citric acid in lemon neutralizes the excessive uric acid in your blood giving your body alkalinity.
5. Avoid Purine Loaded Foods
So far, we had been talking about eliminating or preventing uric acid. What if we also analyze the way uric acid is formed and stop the very source that produces this acid leading to gout! The uric acid in your blood is due to the breakdown of chemicals called purines. Purines come from having too much of organ meats, certain fish, dried peas, lentils and legumes. So avoid these foods. At least cut down on them in a major way and totally avoid them when you are under a gout attack. This is the list of purine foods that you should try to avoid.
- Organ Meats including liver, kidney, brains
- Red meat
- Meat extracts
- Dried peas
However, since fish is good for heart and overall health, try to have other fish that do not have high contents of purines. You should anyways limit such intake to about 170 gms daily. When there are gout flare ups, totally avoid animal protein.
6. Comforting Compresses, Soaks, Baths
While hot and cold compresses do well in other types of pain, they are not beneficial in gout-relief. Reason. When you use a hot pad around the gout swelling, blood circulation speeds up sending more blood to the area resulting in further inflammation. When you use an ice pack to comfort the gout pain, its low temperature helps in further crystallizing the uric acid leading to even more pain and swelling. Therefore, you need some special compresses, poultice, baths and soaks for your gout problem. Here are some suggestions for you.
Mustard compress: Take one part each of mustard powder and whole wheat flour. Add water to this mixture to get a paste. Place a thick coat of this paste on a clean cloth. Now place this cloth having mustard paste in it on the gout affected region. If needed, use tape to keep it in place. Leave overnight or at least for few hours before removing the poultice.
Castor oil: Warm the casor oil. With the help of a cotton ball, apply the warm oil on your gout affected joint.
Activated charcoal: Activated charcoal can adsorb uric acid so you may take a charcoal bath two or three times a week. Mix well half cup of charcoal powder in some water to make a paste. Place this paste in a tub and add more water to it. Now soak your gout affected joint in this water for 30 minutes. If you can’t soak your joint (like elbow), just apply the charcoal paste there and leave for half an hour. Wash with lukewarm water.
Epsom salt: It is not only good for gout but also for other types of arthritis. Add some Epsom salt (about two cups if having bath in bath tub and a couple of teaspoons if soaking only the affected joint) in warm water and soak your body or the gout affected joint in it. Do it once a week.
Juniper oil: Place a compress made up with juniper on your painful swollen joint to help break down the toxic deposits there.
7. Herbs to Treat Gout
Herbs have been there since ages to help humans to fight off many diseases. Gout too can have benefits from various herbs, especially those having anti inflammatory properties like ginger root, capsicum, devil’s claw, white willow bark, meadowsweet leaves as well as flower-tops and licorice etc. Here is a list of herbs and herbal remedies to help you know how you can get relief for your gout affected joints.
Make ginger root tea and have it once or twice a day.
- Take half a tea spoon of powdered ginger root
- Boil a cup of water.
- Add the ginger root powder in it.
- Have the tea
- Get relief from pain and swelling.
Devil’s Claw is a fine anti-inflammatory herb that can help you get extreme relief from pain. It is one of the first herbs that was used to grant relief from arthritis. However, if you also suffer from diabetes or are taking some blood thinning medicine, you should not have this herb. Those eligible for using devil’s claw can make tea with it.
- Take half teaspoon of powdered devil’s claw root.
- Boil a cup of water.
- Add powdered herb to the water.
- Let it steep for ten minutes.
- Have the tea.
Have this herbal tea at least once a day.
It’s the same herb that is present in coffee too. Chicory has been widely used for over 2000 years for medicinal purposes including arthritis and its one form gout.
- Take one ounce chicory root powder.
- Boil a pint of water.
- Add the herb in it.
- Have the beverage.
What’s even better is that you may make a poultice using chicory too. Apply this poultice to your gout affected joint and leave for some time to get relief from pain and inflammation.
Alfalfa is a very good source of such minerals which help reduce the content of serum uric acid in blood. It also prevents the deposition and future conditions of gout making it an effective remedy for gout.
8. Move your Body but with Caution
When there are gout flare ups, you need to take extra precautions. While exercising is good for overall health and also for preventing gout flare ups, you need to have restrictions on joint movement once there is such a flare up.
- Avoid putting weight on your joints affected with gout. If it’s your big toe, stay off your feet as long as you can and till the time your gout attack subsides.
- As far as possible, keep your affected joint elevated. This simple rule of gravity helps in reducing inflammation by slowing down the flow of blood to your painful joint.
- During gout flare ups, keep your joint immobile for most of the times. Lying still helps. You may also like to build a splint for supporting and immobilizing your joint.
- If gout is in big toe, you better wear comfortable shoes offering a lots of room for the toes otherwise you can worsen your pain.
9. Exercises to Avoid Gout Flare ups
Exercising is essential, for gout-relief too. Exercises not only makes you lose weight, which is one of the prerequisites for avoiding gout but also keep your joints flexible. However, when there occurs gout flare up and your joint is a swollen painful lump, you should pay attention towards reducing your sufferings through proper diet, remedies and medicines and never do exercise. It may prolong your gout attack. Just gently moving your joints through its range of motion may prevent stiffness in such periods. It is when your gout flare up is subsided should you begin gradual exercising for regaining strength and movement of the muscles adjoining the joints.
I am citing certain exercises below that may help reduce your painful symptoms and recurrence of gout flare ups. While doing exercise, you must take utmost precaution because you certainly do not want to make the pain of your joints get worsened by exercising in the wrong way. It’s better to practically learn from trained teacher about how to do the exercises so that they go easy on your joints. One more caution- consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise.
Stretching is very good for getting relief from gout. Stretching exercises increase your joints flexibility as well as range of motion. When you stretch your muscles before and after workouts, you are ensuring that your joints do not get damaged easily. It also helps in decreasing the soreness you may feel after working out. These are some of the basic stretching exercises for your various body parts.
• Let both of your hands by your sides.
• Now roll your shoulders forward for about half minute.
• Then roll shoulders backwards for another 30 seconds.
• Repeat for about 5-10 times.
• Stretch your hands straight in front of you.
• Make fists.
• Now roll your wrists clockwise for 10 times.
• Then roll your wrists anti-clockwise for 10 minutes.
Back and Hamstrings
• Sit on the floor and place your legs straight out in front of you
• Now reach forward with hands out to touch your toes.
• Hold for about 10-15 seconds.
• Release and sit straight.
• Repeat for 3-5 times.
Cardiovascular and Aerobic Exercises
Whatever you do, you have to go for low impact exercises. Cardiovascular exercises help your lungs to function effectively so that your body is capable of using the more oxygen you get in metabolizing the acid in your body including uric acid. Aerobic exercises will strengthen your muscles belonging to lower body parts including those situated in joints. So what exercises to do? Here are some suggestions, they are all low impact exercises which will put lesser pressure on your joints.
• Brisk walking
• Climbing stairs
Do them after consulting your doctor and begin by doing only 10 minutes of exercises daily. Gradually increase the time and bring it to 30-40 minutes daily, five days a week.
Swimming is specially good for you or any other gout patient. Swimming, as well as water aerobics, increase mobility of your joints without putting full impact of gravity on them. Whenever you are in water, you are putting less stress on the joints. When swimming for gout relief, how fast you swim or how much distance do you cover doesn’t matter as much as how much time you spend in water. You should be there for about 30-45 minutes. However, start slowly with spending only about 15 minutes in water and then gradually increase your time there.
I am telling it again, before starting any exercise, consult your doctor. There’s one more thing to know. Exercising can help in stopping further build up of uric acid but you can not get rid of uric acid like you can with proper diet. Also don’t forget to stop exercising when there occur gout flair up. Once it subsides, you may start your daily exercise regime.
10. Some Quick Home Remedies for Gout Relief
Here are some more quick remedies for gout for you:
- Take two teaspoons each of apple cider vinegar and honey, mix and have it. You’ll get instant relief from pain and swelling due to the anti inflammatory properties of honey and malic acid of apple vinegar.
- Limit or totally avoid alcohol because it is a gout trigger. Your body retains the urate crystals due to alcohol and don’t let them be excreted out of body. Some of the recent studies suggest that even beer can increase the risk of gout symptoms, especially in men.
- Avoid taking over-the-counter water pills and other diuretics as they slow down the excretion of uric acid from your body thus help in increasing the risk of gout. However, if your doctor prescribes a diuretic for some condition like high blood pressure, you should make your doctor aware of your tendency toward gout attacks.
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises to ease your pain due to gout. This may sometimes reduce inflammation of joints too.
- Mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of water and drink it when you realize that there will be a spell of intense gout pain. There will always be a little pain before it gets bigger. If you have baking soda in water, you will instantly stop this pain from getting worse.
- When you suffer from gout attack, drink 2 to 4 liters of fluid every day, half of which should be water. Avoid alcohol and limit your daily intake of meat, fish and poultry to about 113 to 170 gm. Have moderate amount of protein from such healthy sources as low-fat or fat-free dairy, tofu, eggs, and nut butters.