Gout is a painful condition that results from the formation of crystals within the joints. For this reason, gout is classified as a type of arthritis. It can affect anyone and some of the symptoms associated with the condition include pain that sets on suddenly, tenderness around the affected joints as well as redness. Many people who suffer from gout will also get inflammation in the joint area. The most commonly affected parts of the body include the joints within the hand and wrist, the knees as well as the ankles.
The precise cause of gout remains unknown, but research points to the fact that excessive uric acid in the body is one of the major causes. Following a number of reactions, the uric acid crystallizes, and is responsible for the intense pain within the joints. Gout has also been attributed to excessive alcohol intake, a sedentary lifestyle as well as high levels of stress. Genetics are also known to play a role so that some people are more predisposed to getting gout than others are. More importantly, gout is, in many cases, related to other conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney stones and diabetes.
For this reason, it is imperative to get immediate medical attention to halt the progress of gout. In mild cases, or at the onset, affected persons can use an array of home remedies to take on a natural treatment course. Most of the remedies provided below work by providing relief from the pain, and are effective when used regularly over a considerable period of time.
1. Fresh Lemon Juice:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: 1 Lemon, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 glass of warm water.
Lemon juice is a choice remedy for the home treatment of gout. In order to deal with the pain, part of the remedy must incorporate neutralization of the uric acid. A mixture of fresh lemon juice and baking soda creates an alkaline environment, in effect countering the effects of the acid. In addition to this, lemon juice is full of Vitamin C that plays a key role in ensuring that your connective tissues remain strong.
- Roll the lemon between the palms of your hands in order to stimulate the fibers to produce juice.
- Wash the lemon and proceed to juice.
- To the fresh lemon juice, add the baking soda and stir. The mixture will bubble for a few minutes when you add the baking soda, and this is perfectly normal.
- Once the bubbling stops, pour in the water and take the remedy immediately.
- Use the remedy twice daily – early morning and at bedtime works well for many people.
2. Raw Ginger Root:
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Raw ginger root (about 1 inch), grater, 1 cup warm water and honey (optional natural sweetener).
The intense flareups of pain caused by gout make it incredibly hard to carry on with one;s daily activities. One of the ways in which you can deal with this pain is to use raw ginger. The herb is packed with anti-inflammatory properties that help get rid of the inflammation and give you relief from the pain.
These healing properties are attributed to the presence of a set of active compounds known as gingerols. The choice method of preparation is dependent on your preference: some opt to take the herb orally while a good number prefer to make a paste for topical application. Whichever the preferred method is, consistency is key in order to tap into the remedy’s efficiency.
Method 1: Preparing Ginger Tea
- Peel and clean the raw ginger.
- Grate it to get small shavings of the ginger herb.
- Place the grated ginger in a pan and add the warm water.
- Turn on the heat to boil the mixture.
- Once boiled, turn off the heat and let the herb steep for 5 minutes.
- Take this ginger tea twice daily.
Method 2: Preparing the Ginger paste
- Peel and clean the raw ginger.
- Grind the raw ginger to get a thick paste. You may add water to the paste to make it easy to use.
- Apply the paste on the affected joint and let it dry well for 30 minutes.
- Rinse the joint area using warm water.
- Use this remedy twice daily.
3. Epsom Salt:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 2 Cups of Epsom salt, warm bath water and a clean towel.
Epsom salt is yet another excellent remedy for the treatment of gout. The salts have a high concentration of Magnesium which help relieve the pain and inflammation around the affected joints. Soaking in the warm water is the perfect way to ease the tenderness associated with this form of arthritis. For those whose gout is closely linked to increased blood pressure, the Magnesium in Epsom salts helps stabilize and lower the blood pressure over a period of time. Follow the directions below whenever you need to ease the symptoms of gout using Epsom salt.
- Place the 2 cups of Epsom salt in the tub and run the warm water.
- Soak in this water for at least half an hour or until the water starts cooling down.
- Do this thrice weekly for best results.
4. Stay Hydrated, Drink Enough Water:
Time Required: Varied throughout the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water.
As mentioned above, uric acid is the main cause of gout. The acid crystallizes within the joints, and is responsible for the pain in this condition. When the acid is not excreted effectively by the kidneys, it creates kidney stones. One of the best ways to deal with this is to stay hydrated. Water intake not only assists the kidneys to function optimally, it also helps in the expulsion of the uric acid before it has the opportunity to crystallize, leading to gout. This is one of the best habits to pick up for those who suffer from gout: sustained water intake during the day.
- The recommended amount of water is often pegged at 8 glasses of water, but if you have gout, you could do your body a lot of good by increasing this amount. The trick to doing this successfully lies in keeping a full water bottle at hand. This way, you can take small sips of water round the clock, and before you know it, you will have done more than the usual recommendation of 8 glasses daily.
NOTE: For some, there is the concern that this is too much water considering that more often than not, there are other fluids. The advantage of water is that it helps clean the body and get rid of toxins faster. If you opt for increased water and fluid intake, ensure that at least 50% of your daily intake is water. Some of the fluids you may take include fresh fruit juices, broth and soup.
5. Regular Exercise:
Time Required: Depends on the specific exercise
What You Need: Appropriate gear depending on your choice exercise
Regular exercise is an integral part of treating gout naturally. The logic behind this option is to reduce the concentration of uric acid in the body. What’s more, burning those calories has an effect on the levels of insulin in the blood. This in turn, goes a long way in reducing the number of flareups as well as the intensity of the same. Simply choose an exercise that is ideal for you, preferably guided by your personal doctor to prevent placing too much strain on the joints.
- Once your doctor has advised on the way forward, you may embark on your exercise routine.
- Make sure you use appropriate exercise gear.
6. Cold Water Therapy:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: Cold water and ice cubes (optional).
Sometimes, all you have to do to manage the pain linked to gout is to use cold water. By putting the tender joint in cold water, you are able to numb the skin and therefore get pain relief. The only thing you need to be cautious about is the use of ice directly on the skin as this causes mild frostbites which ultimately worsen the condition. Cold water therapy is also ideal as it helps reduce the swelling at the affected joint.
- Put the cold water in a basin. You may add ice cubes to lower the temperatures and improve efficiency of the same.
- Soak the affected joint in the water for 20 minutes.
- Use this remedy as often as is required.
7. Ripe Bananas:
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: At least 2 ripe bananas daily
Bananas are a common and delicious fruit globally. They make an ideal option for the natural treatment of gout as they contain a high amount of potassium (in fact, one of the highest sources of potassium). The potassium present, once absorbed by the body, allows for the crystlas to turn to liquid form so that the content is easily excreted by the kidneys through urine. Bananas have also been found to contain high amounts of Vitamin C which not only strengthen tissue in the body, but also boosts the immune system.
- Simply indulge in a banana or two daily.
Time Required: 5 Min
What You Need: Daily serving of cherries (either of sweet or sour can work).
Cherries are a popular home remedy for the treatment of gout, thanks to the high concentration of antioxidants present. These antioxidants help reduce the formation of the uric acid crystals, in turn reducing the intensity of the flareups and overall lowering the pain associated with the same. The beauty about this remedy is that you have the choice of either the sweet or the sour cherries.
- Take a handful of cherries daily. For efficiency, take the cherries in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach.
9. Activated Charcoal:
Time Required: 30 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Cup of charcoal powder and warm water. Activated charcoal capsules (optional).
Activated charcoal has excellent absorption properties which is what makes it just perfect for the treatment of uric acid. When applied topically on the affected joint, the charcoal soaks up the uric acid and provides pain relief. Use this remedy four times weekly. There is also the option of taking activated charcoal capsules orally, but this should only be done under the guidance of a medical doctor.
- Place the charcoal powder in a bowl and add water slowly as you stir until you have a thick paste.
- Add the paste to the tub and run warm water.
- Soak the affected joint in this water for 30 minutes.
- If you opt to take activated charcoal capsules, make sure you consult your doctor.
It also helps to reduce the amount of caffeine you take as this adds the workload to the kidneys’ function, making it harder to excrete the uric acid. The same is applicable for organ meats as they are particularly rich in uric acid, and worsen gout for obvious reasons. In the same breath lower or completely eliminate alcohol intake. Alcohol causes dehydration, which in turn hastens the process of crystallization. With the different remedies available, you can always find one which works for you and offers pain relief. In extreme cases as happens with chronic gout, it is important to seek medical attention.