Gout, aka Gouty Arthritis, is a form of chronic inflammation of the joints (arthritis) categorized by sharp pain, tenderness, and joint inflammation. Sometimes, we tend to focus on some “important” things in our lives, such as money and work, but we tend to forget about the “truly important” aspect of our lives, like our health. We need our joints to move about so we can work, take our families out to dinner, and adjust our sleeping positions to ensure a more comfortable sleep.
Take a minute to imagine what life would look like if you could not move correctly or if any little movement you make puts you through a lot of pain. One of the health conditions that can limit movement due to pains in the joint is Gouty Arthritis. Gout has once been called the “rich man’s disease,” “disease of kings,” and even the “king of diseases.” If you suffer from gout, you should know that many historical figures have suffered from this disease. Some include Alexander the Great, Isaac Newton, Christopher Columbus, King Henry VIII of England, and many other important people. It has been associated with overindulgence and gluttony. It is found majorly in developed countries; however, recently, it’s now found in less-developed countries. We will attempt to answer questions about what causes gout and its symptoms, summarize current medicines used, and give you some homeopathic, natural treatments for gout.
Cause and symptoms of gout
Gout affects approximately about 3 million people in the United States of America each year. Gout is caused by the excessive buildup of uric acid in the body (this is put in simple terms). Excessive buildup of uric acid can happen either when uric acid is overproduced in the body because of specific disease conditions or dieting habits – or when less than average uric acid is removed from the body (under-excretion of uric acid) due to kidney malfunctioning. Uric acid is soluble in body fluids; however, when it becomes too much, it forms crystals (i.e. crystalize). One way to demonstrate this is to add salt to a cup of water and mix until it dissolves. Keep adding more salt to the same cup and mixing. You will soon notice that, at some point, the salt will no longer dissolve in water. Instead, you will start seeing crystals of salt. These crystals can be deposited in the joints of the body and the kidneys, creating many problems. Note that excess uric acid in the body (hyperuricemia) does not always lead to Gouty Arthritis, however. The significant symptoms of gout are intense pain in the joints like the elbow, toes, wrist, knees, etc., tenderness in the joints (even a light touch from a piece of paper can cause intense pain), and swelling. Gout can be acute, where the attacks happen within a short time, or chronic, which happens as a result of Conventional medications typically used to treat gout, which may include painkillers (like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDs, except aspirin), oral corticosteroids (like prednisolone), colchicine, probenecid, and allopurinol among others.
Natural treatment for gout
Natural medicines can be a very useful adjunct to conventional medicines. There is a limit to conventional medicines in terms of side effects. For example, NSAIDs can aggravate stomach ulcers, and colchicine can cause severe diarrhea. Natural medicines, if used properly may give you a broader range of alternatives with perhaps better outcomes in managing Gouty Arthritis. However, dieting needs to be taken care of in addition to using medication or homeopathic medicine. Gout has been associated with overindulgence and gluttony, which is not wrong. You have to watch your diet. People suffering from gout must limit their intake of proteins and fats, which can increase the level of uric acid in the body. It is also advisable to avoid alcohol or reduce it as much as possible, as it has also been associated with gout. Exercise and the occasional use of ice packs on painful joints can help with the pain.
Some supplements that can be used as adjuncts include citrus fruits because they are rich in vitamin C. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) increases the levels of calcium carbonate in the body. Uric acid thrives in an acidic environment. Vitamin C helps alkalize the urine and facilitates the removal of uric acid from the body. As a plus, it boosts the immune system. Fruits like cranberries, raspberries, purple grapes, blackberries, and blueberries help with Gouty Arthritis too. They have antioxidant effects. Bromelain, celery seed, and gravel root can stimulate the removal of uric acid. Pine bark and curcumin have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and can help manage pain. Other valuable supplements and nutrients include watermelon, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM – 3000mg twice daily), baking soda, rosemary oil, cod liver oil, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Homeopathic treatment for gout
In addition to these herbal supplements, many homeopathic medicines can be used for gout. These homeopathic herbs include Rhododendron, Guaiacum, belladonna, and Sabina. Other valuable plants include hawthorn, ginger, hyssop, devil’s claw, parsley, spearmint, alfalfa, and Hydrangea. Plants like Colchicum autumnale, a natural source of colchicine medically used to treat gout, can be used (to prevent overdose, do not take this plant with colchicine). Nux vomica can be used for irritations and impatience in gout. Arthritin, Aconite, and Ledum can be used for pain and swelling of joints in Gouty Arthritis.
Some Homeopathic herbs used for gout include Rhododendron, Guaiacum, belladonna, and Sabina. Plants like Colchicum autumnale, a natural source of colchicine medically used to treat gout, can be used (to prevent possible overdose, do not take this plant with colchicine). Nux vomica can be used for irritations and impatience in gout. Arthritin, Aconite, and Ledum can be used for pain and swelling of joints in gout.
Colchicum: This is the plant Colchicum autumnale. You can guess the active chemical in the plant – colchicine – a drug already used in clinical practice for gout. It is used for swollen joints, significant toe swelling (typical of gout), and fever.
Ledum pal: This can be used to treat pain in the small joints, which include those of the toes and fingers. It is also very effective when used with cold compresses.
Arnica can be used for tenderness (pain when a part of the body is touched) which can be pretty extreme in Gouty Arthritis. It also helps with bruises and swelling.
Lycopodium is excellent in treating chronic gout, where a lot of uric acids have been deposited in the joints. This uric acid can form tophi which can be painful to the joints. It is also helpful in urine having reddish sediments, limited ability to pass urine, and extreme backaches characteristic of chronic gout.
Rhododendron treats swelling on the big toe and pain in other joints due to gout, which is usually worse in the morning.
Benzoic acid is used in cases where gout is accompanied by foul-smelling urine. It can be used if a person has stiff joints and pains in the big toe, characteristic of gout.
Urtica Urens help flush out uric acid from the body. It also helps with allergies, especially in cases of hives and pain in joints like the ankles and wrists.
In summary, homeopathic therapy can be used alone or as a great addition to conventional therapy (under the guidance of professionals) to give a more holistic and better management of gout and its symptoms. If done with the help of experts, potential overdose or drug-herb interactions can be avoided, and combinations that are synergistic and help improve the outcome of gout significantly can be obtained.