Gout is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints. It is an intensely painful disease, and in most cases affects only one joint. In 75% of cases, gout will attack the big toe; however, it can also affect other joints such as the ankle, heel, instep, knee, wrist, elbow, fingers, and spine.
What Causes Gout?
Although the exact cause of gout is unknown, it is thought to be linked to defects in purine metabolism. Purine is an organic compound commonly found in the body and is metabolized by the body to create uric acid. People with primary gout have either an increased production of uric acid or an impaired excretion of uric acid, or a combination of both. Certain types of chemotherapy can promote gout due to rapid tumor breakdown.
The classic picture is of excruciating and sudden pain, swelling, redness, warmness, and stiffness in the joint. Low grade fever may also be present. The patient usually suffers from two sources of pain: the crystals inside the joint cause intense pain whenever the affected area is moved, and the inflammation of the tissues around the joint causes the skin to be swollen, tender, and sore if it is even slightly touched.
Dietary change can make a contribution by lowering the plasma urate level if a diet low in purines is maintained because the body metabolizes purines into uric acid. Gout sufferers should avoid high purine foods such as meat, fish, dry beans, lentils, peas, mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower, shellfish, white flour, yeast, and sugar. Alcohol, aspirin, and high sodium foods should also be eliminated from the diet.
Consuming purine neutralizing foods, such as fresh fruits (especially cherries and strawberries) and most fresh vegetables, diluted celery juice, and distilled water. B complex and C vitamins can also help.
Here is an old English treatment for gout: Black cherry juice, apple cider vinegar, and horsetail herb (organic silica is a natural diuretic). It is a little raspy on the palate, so add some honey and water before chugging it down.
Additional gout remedies include bilberry, which is great for arthritis and has a collagen stabilizing affect; enzymes, especially bromelain, which is prevalent in pineapple; burdock root, which helps reduce swelling; and quercetin and bio flavonoids, which counteract the effects of xanthine oxidase, an enzyme that promotes uric acid production.
Make a tea of bilberry, burdock root, and sarsaparilla (a natural diuretic). This decoction will help get and keep the swelling down. Take vitamin C (3 grams a day) and niacin (50 mg) with food.