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Natural remedies for gout focus on diet and lifestyle factors that help correct the effects of excess uric acid in the system. A change in diet may help reduce uric acid, relieving the symptoms of gout. Meat and other foods rich in purines, which are broken down into uric acid, should be avoided; cherries, other dark fruits and some additional foods and supplements can be helpful. Relaxation and certain herbal supplements can also relieve symptoms.
The causes of gout are almost always associated with a malfunction in uric acid metabolism and excretion. Certain types of foods are high in purines; the body breaks these down into a soluble form of uric acid, which is normally easy to eliminate. People who suffer from gout often lack an adequate amount of a specific digestive enzyme the keeps uric acid in its soluble form so it can be excreted. When uric acid is in its insoluble form, it builds up in the body and crystallizes in the joints, especially in the big toe. The crystals are long and needlelike, causing pain, swelling and redness.
One of the best natural remedies for gout is eating the correct foods. As they increase the levels of uric acid in the body as described above, foods rich in purines can aggravate this condition, so they should be avoided. In addition to meat, foods in this category include sardines and anchovies, mushrooms, asparagus and peanuts. Rich desserts, alcohol and meat gravies are also believed to aggravate gout. These foods should all be eliminated from the diet.
Cherries and cherry juice are frequently advocated as natural remedies for gout. Other dark fruits including raspberries and blueberries may also lower the level of uric acid in the body and are recommended as home remedies. Foods such as rice, green vegetables, corn, yogurt and cheese are also recommended. People suffering from gout are advised to drink plenty of pure water and get sufficient vitamin C. Water helps the kidneys eliminate uric acid from the body.
While suffering a gout attack, some advocates of natural remedies for gout recommend a strict diet of only raw fruits and vegetables supplemented with some whole grains for a week or more. Gout can be quite painful as the needle-shaped crystals penetrate tissues. As the levels of uric acid in the body drop, the pain is gradually alleviated. For quicker pain relief, cayenne pepper is suggested. It can be used topically to relieve the pain or taken as capsules.
Other natural remedies for gout include relaxation techniques to help alleviate pain and taking herbs that reduce inflammation in the joints. Deep breathing and meditation can be used to lessen the pain during gout attacks. Herbs that help reduce inflammation and pain include turmeric and celery seed extract. Other anti-inflammatory herbs include aloe vera, alfalfa, bilberry and cat’s claw.
The kidneys are responsible for eliminating uric acid from the blood. Specific herbs have been shown to support the kidneys as they filter the blood. Burdock is believed to help the kidneys excrete excess uric acid. Other herbs that support the kidneys and purify the blood include celery seed and parsley seed extracts and dandelion root.