The People's Perspective on Medicine

What Are the Natural Remedies for Gout?

Natural remedies for gout, such as tart cherries, celery seed or a DASH diet, can significantly ease the suffering that a person experiences.

Gout is a miserable condition. It causes intense, excruciating pain, redness and swelling in one or more joints. Often, the pain may start at the base of the big toe, but other joints frequently hurt just as much. While there are medications that can ease the agony, many people would like natural remedies for gout. Which ones work?

Q. Are there any natural approaches for relieving gout? Please help! This attack has put me down for now and I don’t like it. I am taking allopurinol that my doctor prescribed, but it is not working fast enough. Labor pains weren’t this bad!

Natural Remedies for Gout:

A. There are a few natural products that can help lower uric acid in the body. During a gout flare-up, uric acid crystals precipitate into the joints and cause the excruciating pain you are experiencing.

Sour Cherries:

Perhaps the favorite natural remedy to lower uric acid is tart cherries. Fresh, frozen or dried cherries, cherry juice or Montmorency cherry extract all seem to do the job. Healthy women who eat cherries have lower uric acid levels in their blood (Jacob et al, Journal of Nutrition, June 2003).  Even consuming sweet cherries seems to lower inflammation (Kelley et al, Journal of Nutrition, April 2006). There don’t appear to be any clinical trials of sour cherries for gout, however.

Celery Seed:

Another natural product that may help is celery seed. Celery is rich in luteolin, a compound that slows the production of uric acid (Yan et al, Food Chemistry, Dec. 15, 2013). Green peppers also contain luteolin and could be beneficial.

Diet Offers Natural Remedies for Gout:

Losing weight is a long-term strategy that might be helpful for some folks. Including nonfat milk and low-fat yogurt and avoiding high-purine foods like meat and seafood can help with prevention (Schlesinger, Current Pharmaceutical Design, 2005). People with gout who avoid or reduce their consumption of beer and other alcoholic beverages often do better.

DASH Diet:

The Health Professionals Follow-up Study collected data on 44,444 men over 26 years. During that time, those who followed a dietary pattern similar to the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) were about 30 percent less likely to experience an initial gout attack (Rai et al, BMJ, May 9, 2017). A Western-style diet with abundant processed meats, sweets, French fries and desserts raised the risk for gout. People starting a DASH diet have lower uric acid in their blood within a month (Tang et al, Clinical Rheumatology, June 2017).

If you need guidance on how to follow a DASH diet, you’ll find it in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.


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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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The comment above is spot on. Joe and Terry are the only outlet available because of the clout of the drug and insurance companies. Great topic for a show!

I’ve had great success with lemon water drinking same 1/2 hr to 1 hour prior to meal,also take celery seed capsules. I take the lemon water twice a day prior to the noon & evening meal.

I have a tendency to gout, even though I eat a small handful of Dried Montmorency Cherries every day….When & if, I feel a gout attack coming on, I double down on the cherries, eating several small handfuls several times a day, then in addition, I take 6-8 Celery Seed Extract pills several times a day…
This regimen, can usually wrap up my gout attack in less than 24 hours…Wheeww !!!
As a last resort, on day 2 or 3, I finally relent, and will take 2 tablets of Indomethacin [25mlg] 3-4 times a day with food…
Haven’t needed to use those though in several years…

Was the gluten free diet discussed? I only caught the second half of the show. I’m interested because my father had gout and recently my blood work showed a gluten allergy and a milk allergy. I find this interesting. I have a daughter who manifested developmental delay. As a 3 year old toddler, she was at the developmental level of an 18 month old. (She was born in 1990. Back in 1990s, there was all that talk about the gluten free diet for kids with autism. One night I googled “gout autism” and found info about what was called purine autism. That this form of autism was considered a defect of purine metabolism AND gout is also considered to be a defect of purine autism. Curiously, this form of PMD seemed to go nowhere…kids were thought to grow out of it as they aged into puberty. Is it possible that when these kids entered puberty, and the sex hormones kicked in, that the hormones masked the condition? Or did kids miraculously grow out of a condition? (I found the same concept pitched about soy allergies, that kids grew out of them. Maybe that’s why soy is not taken seriously with respects to food allergies.

In the intervening years, I’ve through my menopause and I believe that it is indeed, a form of purine metabolic defect that is masked by sex hormones. My cholesterol was high. I had awful fatigue, and intestinal bloating that turned into painful inflammation. I gained 30 pounds trying to assuage the pain in my gut. It took me a while but I noticed that my problem centered around legumes. This included green beans that I realized were the cause of my feet hurting and burning, as well as problems with peas and even gums and thickeners derived from beans. Now, my father used to joke that he liked beans, but they didn’t like him. He died of a heart attack at age 57. It took me a long time to put it together…the hallmarks are the sex hormones AND inflammation. What I suspect is that gluten is not the only trigger for autoimmune conditions. Something in the legumes could be also.

For years I couldn’t say anything about this, but since I’ve heard a couple instances of gout sufferers being put on the gluten free diet, I think it’s time to speak up. I know that there are more than 30 PMDs already recognized, and I think since I don’t manifest gout I would be recognized as having a “mild form”. But what I think is so interesting is the thread of who is getting the gluten free diet. It was used by Dr. Curtis Dohan in the ’60’s as an approach to treat schizophrenia, in the ’90’s for autism and now in this decade to treat gout. Is there something here that we can learn from?

Terry and Joe, I apologize for not waiting to listen to the show until it is made available on this website, and that I might be terribly off topic. But I think it is something we need to think about…does gout represent a tip of the iceberg for purine defects and that there are a whole host of disorders that have intolerances to more than just gluten? I think it’s needed to speak up. My father was intolerant of beans. He died of a heart attack. I had a coworker who was allergic to peanuts. She had an exposure, and died of a heart attack. I know a family where the father has gout and is gluten free and has a son who has a peanut allergy. I think something’s going on, and we can’t continue to ignore the subtle signs that there are more physical triggers for autoimmune conditions than just gluten. It may be that legumes, not just soy or peanuts, and may also extend to molds and spores in some disorders. You can’t treat cancer effectively by treating the symptoms. You have to understand and address what is truly going. Same thing for gout or other disorders that may pop up in the family line. You have to address the primary cause.

Very interesting, Rebecca. My husband gets occasional gout. I guess you would say it’s not minor but not major either. If the origins are allergies to certain foods. The logical way to find out would be trying elimination diets first. We are seeing more and more how individual we all are and how we should all listen to our bodies. So just because, for example, fruit is advocated as part of a healthy diet, it may not be right for everyone. My husband only eats bananas and only in the last 20 years has eaten a broader range of vegetables. He is a reasonably healthy 70 years old. Just like there are restrictions for blood donations by blood type, there may be food-type restrictions, too. Just a thought.

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