As Americans grow older, they become ever more conscious of aches and pains in their joints. While many people rely on prescription or OTC pain relievers such as diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam or naproxen, others prefer to use natural approaches. One reader was surprised to discover that celery seed extract eased ordinary joint pain as well as gout.
Easing Arthritis and Gout:
Q. I’ve had knee pain for the last 10 years or so. Taking turmeric helped it quite a bit.
I also have gout. When I read that celery seed extract could control my uric acid level and help my gout, I started taking it too. The celery seed extract has really helped my gout, but to my surprise, my knee pain subsided almost completely.
I’m walking several miles a day now, although an orthopedic surgeon had said that my knee was too far gone for any arthroscopic surgery, just bone on bone, with nothing left to repair. He thought the only resolution was knee replacement.
Celery Seed for Inflammation:
A. Celery (Apium graveolens) is a vegetable that dates back many centuries. The seeds have long been prized for their ability to lower inflammation (Powanda, Whitehouse & Rainsford, Progress in Drug Research, online, July 31, 2015). This vegetable has strong antioxidant activity (Kooti & Daraei, Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, Oct. 2017).
Celery Seed Against Gout:
Elevated levels of uric acid are responsible for gout. Luteolin in celery seed inhibits the enzyme xanthine oxidase that produces uric acid in the body (Yan et al, Food Chemistry, Dec. 15, 2013). While we could find no clinical trials to support this natural approach, the mechanism is plausible. Scientists are developing ways to identify the celery seed components that inhibit xanthine oxidase (Biomedical Chromatography, Nov. 2021). We’ve heard from other readers that celery seed extract can aid in gout control.
You are not the only reader to get relief from celery seed. We heard recently from a reader who used celery seeds and yogurt with strawberries.
Celery Seeds and Probiotics:
Q. After 10 years and three doctors trying to control my gout, I seem to have found a cure that they could not. It started with your column when a man stated that eating celery seeds helped with his gout.
I began adding ¼ teaspoon of celery seeds to my breakfast every day. I found online resources suggesting that eating probiotic foods could help with gout. Although my diet was very good overall, it did not contain many probiotics.
I started taking a live probiotic supplement and eating a bowl of yogurt with strawberries daily. Within two months, I was off all the meds that the various doctors had prescribed (including colchicine, prednisone, allopurinol and ibuprofen).
Nine months later, I am still gout free. This has totally changed my life. Do you know any studies that would confirm the success of probiotics?
Probiotics to Lower Uric Acid:
A. To our surprise we discovered that there is indeed research linking the bacteria in our digestive tracts to gout (NPJ Biofilms and Microbiomes, Aug. 9, 2021). This inflammatory condition is caused by high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.
Fermented foods high in lactic acid bacteria can lower uric acid levels (Gut Microbes, March 25, 2021). A small randomized clinical trial showed that a diet containing yogurt with a live Lactobacillus culture could reduce high uric acid levels in patients with gout (Modern Rheumatology, Jan. 2019).
Of course, we will need larger clinical trials to confirm this observation. That said, probiotics and fermented foods can be beneficial for our digestive tracts. If your regimen continues to control uric acid levels, it might be a safe way to prevent another painful gout attack.
Anyone who would like to learn more about natural approaches for controlling gout may find our eGuide to Favorite Home Remedies helpful. You can learn more about diet, celery seeds and sour cherries lowering uric acid levels.
Celery Seeds Instead of Cherry Juice:
Q. A reader asked about non-prescription help for gout. I have it and tried your tart cherry juice recommendation. That didn’t work for me.
Previously, someone else suggested celery seeds. I find it helps a lot. I take about a quarter teaspoon a day with my other supplements. What’s more, limiting sugar and refined carbs really helps, too. If I eat a sugary dessert, I can feel it very quickly in my gouty big toes!
A. While celery seed isn’t as well known as tart cherries, it does have an ancient reputation as a gout remedy.
We have found some recent research establishing its ability to lower uric acid and block xanthine oxidase in rodents (Molecular Medicine Reports, Nov. 2019). Elevated uric acid contributes to gout flareups. Another study in mice found that combining parsley and celery extracts works even better to control the effects of gout (Scientific Reports, June 11, 2020).
Sugar Makes Gout Worse:
You are smart to avoid sugar. A diet rich in fructose-containing foods or beverages is a risk factor for gout (American Family Physician, Nov. 1, 2020). Table sugar (sucrose) is half glucose and half fructose. Some sweet treats are pretty rich in fructose, although the fructose in whole fruit is not necessarily a problem (Rheumatology, July 1, 2019).
Celery Seed Eased Mother’s Gout:
Q. My 92-year-old Mom began having excruciating ankle pain about four months ago. She has seen five doctors, including three podiatrists, a chiropractor and an emergency room visit. They all said her pain was due to osteoarthritis or plantar fasciitis.
While researching ankle pain I discovered that gout can sometimes affect other joints besides the big toe and that celery seed extract may be helpful. I bought some for my mother and after a week or two she says her ankle pain is gone although she still has occasional shooting pain into her big toe.
I feel better having her on celery seed extract rather than the ibuprofen she was taking. We were both worried about the possible side effects of that drug.
A. Gout can indeed affect other joints besides the big toe, and the pain can be excruciating. Many medications can raise uric acid levels and increase the likelihood of developing gout. Moreover, you are wise to find an alternative to daily ibuprofen for her. Older individuals are especially vulnerable to digestive tract irritation and bleeding from NSAIDs.
Drugs to lower uric acid levels can help manage gout. Celery seed extract and tart cherries are home remedies for gout, and celery seed has anti-inflammatory effects (Inflammopharmacology, Dec., 2003).