Ayurvedic treatment for gout and high uric acid is based on treating the root cause of joint pain. This helps to break the cycle of constant inflammation and provides long term relief to the patient.
If you are struggling with painful and inflamed joints that are affecting your daily life and restricting your movement; then do note that it is possible to resolve the misery with simple measures.
Gout and high uric acid is one of the common lifestyle disorders that is the primary cause of inflammatory arthritis in men and women. It is progressive in nature and if left untreated, gout can lead to disabilities.
That’s why it is important to act early to stop the progression of gout and reduce uric acid levels by adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. And Ayurveda can help you to do that!
In this post we will look into the causes and symptoms of gout. We will also go through Ayurvedic natural ways that you can adopt to stop gout and find relief from joint pain for good. Let’s begin!
What is Gout?
Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of burning pain, redness and tenderness in joints, often the joint at the base of the big toe. It is triggered by high uric acid levels in the blood.
Men usually have higher uric acid levels and hence more likely to get gout between the ages of 30 and 50. Usually, women become increasingly susceptible to gout after menopause as their uric acid levels increase.
What is the Relation between High Uric Acid and Gout?
Uric acid is a natural waste product created in the body while digesting purine rich foods such as seafood, alcohol, red meat, mushrooms and some vegetables.
A disorder in purine metabolism can lead to higher production of uric acid. At the same time if your body’s detoxification pathways are blocked (kidneys in this case), then there is accumulation of uric acid in the body leading to high levels.
High uric acid (Hyperuricemia) in the blood lead to formation of uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) in the joints, fluids, and other tissues within the body.
Hyperuricemia further causes inflammation, higher production of uric acid and slower kidney function. This triggers gout attack and painful joint symptoms. However, do note that high uric acid levels do not always cause gout.
High Uric Acid and Bursitis
Uric acid crystals can deposit in tiny fluid-filled sacs (bursae) around the joints. There they can irritate the joints and trigger bursitis due to inflammation, pain and swelling in the bursae.
Symptoms of Gout and High Uric Acid
Gout symptoms get flared up when you come across diet and lifestyle factors that cause gout in the first place. These flare ups or gout attack can last for weeks or months depending on the state of your health.
As it is an inflammatory disorder, you may have periods of remission with no symptoms lasting for months or years, when inflammation is controlled in the body.
Gout usually occurs in only one joint at a time. It is often found in the big toe. Along with the big toe, joints that are commonly affected are the lesser toe joints, the ankle, knees, fingers, elbows and wrist.
Symptoms in the affected joints may include:
During Gout Attack
- Severe pain. The pain is likely to be most severe within the first 12 to 24 hours after it begins.
- Burning sensation in the affected joints especially in feet and hands
After Gout Attack
Once the gout attack is over and severe pain subsides, there is still lingering discomfort and unease. It may last for few days to weeks.
If left untreated, you may experience repeated attacks of gout over the years. Later attacks are likely to last longer and affect more joints.
Health Complications of High Uric Acid
Gout is progressive in nature. If not treated in time, gout attacks can happen over and over. Over time, gout attacks can damage your joints, tendons and also other body organs involved in uric acid metabolism.
Repeated attacks of gout lead to formation of tophi (crystals) in the joints, leading to gouty Arthritis. Here are some health complications that may arise in later stages of gout:
- Damaged Joints
- Loss of Mobility
- Tophi nodules and crystal deposition in multiple joints and tissues of the body
- Bone loss
- Kidney Stones
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Bone deformities
Causes of Gout
High uric acid can be caused by multiple factors related to your diet, lifestyle and environment. Often these causes slowly affect your metabolism, thus leading to build up of uric acid levels in the body. One or more of these factors can be involved.
Usually, painful symptoms of gout also get triggered due to the factors listed below:
- Excessive intake of salty, sour and spicy foods. These aggravate Pitta dosha.
- Consumption of sugar, fructose and other sweeteners in excessive quantity
- A diet rich in purine foods such as red meat, seafood, mushrooms, tomato, cauliflower, dairy and dried beans.
- High alcohol consumption and/or smoking
- High intake of deep fried foods and unhealthy fats as refined oils and margarine.
- Diuretic medications
- Genetics and Hereditary factors
- Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Poor kidney function
- Overweight and excess belly fat
- Lack of physical activity
- High stress and anxiety
- Irregular sleeping hours
Tests and Diagnosis of Gout
- The most reliable test for gout is finding uric acid crystals in a sample of the joint fluid obtained by joint aspiration.
- Uric acid test via urine or blood tests can help to diagnose and monitor gout. Normal uric acid levels are between 2.4 and 6.0 mg/dL for females and 3.4 and 7.0 mg/dL for males. Other helpful blood tests are:
- White blood cell count to know inflammation
- Electrolytes to know kidney function
- Renal function to judge kidney health
- CRP to assess inflammation
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- X-rays to see tophi crystal deposits and bone damage.
An Ayurvedic View of High Uric Acid, Gout and Joint Pain
Gout is known as Vatarakta in Ayurveda. It involves vitiation of Vata dosha, Pitta Dosha and Rakta Dhatu (blood tissues). However, as the disease progresses it involves multiple body tissues such as muscles and bones too.
Gout is also known as Khuddavata. “Khudda” means joint and small, hence the disease affecting mostly the smaller joints of the body.
The origins of gout lie in toxin build up in the body that create poor digestive fire and inflammation of the joints. It also disturbs the dosha and together they start affecting the health of the body tissues and mala (excretory organs as kidneys, skin and large intestine)
Thus, if toxin build up and dosha imbalance is not handled at the right stage, gout can progress to affect multiple body tissues and may involve all dosha and mala (wastes from the body).
Ayurvedic Treatment of Gout
High uric acid and gout problems are handled at the root cause level in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic treatment for Gout is based on supporting the digestive fire, systematic detoxification and strengthening the function of the digestive tract (colon specifically).
This is achieved with Ayurvedic herbs and foods that ignite the digestive fire, enhance the assimilation of the food and remove Ama – toxins from the body.
Additionally, one may need Ayurvedic therapies such as Panchakarma that involve deep cleansing of digestive system. This helps to remove inflammation from the colon and improve its functioning.
Now, let’s look into details of Ayurvedic herbs, diet and lifestyle that can help you to achieve that:
1. Ayurvedic Herbs for Gout
Ayurveda suggests suitable herbs to promote detoxification, kindle digestive fire and pacify the vitiated dosha. Provided here is a list of herbs and Ayurvedic formulations that reduce inflammation, promote the digestive fire and balance Vata Pitta Dosha.
Regular consumption of these Ayurvedic herbs helps to break the cycle of inflammation, reduces pain and prevents damage to the joints.
All the herbs and formulations that have been shared in this post are for information purpose only. All of these are potent Ayurvedic medicines that should be taken under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic doctor only. Do not indiscriminately use Ayurvedic herbs as it may cause more harm than benefit.
1. Bhumi amalaki
This herb is useful in the management of inflammations, sores, and swellings. Thus, it is useful in the management of gout. Remember that gout results from high uric acid.
Amla keeps the Agni fire in check. So, it regulates metabolism and prevents the formation of excess uric acid.
Gokshura helps in breaking down stones. Therefore, it can break down those uric acid crystals in your joints.
4. Giloy | Guduchi
Giloy fights inflammation. Alongside that, it has various health benefits:
- Improves the function of the digestive tract
- It helps regulate blood sugar levels if consumed routinely.
- It plays a role in regulating blood pressure.
This herb aids digestion. It is a combination of three herbs: Amla, Behada, and Harad. You stand to gain a lot from Triphala. Here are some health benefits:
- Boosts metabolism
- Improves bowel movement
- Detoxification of body cells
- Boosts immune system
Turmeric is a well-known blood purifier and anti-inflammatory herb It comes packed with an abundance of health benefits:
- Reduces inflammation and prevents infection.
- Strengthens the immune system against various pathogens.
- Turmeric improves the function of the digestive tract and removes toxins from the blood.
Punarnava is an excellent herb that supports the function of kidneys, pacifies Pitta and Vata Dosha and also decreases the irritation in joints. It flushes the toxins through urine and also helps to remove excessive fluid from the body. This further reduces inflammation of the joints and reduces uric acid levels.
8. Musta (Nagarmotha)
Musta is also known as nutgrass and nagarmotha. It is a potent herb to pull out inflammation and toxins from the body. It regulates Pitta and Vata dosha and also supports metabolism. This reduces production of uric acid and also in flushing out excess toxins from the body.
2. Your Diet – Ahara
In Ayurveda Gout and High uric acid is considered to be a result of faulty lifestyle and foods. Excessive consumption of salty, sour, hot, spicy, and heavy to digest foods vitiates the Doshas resulting in inflammation and poor metabolism.
A diet involving Sweet, Bitter and Astringent tastes is highly beneficial to reduce uric acid levels and promote metabolism. These tastes help to pacify Pitta and Vata Dosha and also supply the required nutrients to remove the deficiencies.
Thus your diet can improve your chances of having smooth joint function, good metabolism and balanced nutrition.
Best Foods to Reduce Uric Acid
- Include blood purifying and antioxidants rich foods in your daily diet. Some examples are: watercress, green leafy vegetables, black raisins, green tea, ginger and garlic.
- Prefer cooling and normal temperature beverages such as coconut water, still water, and herbal teas.
- Consume foods that promote your digestive fire and help you to reduce inflammation. Some examples are: apple, berries, mangoes, oranges, avocados, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, celery, garlic, onions, sprouts, barley, oats and wheat.
- Eat vegetables and foods that help to support detoxification. Some examples are: Apricots, green banana, cherry, coconut, kiwi, lemon, carrots, green beans, leeks, oats, quinoa and rice.
- Oils to prefer are Ghee, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil. These will provide you with the right source of energy to keep your metabolism, energy levels and hence joint function in place.
Diet Habits to Reduce Inflammation
- Avoid high protein diet and animal products like meat, dairy, seafood and eggs.
- Drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated at all times.
- Take salads in moderation during lunch time or morning, but avoid salads in evening.
- Prefer Astringent and Bitter tasting vegetables, fruits, and grains.
- Do not hold off hunger or delay your meals. Always eat on the same time every day.
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables in your diet.
3. Worst Foods for Gout
According to Ayurveda sour, salty and pungent tastes can aggravate Pitta and Vata dosha. Hence, these foods should be consumed in moderation.
Additionally, you should avoid processed foods and all the stimulants that create toxins in the body. Here’s a list of foods and dietary habits that you should avoid:
- Eliminate foods with a hot potency and hot temperature such as chili and cayenne pepper.
- Avoid high purine vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, peas, tomato, cauliflower and mushrooms.
- Reduce your intake of non-veg foods, especially red meat or foods that are high on fat.
- Lower your intake of foods that have a high glycemic index.
- Avoid excess salt, chilies, spices, sour foods, and pickles.
- Reduce the use of caffeine, stimulants, refined sugar, and cold drinks.
- Stop consuming junk food, and carbonated drinks.
- Avoid untimely meals, multiple meals, late night foods, and snacks.
- Stop the consumption of processed foods and packaged foods.
- Remove and avoid smoking, alcohol and nicotine.
4. Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips for Gout
A faulty lifestyle involving excessive stress, lack of sleep, emotional distress and excessive physical work trigger an imbalance of Dosha resulting in gout pain and inflammation.
Ayurvedic lifestyle tips provide guidance daily routine that helps to establish mental wellness. Here’s what you should do:
- Manage and reduce stress levels by either avoiding stressful activities or by better planning. Stress is one sure way to trigger inflammation and weakened immune system.
- Practice regular meditation to help you relax and reduce your stress levels.
- Reduce your exposure to endocrine disrupting materials such as BPA and Dioxins. They push in multiple toxins in the body leading to inflammation and poor liver and kidney function.
- Avoid Smoking, Alcohol and any other stimulants. All of these disturb the dosha and create additional toxin build up in the body.
- Keep a regular, again, regular, sleep pattern in the night. Learn here on Ayurvedic guidelines for good sleep.
- Avoid sleeping during the daytime as it pushes your body’s natural rhythm and metabolism out of order.
- Limit or avoid exposure to heat, e.g. from sunlight.
5. Physical Activity and Exercise
- Engage in regular, relaxing, calming, and cooling physical activity.
- Exercise at least 3 – 5 days a week through stabilizing workout routines such as involving in recreational and non-competitive sports, traditional dances, swimming, hiking, running or brisk walking in nature or near water, yoga, Tai Chi, or Cycling.
- Avoid over exertion and excessive stretch. As a golden rule, exercise up to 50% of your body’s capacity.
- Regularly practice breathing exercises (pranayama) to improve oxygen circulation, relax your mind and naturally detoxify your body through the lungs pathways. Here are the helpful breathing exercises:
- Anuloma Viloma Pranayama
- Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Bhramari Pranayama
- 3 Part Deep Breathing
Before you Go!
Gout symptoms are painful and may lower your confidence of ever finding relief. Yet, you should know that it is possible to heal the joints and remove the source of high uric acid by making simple changes in your diet and lifestyle.
The key is to start early! This is because gout is progressive in nature. You should start small and keep building up your healthy lifestyle practices on top of one another to create a strong support for your joints.
So start today! Do write to us for any queries and feedback. If you have tried any of the above natural approaches for gout, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!