Alternative treatments for gout seek either to reduce pain during attacks or to lower uric acid levels, potentially preventing attacks. As is the case with many alternative treatments for any disease or condition, opinions are often mixed as to the efficacy of some treatment methods, and research is often minimal in comparison to traditional medicine treatments for gout.
However, many people have had success in using alternative treatments in the management of many diseases and conditions, including gout. Before trying any gout alternative treatments, you should always check with your doctor to be sure that the methods are safe and right for you.
Foods, Herbs, & Supplements
The following have shown at least some promise for gout:
Studies have found that consumption of both regular and decaffeinated coffee are associated with lower uric acid levels. It is not yet known why this is or what level of coffee consumption is optimal, nor whether individuals who drink more coffee are less likely to get gout.
Dark-colored fruits—including blackberries, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, and especially cherries—can help keep uric acid under control. One study found that eating half a pound of cherries daily for two weeks significantly reduced uric acid levels.
Consumption of moderate amounts of vitamin C—either via supplements or food—has also been connected to lower uric acid levels. However, very large doses of the vitamin can actually raise uric acid levels.
There are also several herbal supplements that have been found to effectively reduce inflammation: devil's claw, bromelain, and turmeric. These have not been specifically studied for gout, but they may help with the swelling and pain associated with an attack.
This technique from traditional Chinese medicine of placing very thin needles in specific places on the body has been found effective in treating various types of chronic pain. There have not yet been any studies done on acupuncture and gout specifically, but its pain-relieving properties are promising.
Hot & Cold Compress
During an acute gout attack, alternating between hot compress to the affected area for three minutes and a cold compress for 30 seconds can help reduce pain and swelling.