Gout is a painful form of arthritis that affects the joints. Flare-ups often target the joint of the big toe.
Gout is caused by a buildup of too much uric acid in your body. The excess uric acid causes needle-like crystals to form in joints, causing intense pain, stiffness, and swelling. Joint and skin discomfort can continue anywhere from several days to several weeks.
Gout treatment typically centers on medications to reduce inflammation and lower uric acid levels. Lifestyle changes can also help significantly.
The use of aloe vera (Liliaceae) as an at-home treatment for gout may also be beneficial.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that contains a gel within its leaves. Aloe vera has been used for centuries to treat skin conditions like sunburn and gastrointestinal issues like heartburn.
Aloe vera has not been studied extensively in humans for gout benefits. However, some people swear by its effectiveness.
Aloe vera has not been definitively shown in studies to be beneficial for gout. However, according to a
- vitamins A, C, and E: antioxidants that reduce inflammation
- bradykinase: an enzyme that relieves inflammation
- C-glucosyl chromone: an anti-inflammatory compound
- anthraquinones, including aloin and emodin: analgesics with antibacterial and antiviral properties
- fatty acids, including cholesterol and lupeol: plant steroids with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and analgesic properties
- auxins and gibberellins: plant hormones that support wound healing and have anti-inflammatory properties
- salicylic acid: a compound that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties
- saponins: plant-based compounds that contain cleansing and antiseptic properties
A small 2018 animal study suggested that alcoholic extract of aloe vera, taken internally, may reduce uric acid levels in bodily tissues.
Aloe vera can be grown in a garden or on a windowsill. It’s also commercially available in cream, ointment, or gel form. As a treatment for gout, you can use aloe vera directly on the skin.
If you wish to take aloe vera by mouth, you can buy it in capsule form or as a juice.
There’s no scientific evidence linking the consumption of aloe vera to gout relief.
There are no specific medical guidelines to follow when using aloe vera for gout. For that reason, you may wish to speak with a doctor before you try this or any at-home treatment. If you’re pregnant or nursing, don’t use aloe vera without speaking with a doctor first.
When used topically, aloe vera is safe for most people. Allergic reactions, such as burning or itching, may occur. If possible, use aloe vera when your skin is calm to see how it reacts before you use it on a joint affected by gout.
Aloe vera gel
When using manufactured products containing aloe vera, follow the manufacturer’s directions for topical use. Make sure to read the ingredients list to see if the product contains anything you may be allergic or sensitive to.
Aloe vera plant
If you grow aloe vera, you can use the gel within its leaves by following these steps:
- Look for the thickest leaves, which will contain the most gel.
- Gently clean the leaves off with water before cutting.
- Don’t use leaves that look moldy or discolored.
- Cut the leaves off the plant as close to their base as possible, using a sterile knife or scissor.
- Once the leaves are off the plant, trim their prickly edges, so you can get to the gel inside.
- Scrape out the interior gel with a sterile knife.
- Aloe vera leaves contain latex, which looks like a yellow-tinted liquid. Let the latex drain out before you use the gel.
- Spread a small amount of gel directly to the infected skin. Refrigerate the leftover gel for later use.
- Repeat several times daily.
Aloe vera may be more beneficial when combined with medically proven gout treatments. You and a doctor can create a multi-pronged treatment plan that makes sense for you.
A healthcare professional may recommend a combination of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications to treat flareups and reduce their occurrence.
Medications used to treat gout include:
- For symptom relief during flares: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), colchicine, and corticosteroids
- To prevent or reduce gout episodes: prescription drugs like Probenecid (available in pill or infusion form) that lower uric acid levels in the body
At-home treatments, such as the topical use of essential oils for gout, may have benefits.
Herbal treatments, such as those used in Ayurvedic medicine, may be helpful for reducing uric acid levels and for treating gout.
Preventive lifestyle changes
It may not be possible to eliminate gout completely, but lifestyle changes that include dietary modifications can help:
- Maintain a healthy weight to help reduce gout attacks and flares.
- Stay hydrated to support kidney function and reduce dehydration.
- Exercise can be beneficial. Choose low impact exercises that are easy on the joints, such as swimming.
- Reduce or eliminate consumption of alcoholic beverages, sugary beverages, and foods high in purines. Purines are chemical compounds that produce uric acid in the body. Foods to avoid include red meat, shellfish, and organ meat.
Surgery for gout is not usually needed. If, however, you’ve had untreated or recurrent gout for years, it may have caused damage to your joints or surrounding tissues. In these instances, a healthcare professional may recommend a procedure like joint replacement surgery.
Gout flares often happen at night while you’re asleep. If you suddenly experience intense, extreme pain in a joint like a big toe, contact a doctor soon. Medical assistance will be beneficial for reducing pain.
If you know that you have gout, see your doctor for regular checkups and maintenance of the condition. Untreated gout can cause complications, such as permanent joint damage.
People with gout may also be prone to other conditions requiring medical support. These include:
Questions you may have about treating gout include:
Does not seeing a doctor right away make gout worse?
Seeing a doctor right away can help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation. Untreated gout can lead to joint damage, which may require surgery.
Does aloe vera decrease uric acid?
It may. There is very little scientific evidence linking aloe vera to a reduction in uric acid. Some studies point to this possibility but most of these studies focused on animals like mice. Human studies on the effects of aloe for the treatment of gout are lacking.
What’s the fastest way to get rid of gout?
Medications that prevent or reduce the risk of future flareups are beneficial for alleviating gout. Lifestyle changes like dietary modifications can also help significantly.
Does aloe vera reduce joint pain?
Aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may reduce joint pain.
Aloe vera is a succulent that contains a gel-like substance. This gel contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may be beneficial for treating gout.
The pain and potential complications of gout usually require medical treatment. Speak with a healthcare professional about the treatments that make sense for you.