Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. It happens when the body makes excess uric acid, a normal waste product.

About two-thirds of the uric acid in your blood is naturally made by your body. The rest is produced when your body breaks down substances called purines, which are found in many foods. High-purine foods include seafood, red meat, and alcohol.

Normally, your kidneys get rid of uric acid. But if they can’t properly flush it out, the uric acid accumulates and forms crystals in your joints. These uric acid crystals, called monosodium urate, can lead to gout attacks.

Gout causes intense joint pain. It usually affects one joint at a time, though it commonly affects the big toe. You might also experience:

Home treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), cherry juice, and staying hydrated.

Turmeric, a bright yellow spice, is another home remedy for gout. There’s scientific evidence it has compounds that may ease gout inflammation.

In this article, we’ll explore how to use turmeric for gout, along with its efficacy and side effects.

Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant, which is part of the ginger family. For thousands of years, it’s been traditionally used to treat inflammatory conditions like gout.

Let’s look at turmeric’s medicinal properties and how each one can help.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Curcumin is the most active chemical in turmeric. It’s responsible for turmeric’s potent anti-inflammatory abilities.

According to 2019 animal study in Arthritis Research & Therapy, curcumin can suppress a protein called nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B). NF-kappa B plays a major role in inflammatory conditions, including gout.

In the experiment, researchers injected mice with curcumin. After one hour, they injected uric acid into one paw. At the end of the study, the researchers found that curcumin blocked NF-kappa B and inflammation caused by excess uric acid.

A 2013 human study published in Open Journal of Rheumatology and Autoimmune Diseases also noted the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin. People with gout felt relief after taking Flexofytol, a purified curcumin extract. The researchers attributed these benefits to curcumin’s ability to block NF-kappa B.

While scientists are still learning how curcumin affects gout, these studies suggest turmeric may help ease gout inflammation.

Pain relief

By suppressing inflammation, curcumin can help arthritis-related joint pain. This effect was observed in a 2018 study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, where people with osteoarthritis took curcumin extract for three months.

The participants experienced reduced joint pain, along with improved physical function and morning stiffness.

Though the study participants had osteoarthritis, these benefits may also help other types of arthritis like gout. More research is needed to understand the link between turmeric and gout pain.

Antioxidant properties

Free radicals are molecules that cause cell damage. Antioxidants, on the other hand, protect your cells from free radicals. If your body has an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants, oxidative stress occurs.

Oxidative stress contributes to inflammation. But according to a 2017 article in Journal of Food Quality, turmeric is a potent antioxidant. Its antioxidant properties come from its flavonoids, ascorbic acid, and polyphenols, including curcumin.

This means turmeric may help control gout inflammation by reducing oxidative stress.

There are several ways to use turmeric for gout. You might have to experiment with different methods to find what works best for you.

In your food

Many people use turmeric by adding it to food and drinks.

To enjoy it as the main flavor, make curry, turmeric tea, or golden milk. Alternatively, you can add a dash of turmeric to:

  • soups
  • sauces
  • roasted vegetables
  • eggs
  • rice
  • smoothies

Whenever possible, eat turmeric with black pepper. According to a 2017 article, curcumin has a poor bioavailability, but adding black pepper increases its absorption.

Topical turmeric for gout

Some people treat gout by applying turmeric on their joints. The efficacy of this method hasn’t been scientifically proven, but people claim it provides relief.

Usually, it involves a cream or ointment with turmeric that’s applied topically. You can find such products at health food stores.

Another option is to make a turmeric paste. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons yogurt, raw honey, or coconut oil with 1 teaspoon turmeric power. Apply the paste on the affected joints and wash off after 10 to 15 minutes.

Turmeric supplements

You can take turmeric supplements in various forms, including:

  • capsules
  • extracts
  • gummies
  • drink powders

Often, turmeric supplements contain other anti-inflammatory ingredients like ginger.

To date, there isn’t a specific recommended turmeric dosage for gout.

However, for osteoarthritis, the Arthritis Foundation suggests taking 400 to 600 mg capsules three times a day. The Arthritis Foundation also recommends taking 500 mg twice a day for rheumatoid arthritis. These doses will give you an idea of how much you should take.

When in doubt, follow the instructions on the supplement packaging. You can also ask your doctor for a recommendation.

Turmeric is typically safe when eaten or applied topically. But there are potential risks and side effects of taking turmeric supplements.

You should avoid taking turmeric supplements if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Bleeding disorders. Turmeric may thin your blood. Avoid it if you have a bleeding disorder or if you take blood thinners.
  • Stomach problems. For some people, turmeric causes stomach issues like nausea or diarrhea. Use caution if you have a digestive disorder.
  • Kidney stones. Avoid turmeric if you’re prone to kidney stones. It’s high in oxalate, which can bind with minerals and form kidney stones.
  • Gallbladder disease. Turmeric may worsen gallbladder issues.
  • Iron deficiency. At high doses, turmeric may disrupt iron absorption. If you have iron deficiency, ask a doctor if it’s safe to take turmeric.
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding. Don’t take turmeric supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding. There isn’t enough research to confirm that it’s safe.

In addition to turmeric, other home remedies can relieve gout pain. You can also try:

When used regularly, turmeric may help manage gout pain. But if your pain gets worse or doesn’t get better, visit a doctor.

You should also seek medical attention if you develop new symptoms. This could indicate complications or another health condition.

If you have gout, try turmeric as a home remedy. Its most active chemical, curcumin, has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This may help ease gout-related inflammation and pain.

When eaten in foods, turmeric is generally safe. But it can cause problems at high doses. Check with a doctor before taking supplements.

While turmeric and other home remedies can help reduce inflammation, speak with your doctor about a comprehensive treatment plan for gout. They may prescribe medications to reduce uric acid levels and recommend lifestyle changes to help prevent future gout attacks.