Natural Home Remedies for Gout
Contact your doctor before trying these remedies
Gout is a type of arthritis that causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and inflammation in the joints. It affects different body parts like the ears, wrists, knees, ankles, and small joints in the hands. High levels of uric acid in the body typically causes gout, but some other causes include lack of exercise, high levels of alcohol consumption, stress, excessive protein intake, and genetics. Gout is also linked to other, more serious, health problems so you should seek proper medical treatment. But trying these home remedies for gout relief can reduce your pain and ease other symptoms. Some natural remedies may help. However, if your gout pain is very sudden or intense, contact your doctor before trying any of the remedies below.
Natural remedies for gout
- Cherries or tart cherry juice: According to a 2016 survey, cherries — whether sour, sweet, red, black, in extract form, as a juice, or raw — are a very popular and potentially successful home remedy for many. One 2012 study and another that same year also suggest cherries may work to prevent gout attacks. This research recommends three servings of any cherry form over a two-day period, which was considered the most effective.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is a dietary mineral. Some claim it’s good for gout because deficiency of magnesium may worsen chronic inflammatory stress in the body, though no studies prove this. Still, a 2015 study showed that adequate magnesium is associated with lower and healthier levels of uric acid, thus potentially lowering gout risk. This applied to men but not women within the study. Try taking magnesium supplements, but read label directions closely. Or, eat magnesium-rich foods daily. This may decrease gout risk or gout occurrence long term.
- Ginger: Ginger is a culinary food and herb prescribed for inflammatory conditions. Its ability to help gout is well-documented. One study found topical ginger reduced pain related to uric acid in gout. Another study showed that in subjects with high levels of uric acid (hyperuricemia), their serum uric acid level was reduced by ginger. But the subjects were rats, and ginger was taken internally rather than topically. Make a ginger compress or paste by boiling water with 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger root. Soak a washcloth in the mixture. When cool, apply the washcloth to the area where you’re experiencing pain at least once per day for 15 to 30 minutes. Skin irritation is possible, so it’s best to do a test on a small patch of skin first. Take ginger internally by boiling water and steeping 2 teaspoons of ginger root for 10 minutes. Enjoy 3 cups per day. Interactions are possible. Let your doctor know first before you take large amounts of ginger.
- Warm water with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and turmeric: Apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and turmeric are each frequently recommended anecdotally for gout. Together, they make a pleasant beverage and remedy. No strong research supports apple cider vinegar for gout, though studies show it may support the kidneys. Otherwise, research is promising for lemon juice and turmeric for lowering uric acid. Mix juice from one squeezed half lemon into warm water. Combine with 2 teaspoons turmeric and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Adjust to taste. Drink two to three times per day.
- Celery or celery seeds: Celery is a food traditionally used to treat urinary issues. For gout, extract and seeds of the vegetable have become popular home remedies. Experimental use is well-documented, though scientific research is scant. It’s thought that celery may reduce inflammation. Adequate celery amounts for treating gout aren’t documented. Try eating celery many times per day, especially raw celery sticks, juice, extract, or seeds. If purchasing an extract or supplement, follow label directions closely.
- Nettle Tea: Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) is an herbal remedy for gout that may reduce inflammation and pain. Traditional use is frequently referred to in studies. There’s still no research directly proving it works. One study showed it protected the kidneys, but the subjects were male rabbits, and kidney injury was induced by administration of gentamicin, an antibiotic. To try this tea, brew a cup by boiling water. Steep 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried nettle per cup of water. Drink up to 3 cups per day.
- Dandelion: Dandelion teas, extracts, and supplements are used to improve liver and kidney health. They may lower uric acid levels in those at risk for kidney injury, as shown in a 2013 study and a 2016 study, but these were on rats. Dandelion is unproven to help gout. You can use dandelion tea, an extract, or a supplement. Follow label directions closely.
- Milk Thistle Seeds:Milk thistle is an herb used for liver health. A 2016 study suggested it may lower uric acid in the midst of conditions that can hurt the kidneys, and another from 2013 supports it. However, both studies were on rats. Follow dosing directions on a milk thistle supplement carefully or discuss it with your doctor.
- Hibiscus: Hibiscus is a garden flower, food, tea, and traditional herbal remedy. It may be a folk remedy used to treat gout. One study showed that hibiscus might lower uric acid levels, though this study was performed on rats. Use a supplement, tea, or extract. Follow label directions closely.
- Topical cold or hot application: Applying cold or hot water to inflamed joints may also be effective. Studies and opinions on this are mixed. Soaking in cold water is most often recommended and considered most effective. Ice packs may also work. Soaking in hot water is typically only recommended when inflammation isn’t as intense. Alternating hot and cold applications may also be helpful.
- Apples: Natural health sites may recommend apples as part of gout-reducing diets. The claim: Apples contain malic acid, which lowers uric acid. However, there aren’t any studies supporting this for gout. Apples also contain fructose, which may trigger hyperuricemia, leading to gout flare-ups. Eating one apple per day is good for overall health. It may be mildly beneficial for gout, but only if it doesn’t add to excessive daily sugar consumption.
- Bananas: Bananas are thought to be good for gout. They’re potassium-rich, which helps the tissue and organs in the body to function properly. Bananas also contain sugars, including fructose, which can be a gout trigger. Many foods are higher in potassium and lower in sugar than bananas, such as dark leafy greens and avocados. Eat one banana per day for benefit. No studies yet support any benefit from bananas for gout.
- Epsom Salts: Some people recommend a bath of Epsom salts to prevent gout attacks. The idea is that Epsom salts are rich in magnesium, which may lower gout risk. However, studies show magnesium can’t be adequately absorbed through skin to confer any health benefits. To give Epsom salts a try, mix 1 to 2 cups in your bath. Soak your entire body or only specific joints for symptom relief.
Other tips for reducing gout flare-ups
- Eliminate Diet Triggers: Diet is often closely related to gout flare ups and pain. Avoiding triggers and keeping to a good gout diet is an important remedy in and of itself. Studies show red meat, seafood, sugar, and alcohol are the most likely triggers. Stick to low-sugar fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy instead.
- Hydrate Often: Drinking plenty of water is important to kidney function. Keeping the kidneys in good shape can also reduce uric acid crystal buildup and gout attacks. Make sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, which can be helpful for gout. No studies show it can replace gout treatments, however.
- Get plenty of rest: Gout attacks can interfere with movement and mobility. To avoid worsening symptoms, relax and stay put while joints are inflamed. Avoid exercising, bearing heavy weights, and using joints excessively, which can worsen the pain and duration of a flare-up.
- The bottom line: Plenty of options are available for helping or preventing gout attacks at home. Most are natural and have little to no side effects.
If your gout pain is considerable, sudden, or intense — or if home remedies cease to work — contact your doctor immediately.