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out is a concentrated form of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid crystals collecting around a small joint, often the big toe – although many other joints can be affected. There is a genetic tendency and men are more vulnerable to this condition than women. The main causes are pre-existing kidney problems (more common with the elderly) and an excessively acidic diet rich in purines. Purines are found in many common foods and when broken down form uric acid which is usually removed from the blood via the kidneys. Excruciatingly painful and disabling, a gout attack is often triggered by alcohol, some drugs and intense stress. Alcohol interferes with the removal of uric acid from the kidneys and a build-up of uric acid crystals can cause kidney stones. Treatment is focused on pain control during an attack and preventing a chronic situation where joints distort and kidneys are damaged.
Foods & herbs for the home
- Diet is the key to successful management and many people find that the need for medication is minimised when they make these changes. Offending foods include asparagus; organ meats including kidney, brains and liver; dried beans and peas; game meats; gravy; anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines and scallops; mushrooms; and sweetbreads.
- Alcohol should be a rare treat if an attack is to be avoided; black tea and coffee are acid-forming, as are all soda drinks – these should be avoided.
- The dietary emphasis is on foods that are alkalising and counteract acidity – this includes most vegetables, especially green vegetables. Dr Richard Schulze’s Superfood Plus is highly alkalising and nutritious.
- Also alkalising for the blood are food vinegars based on apple cider such as Lemon & Artichoke Concentrate that can be beneficially added to casseroles and salads or used to make a hot drink.
- Organic Nettle Herbal Tea is a good choice of a cleansing drink to support blood and kidneys.
- Make your own lemon barley water using Organic Pot Barley which is highly supportive and nurturing to kidney function. A recipe to make a delicious lemon barley water is provided on the Pot Barley page as above.
- Some herbs such as Turmeric Powder have an established reputation for their anti-inflammatory effect. The powder can be added freely to food so try some in soups, casseroles, curry, dressings and on baked potato.
- Garlic has anti-inflammatory effects. It is especially effective at mopping up free radicals, an excess of which contributes to inflammation. You can download Jill Davies’ book on Garlic for free.
- You might like to consider a regular day each week or fortnight which you dedicate to highly alkalising juices. Juices such as pineapple are anti-inflammatory and parsley has a flushing action on the kidneys. These combine well together; you can add apples, which are not too high in sugar, and a small amount of juiced greens such as beetroot tops to create a wonderful juice.
- Teas you might like to try include fresh herb teas picked from your garden. Try Chamomile Herbal Tea for its overall alkalinity.
- A traditional remedy we like is apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice added to hot water, drunk on a daily basis. Both drinks are alkalising for the blood.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of water in order to support the action of your kidneys to flush out uric acid; add lemon slices.
- Essential fatty acids have an excellent reputation as anti-inflammatory agents. For those who are not vegetarian/vegan, a good quality fish oil supplement to provide the omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA may be particularly beneficial; ask your health food store to recommend one. For vegetarians and vegans, look for a vegan omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acid supplement that contains GLA from evening primrose or starflower oil. Use a cold-pressed flax seed oil on foods for the extra omega 3 – this is particularly important for those who cannot take fish oil.
- Natural detox programmes reduce the overall toxicity burden on blood and lymph. The kidneys work all the time to clean the blood and maintain correct levels of acidity and alkalinity. Supporting the kidneys and gentle detox will often have a beneficial effect for some forms of arthritis and especially gout. You can read how to do this in Dr Richard Schulze’s “5 Day Kidney Detox” book.
- If you are overweight then gently work with a weight loss programme to relieve joint burden.
- Gentle exercise is vitally important. Yoga, pilates and co-ordination programmes will all help you, but build up slowly to any exercise programme.
- Massage may bring relief to painful joints. St. John’s Wort Oil is anti-inflammatory and can be gently worked into affected joints several times a day. Alternate a warm massage with an ice-pack or a frozen bag of peas to increase the effect.
Additional help is available by phoning the free product advice line at Herbs Hands Healing between the hours of 9.00am to 1.00pm. Tel: 01379 608201.
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Learn more about Dr. Richard Schulze’s Superfood Plus and why we believe this is such a wonderful food by following this link on our website, where extensive information is available. Also please visit our Superfood Plus facebook page for articles and current news.
To learn more about natural healing for this and other ailments, visit Dr Schulze's blog.
If you would like to see videos of Jill Davies showing you plants growing in their natural settings and discussing their medicinal attributes then visit us on facebook. You can also explore additional herbs and their traditional uses by linking to Herbs Info & Photo Gallery and Herb Profiles. Useful additional information can also be found at the Herbs Hands Healing information pages on Detox & Cleansing and Natural Healing.