Gout is a painful metabolic disease resulting in inflammation and the deposition of uric acid in the cartilages of the joints. Gout first affects the big toe causing it to swell and become very painful. In the next stages it spreads to the ankles, knees, joints of hands and feet, the wrist and elbow.
When the human body breaks down chemicals called purines, it produces uric acid. Purines are found naturally in our body as well as in food. Normally, uric acid dissolves and goes through the urine via the kidneys. But if the body is producing too much uric acid or if the body is not excreting enough uric acid, it starts accumulating in the body. This build up results in the formation of sharp, needle like crystals. When they accumulate in the joints or surrounding tissues, it causes pain, inflammation and swelling.
- Swelling, pain and redness in the small joints of the body.
- Pain usually starts in the night.
- Pain might be accompanied with fever and thirst.
- Itching and burning sensation.
- Pricking pain and change of color of the skin.
- Tender, red and swollen joints.
In Ayurveda, gout is known as vatrakt, as the main dosha involved is vata and it affects rakt dhatu. Vitiation (impairment) of vata dosha and rakt dhatu is caused by increased intake of spicy, sour, salty, alkaline, heavy and penetrating foods. The impaired doshas travel through the channels of the body and get accumulated at the smaller joints causing damage to the tissues and bones of the joint resulting in vatrakt.
Excessive anger, waking up late in the night, sleeping in the daytime, excessive traveling, trauma, overindulgence in physical exercises, excessive sexual activity and suppressing the natural urges of the body can also lead to gout. Ayurvedic treatments emphasize herbal preparations, diet and routines that help to cleanse the blood.
Diet & Lifestyle advice
- Avoid high-protein diet and excessive salt.
- Avoid all sour, pungent, fried foods, red meat, alcohol and tobacco.
- Take light and easily digestible food like steamed or boiled vegetables or vegetable broth.
- Use wholegrain bread, cereals and increase intake of seasonal fruits (except banana).
- Increase the use of garlic, ginger, cumin, fennel, coriander, cardamom and cinnamon.
- Avoid dairy products, especially yogurt.
- Do light and gentle exercises.
- Massage the joints gently with lukewarm sesame oil for 20-30 minutes.
- Avoid damp and cold places and keep the body warm.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily to cleanse toxins from the body.
- Swallow 2-3 fresh, peeled garlic buds with water on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Boil 10 rose petals in 4 tablespoons of vinegar until an ointment develops. Apply this ointment 3-4 times a day on the affected joint.
- Giloy (guduchi) is very beneficial in this disease. Mix giloy stem powder (2 gm), dry ginger powder (0.5 gm) and amla powder (2 gm). Make a paste with honey and lick the paste twice daily.