Gout is a condition that results from an overload of crystals of uric acid depositing in tissues of the body, and features recurring attacks of arthritis, decreased kidney function and kidney stones. Some patients may only develop elevated blood uric acid levels – a condition called hyperuricemia – without having arthritis or kidney problems. The term ‘gout’ commonly refers to the painful or arthritic attacks. Obesity; heavy alcohol intake; high blood pressure; certain medications; and diseases like leukemia, lymphomas and hyperthyroidism, are risk factors for gout. Dehydration, injury to the joint, fever, excessive food, a heavy alcohol intake and recent surgery can precipitate an attack of gout. Acute gout attacks are characterized by a rapid onset of severe pain in the affected joint followed by warmth, swelling, reddish discoloration and marked tenderness. While the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows can be affected, the small joint at the base of the big toe is the most common site of an acute gout attack.
The Ayurvedic treatment of gout is aimed at reducing joint pain and inflammation, controlling uric acid levels in the blood and preventing further attacks and complications. Medicines like Kaishor-Guggulu, Yograj-Guggulu, Triphala-Guggulu, Vat-Gajankush-Ras, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Vish-Tinduk-Vati, Sameerpannag-Ras, Malla-Sindur, Nirgundi (Vitex negundo), Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina) and Khurasani ova (Hyoscyamus niger) are used to control the pain, inflammation and tenderness in the joints. Medicines like Kamdudha-Ras, Chandrakala-Ras, Praval-Bhasma, Chandanasav and Praval-Panchamrut are used to control inflammation and fever. Local application on the affected joint is made of an ointment containing medicines like Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Chandan (Santalum album) and Usheer (Vetiveria zizanioidis). Panch-Tikta-Ghrut, Shata-Dhout-Ghrut, Ksheer-Bala-Oil and Chandan-Bala-Laxadi oil are also used for this purpose. Severe pain in the affected joint can be controlled quickly by blood-letting with the application of leeches.
Once the acute attack has subsided, medicines are given to reduce the uric acid levels in the blood and prevent recurrence of attacks. Medicines used for this purpose are: Gokshuradi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Chandraprabha-Vati, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha and Saarivasav. The herbal medicine, Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), is considered the mainstay of treatment for this disease. Therefore, medicinal products containing this medicine like Guduchi-Satwa, Guduchyadi-Qadha, Samshamani-Vati, Amrutadi-Ghrut, Amruta-Guggulu and Amrutadi-Qadha are used on a long-term basis. Kokilaksha (Asteracantha longifolia) and Suranjaan (Colchicum luteum) are also considered very important in the treatment of this condition.
In order to prevent damage to the kidneys, medicines like Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Pashanbhed (Bergenia lingulata), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Saariva, Manjishtha, Kalimusli (Curculigo orchioides), Daruharidra (Berberis aristata). Ikshumool (Saceharum officinarum), Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Apamarga (Achyranthus aspera) and Sahinjan (Moringa pterygosperma) are used on a long-term basis.
Regular, long-term treatment is essential to adequately control this disease, prevent recurrence and also prevent complications like kidney failure. It is also important to avoid purine-rich foods like shellfish, liver, brain, kidneys, sweetbreads, beer and liquor which can increase uric acid levels in the blood. Regular exercise, weight reduction, and maintaining adequate fluid intake is also very helpful in the management of this condition.