Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) encompasses Chinese herbal remedies, acupuncture, and other lesser-known modalities to treat a wide variety of diseases including gout. Chinese medicine is thousands of years old, and well-respected worldwide as an alternative to conventional Western medicine. According to acupuncturist and TCM practitioner Simon Becker, a clinical study conducted by Zhang Ming and Tiao Rong [in China] comparing the efficacy of Western gout treatments with Chinese herbs for gout indicated the outcomes of “…both treatment groups receiving Chinese medicinals and the control group receiving standard Western medicines was essentially equal (94.2 percent vs. 94 percent) The only notable difference between the two groups was that the control group which received the Western medicine suffered from many side effects, whereas the treatment group did not”. According to Becker, Chinese herbs are free of dangerous side effects when used under proper supervision by a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner.
A study published in the 2004 Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports how the Chinese herb Ermiao wan reduces swelling and edema; and, is being used in China to treat gout patients and those with hyperuricemia, or elevated uric acid levels. This herb is available from Chinese herbalists and practitioners and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified Doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Meadow saffron produces the alkaloids colchicine and colchicoside, both possessing analgesic and diuretic properties that relieve gout pain, inflammation and edema, or water retention around affected joints. Colchicine is also found conventional pharmaceutical drugs for gout treatment. Patients taking colchicine in any form must be carefully supervised by a knowledgeable health practitioner due to its level of toxicity.
Another herb used to relieve gout pain in both TCM and in Western herbal medicine is dandelion. Herbalists use dandelion for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. Make into a tea or an herbal poultice for a topical application in gout. Dandelion also reduces swelling and edema around joints. It stimulates the excretion of uric acid, the cause of gouty arthritis.
Burdock root reduces inflammation and swelling in the tissues. It is indicated when there are swollen tissues around joints and as a natural diuretic that helps to reduce edema. Brew the root into a tea or use as a poultice for topical applications. The root is edible and can be cooked like carrots or parsnips, or eaten raw on salads. There have been reports of adverse reactions when used topically, reports Urban Herbs. It some cases it may cause a rash or contact dermatitis.
Although, not popular in the West, and one that went out of fashion over one hundred years ago, the use of blood-letting or cupping is once again in use in China to treat gout, reports the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2010. A study of 34 participants suffering from acute gout was completed using blood-letting cupping combined with Chinese herbs. The results indicated that 21 of the 34 cases improved under this treatment method, which is considered a satisfactory treatment for gouty arthritis. Consult a trained practitioner and do not self-treat with blood-letting cupping for gout.
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