Herbs Used to Treat Gout

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A combination of medications, diet changes, and exercise adjustments are usually used to help manage gout and prevent flare-ups. However, there are several herbs that many people find helpful when treating gout symptoms.

This article reviews some of the herbs commonly used in gout treatment.

Healing herbs.

Iryna Veklich / Getty Images

Gout is a common type of inflammatory arthritis. Its most frequent symptoms include pain, swelling, and redness around the affected joint. Gout often impacts a big toe but can also appear in elbows, knees, wrists, and ankles.

Herbs for Gout

Several herbs are thought to have healing properties to help alleviate symptoms of gout.

Devil's Claw

Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) originates from the Kalahari desert in South Africa. It's part of the sesame family and is named after the hook-like appearance of the fruit it grows.

Devil's Claw is often used for gout treatment because it contains compounds called iridoid glycosides, known to have anti-inflammatory effects. It may also have antioxidant effects, which help fight off damaging free radicals that may worsen inflammatory conditions like gout.

Additionally, the plant contains harpagoside, a compound thought to have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, one review found that a Devil's Claw extract containing 60 milligrams (mg) of harpagoside per serving effectively reduced pain, improved mobility, and reduced the need for medications among people with arthritis of the hip or knee.

Devil's Claw can be found in many herbal teas or purchased on its own in fine powders, capsules, or extracts.

Burdock Root

Burdock root (Arctium lappa L.) is a vegetable with long roots and a history of being used for conditions ranging from digestion to detoxification. It's also rich in antioxidants and may help reduce inflammation.

Some research has found that burdock root tea helps fight oxidative stress and reduces inflammation markers among people with osteoarthritis, an inflammatory joint condition like gout.

You can find fresh burdock root or dried versions in tea, powder, oil, and extract.

Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a flowering plant related to turmeric and cardamom. The most commonly used part of the ginger plant is the rhizome, or the root, which is used as a supplement or turned into a cooking spice.

Research shows that ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. For example, ginger can help reduce inflammation among people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Many of these benefits are attributed to gingerol, zingerone, and shogoal, its main active compounds. Specifically, one of these is called [6]-shogaol and has shown anti-gout effects in animal studies.

Ginger can be found in its raw root form and dried powders, extracts, oils, juices, and teas.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a flowering herb related to daisies and ragweed. It grows a single purple flower with large prickly leaves with white veins running through them.

Research suggests that milk thistle has antioxidant and anti-arthritic properties. One animal study found that milk thistle may be able to lower uric acid levels, which could be helpful for people with gout.

Milk thistle is sold in capsule form, as well as milk thistle extracts, tea bags, and tablets.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a garden flower that has a history of use in herbal remedies. Some scientists believe that hibiscus has anti-gout activity. Many people try using hibiscus for gout treatment because it may help lower uric acid levels, according to animal research.

You can find hibiscus in various forms, including extracts, tea, or as a supplement.

Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is a plant most often consumed as sprouts. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine to help treat conditions like diabetes, menstrual cramps, high blood cholesterol, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and arthritis. However, there's generally little scientific evidence for these uses.

However, more recent research suggests that alfalfa can prevent the build-up of uric acid, which would be key to gout treatment. Some studies also indicate that alfalfa may inhibit inflammatory compounds called cytokines, potentially reducing pain and inflammation associated with arthritic conditions like gout.

Alfalfa sprouts can be purchased as food at many grocery stores or farmers' markets. Alfalfa is also sold in supplement form and is one of the most frequently used ingredients in herbal arthritis supplements.

Other Home Remedies for Gout

In addition to the herbs above, several other home remedies may help reduce the severity and frequency of gout flare-ups.

These include the following:

  • Bananas: Bananas are nutrient-rich fruits that are also very low in purines. A low-purine diet may help reduce uric acid production and benefit gout flare-ups. Bananas are also a good source of vitamin C, which some research suggests may offer protection against gout.
  • Hot or cold compress: Switching between a 2 to 3-minute-long hot compress and a 30-second cold compress may help reduce pain and inflammation in affected joints.
  • Epsom salt: Epsom salt is high in magnesium, which may help promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve pain and swelling. However, more research is needed for specific conditions like gout.
  • Tart cherries: Most research on tart cherries recommends three servings consumed over two days to be the most effective for gout symptoms. This could be drinking tart cherry juice or eating cherries.

Summary

Gout is a common inflammatory condition that causes swelling and pain in certain joints, most often the big toe. While medications, diet, and exercise are often used to treat gout symptoms, some people find herbs like ginger, milk thistle, Devil's Claw, burdock root, hibiscus, or alfalfa may help.

Keep in mind that herbal supplements can interact with each other, as well as certain medications. Always speak with your healthcare provider before adding a new herbal supplement to your routine to ensure it's safe and appropriate for you.

A Word From VeryWell

Gout flare-ups can be painful and frustrating, especially when they interfere with your ability to enjoy everyday activities. If you experience gout and are looking for other natural methods of managing symptoms, some of these herbs may help. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if they are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which herbs reduce uric acid?

    When uric acid builds up in the body, it turns into crystals that can cause joint pain and inflammation. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that herbs like milk thistle, hibiscus, and alfalfa may help reduce uric acid build-up.

  • How do you get rid of gout permanently?

    While gout can be a chronic condition for many people, there are things you can do to help keep flare-ups to a minimum. For example, eating a nutrient-rich and low-purine diet, maintaining a healthy weight, enjoying regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, taking any prescribed medications as directed, and potentially trying a herbal supplement may help.

  • What foods can trigger gout?

    Foods high in purines, like organ meats, certain seafood, and bacon, can promote uric acid build-up and are considered high risk for gout flare-ups. Beer can also trigger gout when consumed regularly, especially if made with brewer's yeast. Additionally, fructose-sweetened beverages like soda and sweetened fruit juices can promote gout, as concentrated fructose can make it difficult for uric acid to be excreted through the kidneys.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD
Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD, is a plant-based dietitian, writer, and speaker who specializes in helping people bring more plants to their plate. She's a highly respected writer in the health and nutrition space and loves talking about the power of diet. Lauren aims to connect people with the information and resources to live their healthiest, fullest life.