After seeing a gout flare up first hand, I am positive I do not ever want to experience it myself. When a breeze from a passing person causes intense pain, it’s time to do something. Here are a few things we’ve learned from this.

Saffron:

This is empirical rather than a study I’ve found. When someone is dealing with an attack, I serve saffron rice. Saffron is a cousin to the autumn crocus. In fact, when researching the chemical constituents of saffron itself I almost invariably come up with autumn crocus instead.

The chemical has been turned into a drug to treat gout, colchicine. I do not recommend eating or taking autumn crocus. There is a fine dividing line between therapeutic and dead. You may also want to ask the doctor about saffron if you are prescribed the drug.

Willow Bark:

Once upon a time everyone knew that willow bark was a great pain reliever. Now it’s mostly herbalists who have that information. The reason willow bark is great for pain is salicylic acid. That is the problem for people with gout; aspirin contains that acid and it will cause gout flare ups.

Cherries:

I was astonished when a doctor told my relative with gout to drink cherry juice. Very few doctors recommend much of anything “alternative.” I can tell you that it’s great and can even be useful if you sense a flare up coming on and want to nip it in the bud. If you don’t like cherry juice, you can buy cherry concentrate or eat cherries. Cherry concentrate may be found at most health food stores.

Cranberries:

This is something we tried because it seems to help with urinary tract infections. As it was with cherry juice and the saffron I don’t know if it would be an alternative to cherry juice. The University of Maryland School of Comprehensive Medicine does indicate that cranberry juice could be useful.

Water:

By far the most important thing in dealing with gout is proper hydration. The kidneys don’t function well when we’re dehydrated and that can cause it to not filter out all the impurities. Gout is caused by uric acid buildup in the blood stream. That acid forms crystals and the crystals cause the gout.

If you have a hard time getting enough proper fluids there is a trick. I’m not the only one who uses it; other family members do as well. I get a cold bottle of water and sit it next to my laptop. I don’t actually think about it, but when I’m done working for the day, the bottle is usually pretty close to empty. Bottled water can be refilled once or twice to cut down on cost.

Gout is a very painful disease. Left untended it could turn into something worse; kidney disease. Watching what you eat and drink is important. So is making sure that any herbal remedies you use are safe. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist to make sure you are doing everything you can to prevent another attack.