Gout: An Overview
Gout is an arthropathy or disease of the joints caused by the deposition of monosodium urate crystals and the resulting inflammatory reaction. The cause of gout is the accumulation of uric acid in the joints, in the form of monosodium urate crystals. The condition called hyperuricemia, or the elevation of uric acid levels in the blood, often precedes gout. Hyperuricemia is known to be associated with chronic alcohol intake, obesity, antihypertensive drugs and kidney impairment.
Most often, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, and glucocorticoids, such as prednisone, are given to control the pain and inflammation. Alternative approaches to gout offered by Chinese medicine include herbs that relieve pain and inflammation, and techniques that are believed to balance the heat and cold of the body.
One Chinese remedy that has taken a significant role in gout treatment is colchicine, a substance derived from meadow saffron. Meadow saffron contains safflower (hong hua), Chinese angelica (dan gui wei), cassia twig (gui zhi) and licorice root (gan cao). Purified and packaged as an oral tablet, colchicine works by blocking the inflammation that results from uric acid crystal accumulation. It is a good choice for people who have allergies to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The main use of colchicine is for the relief of acute gout attacks. In low doses, it can reduce the risk for future attacks. However, it does not help address hyperuricemia. Colchicine should be avoided or used cautiously by people who have kidney or liver impairment, low white blood cell counts or inflammatory bowel disease.
Si Miao San, Er Miao San and Gout Chi
Another Chinese remedy for gout is called Si Miao San, translated as “four-marvel pill.” Si Miao San contains phellodendron, red atractylodes, achyranthes and coix. These herbs are believed to address the damp heat that causes gout and its symptoms of redness, swelling, pain and warmth. The two-marvel pill version is called Er Miao San. Er Miao San contains only phellodendron and red atractylodes. The addition of achyranthes aims to aid in feet circulation, thereby reducing numbness and pain, while the addition of coix aims to decrease dampness and swelling.
Gout chi is a Chinese herbal medicine that aids in decreasing the levels of uric acid and in increasing urine flow. It can be used to prevent the recurrence of gout symptoms.
Acupuncture and Qigong
Other Chinese remedies for gout include acupuncture and qigong. Acupuncture is said to ease the pain associated with gout by inducing the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-killing substances. Qigong, pronounced as “chi gong,” is a Chinese remedy for gout that involves exercise, meditation and relaxation. It is believed to help address gout by managing the body’s vital energy, so that the ills of the body, like gout, are addressed, and wellness and well-being are gained.
Wang, Dennis. “Chinese Herbs for Gout”, https://www.livestrong.com/article/36492-chinese-herbs-gout/