If you have swollen, red joints or joints that tend to ache, you may have gout. This is a painful condition caused by excessive amounts of uric acid in the body which then crystallize and settle in your joints. Other symptoms include stiff joints and the affected area feeling hot and very sensitive. Once a gout attack diminishes you may have lingering pain in your joints.
The most common area to get gout is in the big toe but your other joints can be affected too. Uric acid is formed as your body breaks down naturally occurring chemical substances called purines that are made by your body and that you consume when you eat foods (1). All living things contain purines, plants, humans, and animals.
Eating a lot of foods high in purines and other factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of gout or high uric acid levels is usually what causes the build-up of uric acid (2). Usually, uric acid is excreted in the urine, but the body can struggle to get rid of excessive amounts which can lead to gout.
Foods with a high purine content include fatty meat, fish, sugary foods and drinks (specifically containing high fructose corn syrup), and alcohol (especially beer). Limiting your intake of these things can keep your gout attacks under control. To manage the pain, you can use turmeric for gout.
How is Turmeric Good for Gout?
Turmeric is quite a common spice to use in certain types of cuisine, most notably Indian cuisine. Even in small amounts this spice has powerful health benefits and the modern medical community is starting to recognize its medicinal properties:
- Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties due to curcumin, the pigment in turmeric that makes it yellow.
- The effects of turmeric are so powerful it’s comparable to common NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen). Turmeric is able to relieve pain and inflammation just as well but without the side effects that NSAIDs can cause.
- Turmeric is an effective treatment for gout and many other types of joint diseases such as arthritis. Turmeric can help to prevent disease in general due to its antioxidant content and ability to lower inflammation.
How to Use Turmeric for Gout Pain
You can use these remedies 3-4 times a day when needed. Most people can tolerate a teaspoon or two of turmeric per day well. But if you do experience nausea you should consume less turmeric. Turmeric is such a versatile spice that it can be used in a number of ways:
1. Golden Milk
Used for centuries as a healing drink, golden milk is simply the combination of milk and turmeric. You can add other delicious spices as well.
Mix together the following:
- About a cup of warm milk, either plant-based or cows milk (dairy is low in purines).
- ¼ teaspoon of turmeric (if you use fresh turmeric you may have to boil it in the milk first to brew).
- A pinch of pepper (turmeric needs pepper to be absorbed and used by the body).
- Optional: Some raw honey or a little bit of stevia to sweeten it.
- Optional: Cinnamon, cardamom, and/or vanilla extract for flavor, it depends on your taste.
- Stir well to mix it all together.
This drink is especially creamy and calming at night before bed.
2. Turmeric and Honey
Raw honey also lowers inflammation and can help this particular remedy to go down a little easier (3).
- Add a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric to a teaspoon or so of honey.
- Add a pinch of pepper.
- Mix it all together and eat it just like that.
3. Turmeric Tea
You can use fresh or ground turmeric to make tea. Most health stores will also stock either turmeric tea or teas that contain turmeric. With the store-bought tea, you can just follow the instructions on the box.
For DIY turmeric tea do the following:
Method 1 (ground turmeric):
- Put a ¼ teaspoon of turmeric into a cup.
- Add a pinch of pepper.
- Optional: Add other spices that you like. Ginger is a great option because it has anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is also a good option.
- Add boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Optional: You can add milk if you’d like or drink it black with some honey or stevia.
Method 2 (fresh turmeric):
- Use about an inch of fresh turmeric, it will go quicker if you grate it. If you want to make more than one cup at a time, increase the amount by an inch of turmeric per cup.
- Bring water to a boil on the stove and add the turmeric and a pinch of pepper (more pepper if you are making more than one cup’s worth of tea).
- Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Then add it to your cup and add all the other flavors that you would like as per method 1.
4. Cook with Turmeric
Turmeric is most commonly used in curries but you can use it in many dishes. Turmeric has a mild flavor and even a pinch can help to lower inflammation in the body over time so you can also try the following:
- Put some turmeric in your rice to make yellow rice.
- If you like avocado, sprinkle some turmeric onto it after spreading it on your bread or putting a dollop on your potatoes.
- Sprinkle some over your pasta dishes.
- Stir some into your soup.
Note: Remember to use pepper as well.
5. Turmeric Paste
You can make a paste with turmeric by combining it with honey, aloe vera, or coconut oil. Oils like grapeseed oil and olive oil are also good options. Water can also be used.
- Make your chosen paste.
- Apply it to the affected area.
- Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Be careful of touching your clothes or furniture, this remedy can be a little messy. It may stain your clothing or furniture and can also temporarily stain your skin but it will come off your skin with a few washes.
6. Turmeric Oil
When it comes to using turmeric for gout, turmeric essential oil can also be used. This is a very concentrated form of turmeric and should not be used undiluted if you are going to use it on your skin. You can use it in the following ways:
- In the bath or as a foot soak: You can put up to 50 drops of turmeric essential oil in the bath or 15-25 in a foot bath.
- Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is also known to be effective for pain relief because all the helpful components become airborne when heat is applied which lets you breathe them in. Put a few drops into a diffuser or essential oil burner. You can also rub a few drops of the carrier oil mixture between your palms and cup your hands around your nose to breathe it in.
- Diluted in a carrier oil: Dilute 2-10 drops of turmeric essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil. Carrier oils you can use are coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, grape seed oil, etc. Cold pressed or virgin oils are best. Apply this carrier oil and essential oil mixture to the affected area. You can rinse your skin after 20 minutes.
Turmeric oil can also stain your clothes, bath or bucket, and skin so bear this in mind.
Tips and Precautions
- If your skin joint is extremely painful and hot and/or you develop a fever, you should see your doctor as you may have an infection or the gout is severe enough to require medical attention.
- If you are pregnant, on blood thinners, are scheduled for surgery or have recently had surgery, or have gallbladder problems, first speak to your doctor before using medicinal quantities of turmeric whether powdered, fresh or the essential oil (4).
- Try to avoid high purine foods like fish, sodas, fatty and processed meats, junk food, and alcohol. You may find a vegetarian diet most helpful.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water to help get rid of the excess uric acid.
- Icing your affected joint can help to ease the pain. Never apply ice directly, wrap it in a cloth first and don’t ice your joint for longer than 20 minutes at a time.
- Rest the affected joints as much as possible.
- If you are overweight, start working toward a healthy weight. This will help to prevent gout from returning.
- If you can’t use turmeric, you can try these home remedies for gout.
Please let us know if you found these remedies helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us.