Gout has historically been called the rich man’s disease. It was documented by the ancient Egyptians and has been problematic throughout the ages. This painful disease now afflicts more than 10 million people, or almost 5 percent of the population. Aging increases the likelihood of developing gout and it’s more common in men than women.
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Factors That Can Trigger A Gout Flare Up:
- Alcohol consumption
- Diets high in purines, such as organ meat, red meat, sardines, herring, and so forth
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Health issues, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, cardiac disease
- Medications, such as diuretics and hypertensives
- Soda consumption
Gout can be treated by prescription medications or holistically; some gout sufferers prefer a combination of the two.
Many people have also found it helpful, and studies have confirmed as well, that taking tart cherry extract can help reduce the amount of unhealthy uric acid in the body. I recommend looking at Natures Truth Ultra Tart Cherry Extract which can be found here on Amazon.
Essential oils can be helpful both in reducing the symptoms of the disease and in alleviating the pain of it; some essential oils may be more effective than others. Body chemistry varies by the individual, so ascertaining which oil works best may be a matter of trial and error. This is because there are many oils from which to choose.
Best Essential Oils for Gout
An extract of the Boswellia tree in Africa, Frankincense has been prized for centuries for its multitudinous therapeutic properties. Frankincense is an effective:
Frankincense essential oil can alleviate the pain of gout because it is an anti-inflammatory, and gout, which is a form of arthritis, is an inflammatory disease. For maximum relief during a flare-up of gout, mix a few drops of frankincense oil with a teaspoonful of carrier oil, massage onto the affected joints, and apply a heating pad or warm compress. Ten drops of frankincense will provide adequate coverage for 9 percent of the body area, so the oil should be used sparingly.
Inhaling the scent from your hands after a transdermal application of frankincense can provide the additional benefit of aromatherapy. Frankincense can be taken orally but should be avoided by lactating women.
Rosemary essential oil is an anti-inflammatory so it can reduce the painful swelling of gout-ridden joints. It also acts to block the nociceptors in the joints; nociceptors are the sensory receptors in the body that signal pain. Rosemary also improves blood circulation, which can help speed healing to the joint. Increasing blood flow to the joint will speed the elimination of the painful uric acid crystals.
Rosemary can be mixed with a carrier oil and massaged into the afflicted joint(s) and then covered with a warm heating pad or compress. Rosemary essential oil is an approved arthritis treatment in Germany, and a study published in 2003 concluded that rosmarinic acid, a substance found in rosemary, was effective at slowing the progression of arthritis in test subjects.
Pregnant women should avoid using rosemary essential oil as it may cause uterine contractions.
Aside from being one of the latest health food crazes, the Indian spice turmeric has been used for centuries to treat various health issues and diseases. It’s an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic, which means that it will reduce the swelling caused by gout and alleviate the pain caused by the uric acid. The use of turmeric for medicinal purposes is documented in ancient Ayurvedic texts and has been validated by current scientific experiments.
Another Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is commonly used to detoxify the body, which can help eliminate many of the substances that will precipitate an onset of gout. Researchers found that 75 percent of patients who were given ginger as part of a treatment regimen for gout experienced relief from both the pain and the inflammation. Ginger contains gingerois and shogaols, which are strong anti-inflammatory agents that, if taken regularly, help combat pain and swelling.
Ginger essential oil can be applied topically through use of a carrier oil, the plant can be consumed raw or made into tea, or either may be applied as a warm compress. Some medications or health conditions other than gout may contraindicate the use of ginger, so seek medical advice before using ginger on a regular basis.
Sweet birch bud oil is an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic that can aid in the elimination of the painful uric acid crystals while reducing the pain of them. Birch oil contains methyl salicylate, which is similar to aspirin, and it helps detoxify the blood, which speeds the healing process.
Birch oil should be used only in moderation since it can have side effects, including dehydration, so adequate water intake is essential. There are different types of birch essential oil and each has its own characteristics. Seek the advice of a medical professional before using birch oil, particularly when other health issues are involved.
Thyme is a pungent member of the evergreen family and contains ursolic and oleanolic acids. These are anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, which means they’ll help reduce the swelling of the joints and reduce the levels of uric acid crystals. Thyme inhibits the formation of nitric oxide, which increases inflammation in the joints.
Thyme stimulates the immune system and gout is a disorder of the autoimmune system. Using thyme during a flare up of gout can speed the body’s recovery and the elimination of the uric acid crystals. Thyme is also a diuretic, so it’s vital to increase fluid intake when using this oil in order to prevent dehydration, thereby exacerbating the effects of gout.
Research published in Science Daily reported that thyme essential oil contains carvacrol, which suppresses inflammatory enzymes in a manner similar to resveratrol. Thyme essential oil can be applied topically with a carrier oil, or dehydrated thyme leaves can be used as tea or as a supplement. It should be used in moderation. Thyme slows clot formation in the blood and may interact with some medications and other health conditions, such as breast, ovarian, or uterine cancer, endometriosis, and fibroids in the uterus.
Chamomile has been used for millennia to treat ailments and maintain overall good health. Modern research shows that chamomile contains luteolin, quercetin, and apigenin, which are anti-inflammatories, and studies have shown chamomile to be as effective as NSAIDs at reducing inflammation.
Chamomile also has analgesic properties, which make it an ideal treatment for the painful swelling and inflammation of gout. German chamomile and Roman chamomile are the most common forms of the herb and both are used extensively in aromatherapy and cosmetics. Those who are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, mugwort, or ragwort might want to avoid using chamomile due to the possibility of an allergic reaction.
Chamomile can be used topically as an essential oil combined with a carrier oil, in the form of chamomile extract, in a tincture, or the dried leaves can be made into a tea. It’s a mild sedative, so it can help alleviate the pain and stress that can occur with an attack of gout.
In addition to having its own gout-fighting properties, basil works synergistically with other essential oils to enhance their efficacy. Basil contains eugenol, which is an anti-inflammatory; it also contains significant quantities of E-beta-caryophyllene, which stimulates the cannabinoid receptors, which can help alleviate the pain associated with arthritis.
Basil essential oil should be applied topically, it shouldn’t be ingested. It stimulates blood circulation and enhances the body’s delivery of nutrients to the cells, which accelerates the elimination of uric acid crystals. Some experts assert that basil is one of the best essential oils available for treating the pain and inflammation of a gout attack.
Lemon essential oil helps neutralize the pH of the body, which expedites the elimination of the painful uric acid crystals that gout causes. Food grade lemon essential oil can be added to drinking water for a more expeditious treatment. A topical application of lemon essential oil, frankincense or peppermint oil, and a carrier oil can provide additional relief. When using this method, cover the area with a heating pad or warm compress to maximize the benefit.
For habitual gout sufferers, a daily routine of lemon essential oil in a glass of drinking water can help prevent painful flare ups. This should be limited to not more than once or twice a day, however, in order to maintain proper body pH, and only food grade essential oil should be used.
Now found worldwide, fennel is considered to be native to the Mediterranean. Fennel essential oil has an aroma that’s similar to anise and is a component of many natural remedies, including those for gout. It’s a diuretic, an antibacterial, and an analgesic that helps to restore the body’s natural pH and eliminate the painful uric acid crystals that gout causes.
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most widely used essential oils and is nature’s version of icy-hot. When applied to the skin in combination with a carrier oil, it feels cool. As it dries, it provides a warm feeling that is similar to the icy-hot pain relievers sold over the counter.
Almost one-third of peppermint essential oil is menthol, which accounts for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Cypress essential oil is an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic, which makes it ideal for gout sufferers. It’s also a diuretic, so it will help flush the crystals from the body, but adequate water intake is essential when using cypress oil so that the body doesn’t become dehydrated.
Food grade cypress essential oil can be ingested but should be done so very sparingly; some experts recommend it not be ingested at all. It blends well with other oils, such as lemon, frankincense, lavender, rosemary, and others, and can be applied topically with a carrier oil. Cypress oil also works well in aromatherapy.
Lavender essential oil works well on its own or in combination with other essential oils to promote healing from gout. It’s anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties help alleviate the pain and swelling that accompany gout, and its scent promotes relaxation and calmness of spirit. Lavender can help lower blood pressure caused by gout pain. Its diuretic properties will help eliminate the uric acid crystals that have formed, but adequate hydration should be maintained so that the body doesn’t dehydrate.
Using Essential Oils for Gout
The best essential oil for gout is the one that works best and it will vary according to the individual. If an oil smells pleasing and appealing, then use it. If not, try another oil. Bodies and body chemistries are unique so the best essential oil for gout is the one that works best for the individual.
On Using Essential Oils
Not all essential oils are created equal. The quality of plant used, the method of extraction, and the manufacturing process can substantially affect the quality of the essential oil. Essential oils are extracted from plants, flowers, and trees, using one of three methods.
Cold pressing is the oldest method and yields the best quality oil, although it isn’t suitable for the extraction of some oils. Since cold pressed essential oils are never subjected to heat, they retain the light, fresh aroma and color of the original plant.
Steam distillation uses steam to pass through the plants, which have been place in a closed container. The heat vaporizes the oils, which then pass through to a condensation chamber; the water and oils separate as they cool. Since water is heavier than most essential oils, the oils rise to the top of the liquid and are siphoned off. Steam distilled oils are considered the best alternative to cold pressed oils.
Solvent extraction uses chemicals to extract the oils from the plant. Historically, alcohol has been used but modern methods now include acetone, hexane, and propane. Since there is a possibility of chemical residue in this process, it’s considered an inferior manufacturing method. Oils that are manufactured by solvent extraction should not be used therapeutically.
Good quality essential oils can be costly, but since they are used sparingly, only a few drops at a time, they shouldn’t need to be replenished frequently. Essential oils should be used with a carrier oil, such as sweet almond, jojoba, fractionated coconut, and so forth, they shouldn’t be applied undiluted onto the skin. Always use the best essential oil possible and it should be therapeutic or food grade; some essential oils shouldn’t be ingested.
Essential oils can be a natural, healthy method to maintain good health and address ailments and illnesses as they arise. Inhaling their essence as well as applying them topically can benefit all aspects of the body, both physical, emotional, and spiritual.