TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) encompasses acupuncture, moxibustion, Chinese herbal remedies, and other lesser-known treatments to address a wide range of health conditions, including gout. Chinese medicine is a globally respected multi-millennial treatment that in the West, serves as an alternative therapy to Western mainstream medicine. According to Simon Becker, TCM practitioner and acupuncturist, a Chinese clinical study led by Tiao Rong and Zhang Ming compared the effectiveness of Chinese herbs and Western gout therapies. Becker said that the study showed almost similar results (94% and 94.2%) for the two groups treated with Chinese medicine compared to the Western medicine treated control group who besides scoring lower than the two groups, the members also suffered from several side effects, whereas the treatment groups did not. Becker added that when used under the supervision of a qualified natural health care practitioner, Chinese herbs do not have any adverse side effects.
The use of cupping or blood letting is rarely practiced in the West. However, in 2010, the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine reports that it is used as a way to treat gout in China. A study involving 34 patients suffering from acute gout used Chinese herbs along with blood-letting cupping to treat the gout. Results showed that among the 34 patients, 21 experienced an improvement of symptoms using this technique. Cupping should only be done by a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner. Never perform this treatment on yourself.
Burdock root alleviates swelling and inflammation in the tissues. It can be used as a natural diuretic to remove edema and can help reduce swelling around joints, as well. You can drink burdock root as a tea or use it as a poultice for topical applications. You can also eat the root raw on salads or served like parsnips or carrots. Urban Herbs has reported that when used topically, burdock root can cause harmful reactions. In some instances it has been know to cause contact dermatitis or rashes.
Dandelion possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-diuretic properties and can be used to reduce gout pain. For a topical application in gout, you can make it into an herbal poultice or drink as tea. Dandelion addresses the cause of gouty arthritis which is uric acid by stimulating the excretion of this acid.
Meadow saffron produces colchicoside and colchicines, alkaloids that possess diuretic and analgesic properties. This means that this herb can alleviate water retention (edema), inflammation, and gout pain around affected joints. Some conventional pharmaceutical medications for gout also contain colchicine. Due to the high toxicity level of colchicine, patients taking any form of this herb should be under the careful supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2004 published a study showing the positive the effects of Ermiao wan, a Chinese herb, on edema and swelling. This herb has been used for hundreds of years in China to treat patients with hyperuricemia and gout and those with high levels of uric acid. You can purchase this herb from Chinese medicine practitioners and herbalists. It should only be used under the guidance of a Chinese medicine practitioner.
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