Known as “Vata Rakta” according to Ayurveda, Gout is one of the forms of arthritis or joint inflammation. Usually one or two joints are affected at a time. Commonly joints of feet and ankles are inflamed in gout. The commonest site is the ball of the big toe.
Gout is a disease hallmarked by elevated levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. In this condition, crystals of uric acid are deposited on the articulating cartilages of joints, tendons and surrounding tissues. It is marked by transient painful attacks of acute arthritis and eventually leads to chronic gouty arthritis and the deposition of masses of urates in joints and other sites, creating tophi. Gout results from a combination of prolonged elevation of uric acid and overall acidity in the bloodstream.
The first attack of gout subsides in a week or so without treatment. There may be a long gap of many months or years between attacks. As time passes the attacks become more frequent and more severe involving many joints. When the frequency of attacks increases progressive joint damage sets in. This is known as chronic gout. This leads to disability and crippling.
What is the cause for Gout? In Ayurveda VAGHBHATA (An ancient Ayurvedic physician) has said the cause of Gout is vitiated blood & vitiated Vata dosha (Air). The vitiated blood first affects the joints of feet. The vitiated blood not only affects the joints but also affects the whole body.
According to Ayurveda the causes of vitiation of Blood can be due to :
Indigestion, Excessive consumption of salty, sour, hot, spicy, oily foods, Consumption of Fish, Consuming horse gram, black gram, Alcohol, Consuming opposite foods, Lack of sleep, Obesity, Sedentary work , Travel long distances, Standing, and specifically suspending the legs in the air, which is opposite to the gravitational force. This causes the imbalance in the normal flow of the blood leading to gout.
Reasons for increased uric acid level in blood:
Hereditary, Obesity, High alcohol intake, High intake of food like liver, kidneys, sweetbreads, Red meat, sea-food, peas, lentils and beans. These foods contain purine. Few drugs used to treat high blood pressure.
The symptoms of Gout are described in Ayurveda as follows:
Over reaction on touching the affected joint, Swelling and tenderness of the affected joint, Unbearable pain (as if some body is cutting the joint), Burning sensation, Warmth in the joint, Inflammation, Touching or moving the joint is extremely painful.
According to Ayurveda, it is known as “Vata Rakta” and is caused due to imbalance in both Vata dosh and Rakta. The first line of treatment includes, avoiding the causes.
Certain therapies play a very important role in the management of gout.
Such therapies include:
Virechan (Purgation Therapy)
Basti (Medicated enema) – This is said to be excellent therapy for the GOUT
Rakta Mokshan (Blood letting)
Herbo- mineral oral medications available in many different combinations according to the condition of the disease.
Paste of certain herbs for local application, as single or in combination are used
Depending upon the condition of disease & the patient other therapies are also used for the management of Gout.