Causes and Symptoms: Gout is another disorder of the metabolism which afflicts some persons. It is associated with the presence of large amounts of uric acid in the blood; there is inflammation of the joints with deposition of sodium urate and also some changes in the various organs of the body. In 50 to 80 percent of the cases, gout is found to be hereditary. People with sedentary habits are more prone to it than those who lead an active life. Lack of exercise, indulgence in rich foods and alcohol are some of the precipitating factors, even though it cannot be said that teetotalers and vegetarians are immune to it. Women are apt to suffer from gout near their menopause and men exposed to Lead poisoning almost invariably suffer from it.
Gout starts without warning, but sometimes there are some premonitory symptoms like disorders of the digestive organs, with a feeble appetite, flatulence, uneasiness in the right side of the liver, and irritation in the urinary organs. There may also be numbness and a feeling of coldness in the limbs the patient may wake up in the small hours of the morning and find that there is a painful feeling in the foot-generally the ball of the great toe or the instep of the heel or the thumb. There is rigour (shivering) and feverishness.
The affected part becomes swollen and there is a feeling of extreme discomfort followed by dyspepsia, thirst constipation and even cramps in the limbs. If appropriate remedies are not given in time, the disease may spread to other joints of the body.
Poisoning of the system because of afflictions like syphilis, gonorrhea, influenza, pyorrhea etc. may also give rise to gout. Exposure to damp and cold may bring along an attack of the malady in some cases.
The first thing to do in a case of gout is to protect the patient from exposure to cold and damp. All constipating and wind-forming foods should be banned. Non-vegetarian foods are best avoided in cases of gout. Alcohol and alcoholic drinks should not be taken.
Remedies: Equal quantities of Asparagus Seeds (Halong), Black Cumin (Kalaunji), Fenugreek (Methi) and Ajwain should be taken and swallowed every morning in doses of 3 mashas. The remedy is also recommended for rheumatism and lumbago.
One ratti of White Arsenic, one dried Grape and six grains of Pepper should be finely powdered and made into 24 pills; one pill is recommended every day after breakfast. The patient should take plenty of milk and butter during the period he is taking this medicine.
As for local applications to relieve the inflammation and pain of gout, warmed leaves of gigantic Swallow Wort over the affected joint would relieve the pain. Crushed Cottonseeds boiled in water should be applied as a poultice on the swollen joints. Or, two chhatanks of leaves of Dhatura, Akh, Castor Oil Tree, Common Milk Hedge (Thoohar) should be crushed and the juice expressed. The juice should be mixed with an equal weight of Sesame Oil and boiled till the moisture is burned away and only oil is left. It should be used for massaging the affected parts after which they should be bandaged to keep them warm.
Regimen: The patient must avoid fried substances, sour foods like curds and alcohol. Moong dal, meat soup, garlic, onions, bitter gourd, papaya and green banana are the foods which help in controlling gout.