Gout was once believed to be the inevitable result of high living and over-indulgence in alcohol, but gout is actually caused by an excess of uric acid and other compounds which accumulate in the blood. Gout can also be a painful side-effect of some modern medicines and diuretics. The intense pain and swelling in the joints is caused by acid and urate crystals and the crystals can also collect in the kidneys, causing kidney stones. Gout attacks often wear off after a few days, and may never recur, but repeated attacks can lead to permanent damage.

Chinese Medicine practitioners will treat patients for heat and damp in the blood and liver channel Sometimes gout is also diagnosed in Chinese Medicine as a kidneydeficiency. The treatment is similar to that for kidney stones or arthritis. Herbs used in Chinese medicine include bamboo leaves, Japanese thistle, akebia and flowering quince fruit. Acupuncture and moxibustion are usually effective in alleviating pain.

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