Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatments for Gout

TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine encompasses acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas, and other lesser-known modes of treatment to treat gout and various other types of diseases. TCM is a very old Chinese medical practice believed to be over 3,000 years old. It is respected the world over and deemed to be a very good alternative to Western conventional medicine. A clinical study in China conducted by Tiao Rong and Zhang Ming compared the efficacy of Western gout therapies to that of Chinese herbal treatment for gout. The results indicated that both treatment groups who were given Chinese herbs and the control group which was treated with Western medicines was virtually the same (94% vs. 94.2%). Between the two groups, the only noticeable difference was that the treatment group did not suffer from any of the numerous symptoms of the control group. Becker concluded that Chinese herbs have zero dangerous side effects when used under the guidance of a qualified practitioner of natural health care.

Blood-letting cupping

The use of cupping or blood-letting is not a well-known Eastern treatment in the West. In 2010, its use however, had seen some sort of revival in China especially for the treatment of gout, as reported by the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This technique was the subject of a study that involved 34 participants who had acute gout. They ware treated with a combination of Chinese herbs and blood-letting cupping. Outcomes reveal that over 61% of the 34 patients showed improvements. This is seen as a good result for the treatment of gouty arthritis. Talk to a qualified practitioner to know more about blood-letting cupping and never perform this procedure on yourself.

Burdock Root

The root of Burdock herb can relieve swelling and inflammation in the joint tissues. It is also used as a natural diuretic that can help decrease edema. For topical application, you can use it use as a poultice or brew the root into a tea. The root is edible and so you can eat it raw on salads or cook it like parsnips or carrots. Urban Herbs report that when used topically, burdock root can cause adverse reactions and in certain cases may lead to contact dermatitis or a rash.


Dandelion is both a Western and TCM herbal medicine and it is used to alleviate pain associated with gout. Herbal therapists utilize dandelion due to its anti-inflammatory and diuretic abilities. For a topical application in gout, you can dandelion as an herbal poultice or make it into a tea. It can also help relieve edema and swelling around the joints. This herb stimulates the excretion of the cause of gouty arthritis: uric acid.

Meadow Saffron

Meadow saffron contains the alkaloids colchicoside and colchicine, both of which possess diuretic and analgesic qualities. Therefore, they are ideal for the treatment of water retention (edema) around the affected joints, inflammation, and gout pain. Pharmaceutical medications for gout treatment also contain colchicine. Due to its extreme toxicity, a qualified health practitioner should always carefully supervise a patient taking colchicine in any form.

Ermiao Wan

The Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2004 published a study showing how ermiao wan, a Chinese medicinal herb can alleviate edema and swelling. In China, this herb is used to treat people with elevated uric acid levels (hyperuricemia) and patients with gout. Ermiao wan can be purchased from Chinese practitioners and herbalists and should be only used under the guidance of a qualified Oriental Medicine practitioner.

Amy-SuiQun Lui, L.Ac.
Asian Health Center
27059 Grand Army of the Republic Hwy
Cleveland, OH 44143
Tel: (440) 833-0983