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The Gout Dugout.Issue #043. stinging nettle for gout | thumbs down for Ilaris | dealing with gout
July 22, 2011

Hello and Welcome to the July 2011 edition of the Gout Dugout newsletter, the free gout newsletter. Only ten minutes to read, and it gives you ideas about gout you might find usable. I'll start with an item about stinging nettle and gout.


I recently received a very interesting email from a visitor living in India. He has suffered gout for 10 years and as usual it got progressively worse as the years passed by. His most recent attack was in both the ankle and the toe.

By word of mouth he learnt about taking stinging nettle (urtica dioica) and concurrently to eat watermelon. I have no idea why watermelon was also recommended (maybe the water) - and neither did my correspondent - but the folklore about stinging nettle for gout (including nettle tea for gout) is that they are anti-inflammatory and they supposedly can lower uric acid too.

He took 8-10 stinging nettle drops in water and 1 kilo (2.2 lbs) of watermelon, both twice a day. He was almost completely O.K. later on the second day. After 3 days completely O.K. Back to work on the fourth.

Your common-or-garden stinging nettle is one of the most intriguing gout remedies. You can easily find recipes for using it on the Internet. (See below). It has not been studied in humans with gout but the best that can be said - as far as studies are concerned - is that I remember reading one study found it lowered uric acid in ducks. A quack-quack study? Maybe, there was just the one.

And James Duke wrote stinging nettle extract into his chapter on gout in The Green Pharmacy but only rated it at one leaf; the best herbal remedies for gout got three.

So..... there are suggestions out there that stinging nettle is useful. What did my correspondent think?

He was delighted with the results. So I asked him the key question. Was it the stinging nettle drops (plus watermelon) or was the attack ending anyway? His revealing reply was that it was the stinging nettle. Why? Remember he has 10 years' experience of gout attacks. Because the attack ended much faster (after three days) than his usual ones, which normally lasted three weeks.

And usually of course gout attacks get longer over time, not shorter.

You can find stinging nettle tinctures, (non alcoholic are obviously best), standardised (standardized) extracts of roots and leaves, tea and tea bags,and other varieties at vitamins, minerals and herbs sites on the Internet.

I'm not sure if nettle tea is a form of nettle that does any good. I wish I knew which form was best - maybe the standardised (standardized) extracts. So please research this further if you're interested - there are other videos on

This video on YouTube shows you how to make nettle tea. It's easy.

And watch this one about harvesting nettles (don't forget the gloves!).

And this one demonstrates both harvesting and making nettle tea.

Nettle soup

This YouTube video shows you how to make nettle soup.


There was disappointing news in June for those who have hoped for a replacement for colchicine, corticosteroids and NSAIDS for gout pain relief. It was disappointing because its developers said 300,000 in the U.S. alone, need what it can do.

An Arthritis Advisory Committee of the U.S. FDA decided, almost unanimously, not to recommend Ilaris for approval. It is the FDA itself that approves, or not, but now that its specially convened committee has voted against so conclusively it's hard to see Ilaris getting approval for its current gout specifications.

Why the thumbs down?

Ilaris, an injectable at 150 mg, initially done when a gout attack starts, works by inhibiting a cytokine (IL1-b) which is associated with gout flares. By doing this it has reduced gout pain and inflammation by a significant amount on pain reduction scales. It does not reduce uric acid. In fact a significant minority of trialists had a uric acid increase of more than 2.0 mg/dL.

The AA committee didn't dispute that it's pretty effective at reducing pain, (by 60-70% in patients with 6-7 attacks annually), but they concluded the side effects/adverse reactions were too great. And it was not thought that it could extend the time to the next gout attack (12-0 vote), nor that it reduces the frequency of future attacks (8-4 vote).

What next for Ilaris?

Ilaris is already approved for two inflammatory diseases, but, almost certainly the FDA won't approve it for its currently proposed type of gout patients (severe gout). However this isn't the end of Ilaris. Novartis, its developers, took heart from the fact that the committee thought the drug is effective enough, although it doesn't invariably end gout pain completely. So Novartis talk of re-applying, probably after more study and changes.

Colchicine often works, but something better than colchicine is needed, even if it's much more expensive….. as are biologic drugs like Ilaris.


I have now uploaded on the website a couple of pages about the fructose and gout conundrum where I investigate the question in more detail than in last month's newsletter. That was designed to alert you to the possibility that fructose could be your cause of gout.

It was an appetiser (appetizer) if you like about fructose and gout. A bigger meal is on these pages. And do you need to know where fructose is to be found? Yes you do. Use the sources linked to from the fructose pages, which are.

Alternative Health Research/Flamasil™

Although I personally don't think the fructose argument has been proved across large populations, there are serious arguments that fructose does cause gout. And there are gout sufferers who think fructose is the cause. I couldn't dispute what I've been told on personal email correspondence. And it's not just fruit fructose, which I think is pretty harmless as long as you don't over eat it.

Drink more than four or five colas a day? Regularly eat processed foods where HFCS has been added as a sweetener instead of sugar? Be careful!

There is even the remote possibility that you are someone who doesn't metabolise (metabolize) fructose correctly, which leads to elevated uric acid. If you have gout, this is enough IMO to require monitoring your fructose intake, and monitor it too if you have elevated uric acid.


I'm always droning on that the more you know about food the better placed you are to make better food choices. Obvious really, but what exactly should you know? A lot.

For everything you digest (except medicines) you need to know the purines (high, medium or low), carbs, calories, fructose amount, acid-alkaline rating, GI-GL. So how do you go about getting this knowledge? Start with the regular foods (and drinks) you consume.

Make a list of them. Using the list, look up the amount numbers, write them down and carry this list about with you to refer to in odd moments. Use it when you are shopping and in restaurants. Or use it to look up any food idea that comes into your head. Apply successful learning techniques you used at school/further education.

I don't think you need to remember exact numbers. I diet successfully on Atkins when I have to, but I don't count carbs every day. I'm just too lazy about this to bother. But I definitely do know the approximate amounts of carbs in foods and beverages, or I can make a usually accurate guess. Just occasionally, I have to look up something I've forgotten or for a new food. I also know the purines, acid-alkaline, GI-GL, and often the calories. (I don't use low calorie diets so this isn't so important to me but you might).

Without this knowledge you simply can't apply it. It's not too difficult to do this but you must be sufficiently interested, or motivated.If the prospect of beating gout naturally (or with drugs) isn't enough motivation, I don't know what is. But human nature is a curious thing, and one of the main reasons why too few people clear up gout naturally, or with drugs, is that they settle for "living with it." They ignore the truth that – untreated or not treated well - it's going to get worse, slowly but surely.

The UASure is a DIY home uric acid test kit. It measures the level of uric acid in the blood. Click on the link below to visit a company who can ship it world-wide, including North America, from Britain.


I said apricots were high fructose in the June GD. No! It's dried apricots that are high fructose. A medium size apricot is low fructose.


I promised something on parsley and gout for this issue. It's turned out to be a bigger topic than I initially thought, more suitable for a website page than a newsletter item. Next month, among other items, there will be a link to the parsley and gout page that I'll upload soon.

If you are not a subscriber to the Gout Dugout, this free monthly gout newsletter, you can sign up at this page - click on the link below.

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Thanks for reading and all the best of health.

John Mepham BA.(Econ).

799, Infantry Street,
Palar, Armor Vllage,
Makati City 1201,

P.S. You may distribute this newsletter freely and free-of-charge, providing any links in it remain unchanged and it remains intact. Partial copying is not allowed.

NB. The contents of this newsletter contain medical information, not medical advice. Please always discuss gout remedies with a doctor, or other health care professional, before implementing any treatment.

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