April 2018
The Herb Lady

Gout – OUCH!

A good many of my friends are hobbling around and grunting due to the pain of gout. It seems to be a very good subject for a column. Thankfully, I’ve never experienced this health problem myself, but someday I might.

Gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the blood, tissue and urine, and too much yeast fungus in the bowel from our diet.

Someone much smarter than I am has given me some tips on the control of this painful malady. I’m going to share them.

I suggest you get on a proper diet and stick to it. Avoid all red meat, chicken, mushrooms, alcohol, beans (except green beans), peas, spinach, sugar or flour products. Eat lots of cherries and strawberries, also watermelon when available. Take wild black cherry juice concentrate regularly. (I have never seen this in a grocery store but it can be found in most herb shops.)

Take pau d’arco. It will rid your body of unhealthy fungus. I’ve written about this wonderful herb before. The tree grows in South America. No unhealthy fungus, etc., is found near it.

Take probiotics (this is the good bacteria that are very necessary for a healthy colon.)

You might add food enzymes that will aid in proper digestion. Hopefully, you are already taking a good multiple vitamin. Extra vitamin C is needed and can be obtained by taking rosehips.

Juniper berries, safflowers and bayberry are all useful for gout control.

Here is my favorite gout story to tell:

Richard, my husband, and I moved back to Goshen (our hometown) in 1990. We had been there a short time when we engaged a pruning service to remove a pecan tree limb. The "Boss" stood talking with Richard while his employees did the job. I walked up to hear him tell this tale.

A few years earlier he had suffered from gout. He could not walk or work. His doctor’s prescription helped, but just didn’t give proper relief. He crawled to the bathroom. He met some lady who suggested he take bayberry (also called wax myrtle). He did so and was much improved by doing so. He was happy to once again live an ordinary life.

This man did not know me and had no idea I was "The Herb Lady."

"Do you know what this plant looks like?" I asked.

"No," he replied.

"Come to my backyard herb garden and I will show you one," I said.

His curiosity prompted him to ask how I knew this. I explained that I was an herbalist.

Bayberry (Myrica cerifera), or wax myrtle if you prefer, is a native plant that has come out of the woods and into our yards as shrubbery. According to "North American Wildlife" by Readers Digest, bayberry grows in the coastal states from Texas to New England. It is easy to spot as I travel the roads because the leaves on the tips of the limbs have a slightly golden color. This is more noticeable in the winter time.

Bayberry is an excellent insect repellent. By adding the leaves to your dog’s bed, fleas will be deterred and your pet will say, "Thank you."

In the 30s and 40s, no self-respecting family allowed grass to grow in their yards. Instead, they swept their yards regularly with brush-brooms. These brooms were made from either dogwood or bayberry sprigs. Several carefully selected sprigs were tied together with pre-used haywire. (Recycling is by no means a new concept.)

The limbs of bayberry bear a bumper crop of berries each year. From these berries, wax is obtained for candles. Today, we simply buy the candles, but there was a time when we made our own. To do this, bayberry limbs were broken into small links and stuffed in a large pot. The pot was filled with water. A fire was lit and the contents boiled. While still hot, the debris was dipped and discarded. The next morning, solid wax floated on top of the water and was ready to be used for candles. This was done during cold weather, of course.

If I should develop gout, I plan to take bayberry along with the other nutrients mentioned.

Check with your doctor before taking alternatives.


Nadine Johnson can be reached at PO Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577, by calling 251-644-5473, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..