London - Scientists are investigating whether an ancient Chinese remedy called Chuanhu may ease the pain of gout.

The anti-gout mixture is based on a number of plant extracts and has been used for many years to treat the condition, which causes painful swollen joints.

It is caused by a build-up of the naturally occurring compound uric acid, and usually affects the big toe.

In a new trial at Qingdao University Hospital of nearly 200 patients, half will be given the Chinese remedy while half will receive the standard drug treatment colchinine, a medication originally extracted from autumn crocus.

The patients will all have been recently diagnosed with the condition and will take the treatment for ten days, after which time their symptoms will be assessed. - Daily Mail