By J.D. Heyes

In a recent column, Fox News health writer Dr. Manny Alvarez was asked about three separate medical conditions — gout; cystic acne on the face, back and chest; and toenail fungus. In each case, instead of recommending chemicals, he suggested natural remedies that have been proven to work every bit as well.

Alvarez, who said he consulted friend and fellow Fox News contributor Chris Kilham for his recommendations, first explained each of the conditions and their causes.

Relieving gout

Gout, he says, is a form of arthritis and is caused by an imbalance of uric acid, a normal by-product of human metabolism. When it is present in excess, uric acid can crystalliSe in and around joints, thus leading to acute arthritis, “which can be incredibly painful,” Alvarez writes.

Fortunately, there are several natural remedies for the condition. In particular, Kilham recommends black cherry. “There’s excellent evidence of gout being relieved by black cherry,” he claims.

In fact, a recent study conducted by the University of California-Davis actually found that eating at least a serving of cherries per day may reduce uric acid levels by as much as 15 percent. And though black cherry supplements can and do work, Kilham says he prefers to drink black cherry juice to treat gout.

Natural News editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has made a similar recommendation in an April 2009 piece:

“I bet the big drug companies wish they had invented cherries — they’ve proven to be the most powerful medicine in the world for eliminating gout and reducing the pain and inflammation of arthritis. Cherries are such a powerful medicine for gout and arthritis, in fact, that the FDA went out of its way to try to muzzle cherry growers, preventing them from linking to scientific studies on cherries as a way to censor the information…”

Treating acne

As to the acne problem, Alvarez says that using manuka oil is effective in treating the irritating, bacteria-filled pustules.

He further notes:

“Manuka oil, or Leptospermum scoparium, comes from the leaves of a bush that grows in New Zealand. It contains profound anti-bacterial properties and is used as a topical remedy for many skin ailments, including acne and inflammation.”

“In terms of killing acne eruptions and getting to bacteria, manuka oil works very, very well,” Kilham claims. “If you put it on cystic acne regularly, it’s going to take it way down or get rid of it completely.”

Adams, in this 2009 piece, said that a diet free of dairy products and fried foods, along with some other natural remedies, will help clear up acne.

Those natural treatments include this recommendation by Valarie Ann Worwood:

“A daily intake of 50,000 units of vitamin A and 50 mg of zinc has reportedly cleared some forms of acne, and a version of vitamin A — retinoic acid (RA), also called vitamin A acid (which is classified as a drug) — has been used as a topical acne treatment as well, though some people are allergic to it. It’s also been used to treat aging skin (RA causes the shedding of skin cells). Vitamin A can be obtained from fish liver oil, liver, carrots, green and yellow vegetables, eggs, milk and dairy products, margarine and yellow fruit.”

Getting rid of nail fungus

If you’re looking to treat a case of toe fungus, Kilham confidently recommends tamanu oil, or Calophyllum inophyllum, a tropical nut oil from the Pacific Islands. Previous studies have documented that the oil works great to treat toe fungus.

“Toenail fungus responds rather brilliantly to tamanu oil,” according to Kilham. “If you put the oil on the nail, it will get rid of the fungus.”

In this October 2009 Natural News report, the author also recommends olive leaf as another remedy to treat nail fungus:

“Olive leaf has been proven to be an excellent anti-fungal herb in the fight against many diseases to include toe fungus, athlete’s foot and jock itch.”