Colchisine comes from the poisonous colchicum plant, which was discovered by the wine-swilling Greek Pedanius Dioscoride in the first century AD when casting about for a cure for his gout. He wandered up a hill and came across the curious colchicum plant, pleasantly called “meadow saffron” at the time, and naturally he ate it, as the ancients were prone to do as there wasn't exactly fast food around. After lying prostrate in his own vomit and excrement for two days, to his delight he found that it also completely cured the pain of his gout, right before he keeled over and died of organ failure.
I think it is indicative of the priority gout gets in the medical community that nobody has seen fit to find a better remedy since the first century – maybe one that isn't poisonous. It's the Rodney Dangerfield of diseases. Gout commands so little respect that although cholchisine has been known to relieve its symptoms since 1 A.D., the FDA still hasn't gotten around to approving it in the U.S. How my doctor prescribes it is beyond me – perhaps it is because we are so close to Mexico? You don't see the high society set rushing to throw elaborate “Race for the Cure” fund raising galas for the gout. Nobody is racing for the cure – nobody is even crawling for the cure. Hell, I doubt anybody is even casually looking for the cure. It's not for lack of sufferers. Gout afflicts millions each year, the silent crippler – three out of ten men get it at some point in their lives.
I think the main reason gout doesn't get respect is because of its unfortunate name: “The gout” doesn't inspire much sympathy for its sufferers. It sounds too close to “goat”, which never conjures images of good feeling or even good smells. If it were called “razor-joint arthritis” (RJA) or perhaps named after a celebrity with the gout, “Jared Leto Syndrome” (JLS), then maybe things would start snapping. (I once met Jared Leto several years ago in Australia, and I think, from our brief contact, that he would be a fine spokesperson for our affliction, and perhaps he'll even throw out the first handful of colchisine pills at our first gala. He got gout from losing a lot of weight for a movie, probably the same reason I got it).
I believe another reason gout commands so little respect is because it is widely derided as the “rich man's disease”, because one of the causes of gout is rich foods, expensive wine, and diamonds. Okay, not diamonds. But the fact remains that, right or wrong, nobody gives a damn about rich men. The only thing that would make it worse if it were rich white men, but luckily for all of us sufferers of gout, many rich men of color also get it – it's an equal opportunity disease. I myself am decidedly not rich, but it's my luck to get the maladies of the rich without actually having the money.
So I am looking into creating some gout awareness out there. Perhaps I will have one of our high society matrons design a ribbon to wear on tuxedo lapels, bring in Jared Leto, and have a good old fashioned gout gala. We could give out canes as door prizes and raffle off a gout pig.