A toxic but effective cure for gout pain

I was surprised that your article on gout made no mention of colchicine, which I find clears up my gout in hours (I’m 35 and I have gout – and it’s not for the reasons you think, 18 August). Colchicine, in the form of the autumn crocus, was used as early as 1500BC to treat joint swelling. The plant is highly toxic because of the colchicine, so my GP will only prescribe 12 tablets at a time. But they do work, without the side-effects of painkillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Paddy Moindrot
Llanfyllin, Powys

In contrast to the letters about tactless firms making grieving worse (14 August), I would like to pay tribute to the government’s Tell Us Once service, which I found when my wife died a few months ago. It offers a list of public services that can be selected if they seem likely to be relevant, and they will be informed following a single message with the details. It doesn’t solve all the problems, but is a rare example of consumer benefit from government automation.
Alan Bailey

So Amol Rajan will succeed Jeremy Paxman and Bamber Gascoigne as University Challenge host (Report, 18 August). All three graduated from Cambridge – Downing College, St Catharine’s College and Magdalene College respectively. And Paxman and Rajan were editors of Varsity, the student newspaper.
Paul Gelling
Prenton, Merseyside

On Thursday (18 August) you published my letter bemoaning the lack of Royal Mail deliveries to my street. On Saturday I had a large delivery. Never underestimate the power of the Guardian.
Sue Ball

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