golden raisins and gin

We have received more mail about this “raisin remedy” than any other home remedy we have written about. Many people are incredulous that eating nine gin soaked raisins daily could do anything for persistent pain, but others have tried it and swear that it helps to relieve arthritis pain and other chronic inflammation such as bursitis, plantar fasciitis or tendinitis.

We don’t know how it got started or why it works, but many readers would like to know how to make gin soaked raisins for their use at home. There are a few situations in which this remedy would not be appropriate: having gin (even gin soaked raisins) in the home would be a problem for a person with alcohol dependency. Also, people with sulfite allergies must avoid golden raisins, as they always have sulfites in them.

How to Make Gin Soaked Raisins:

  • Ingredients: golden raisins and gin.
  • Empty the raisins into a bowl and pour in just enough gin to cover the raisins. Allow the gin to evaporate (about one week) and then place the moist raisins in a jar with a lid.
  • Eat nine raisins a day. They go well on cereal!

Some Questions about Gin Soaked Raisins:

There are some questions that people frequently ask.

For example, does it matter what gin is used to soak the raisins? The answer is yes. The cheapest gin does not appear to work very well. The gin should be one that is flavored with actual juniper berries (the quintessential flavoring for gin). Other botanicals may also be used, the juniper berries appear to be important. Usually the label will give you this information, but if you are unsure, someone staffing the liquor store may be able to help.

Should the raisins be stored in the refrigerator after soaking? If someone is consuming them on a regular basis, they need not be refrigerated. Raisins generally do pretty well unrefrigerated in the cupboard; adding alcohol, which can be used as a preservative in some cases, does not seem to make them more susceptible to mold or other problems.

People also wonder whether the raisins must be golden, or whether dark raisins also work. Some readers have reported using dark raisins to good effect. Usually, though, the remedy as people have learned it specifies golden (or “white”) raisins. Unless the sulfites used to preserve the raisins’ beautiful light color is a critical component of the remedy (which is possible), we can’t imagine why it would matter. Unfortunately, there have been no studies to compare the two, so we have no data for answering this question.

A number of people have inquired about the amount of alcohol in this remedy. We had it analyzed, and found that in nine raisins (the daily dose) there is one drop of alcohol. For most people, that would not pose a problem.

We answer this and other frequently asked questions about the gin soaked raisin remedy in our Guide to Alternative Treatments for Arthritis. You can also learn more by searching this website for “raisins.”

What Readers Say about Gin Soaked Raisins:

Here are some reader experiences with gin soaked raisins.

“I suffered from hip pain for almost 6 years. The pain was worse when standing, not so bad when walking/moving around. During this time, I went to two different chiropractors, had three different injections with three different doctors (pain doctors and sports medicine), went through some acupuncture sessions with two different acupunturists.

“My regular doctor commented about two of his patients who had pain relief from the raisin/gin treatment, so I tried it. A few days after I started the treatment I was standing in line to pickup some prescriptions at Wal-Mart and suddenly realized I had not pain when standing. I’ve been pain free for a little over a year now.”

“My sister e-mailed me about your site & about the gin soaked raisins. After trying it I’ve been pain free in my fingers for the first time in three years.”

“I read several articles for the gin soaked raisins and decided, even though I am a breast cancer survivor, that they were worth a try. The arthritis in my back was so severe that I could hardly turn over in bed or even get out of bed in the a.m. The pain was so bad that I thought my cancer had returned and was in my back, but tests showed it was arthritis.

“After the first several days I actually got out of bed and noticed that I didn’t have to walk to the bathroom all bent over. I could stand straight and had no back pain. I don’t always take them on a daily basis – just when I remember – and the pain still has not returned even after several months.

“I finally convinced my husband to try it for his arthritis. He noticed relief after only a few days and also had more energy. I don’t know if that goes along with it, but he did mention the extra energy. He’s on heart medication so we were concerned about the amount of alcohol but were convinced there wasn’t much alcohol left in the raisins after we drained the remainder of the gin off. Make sure you purchase a gin that specifically states that they make it with juniper berries and use only the golden raisins. Don’t leave the raisins set in the gin or you are getting more alcohol in your system. They need to be drained.”

“I first heard about the gin and raisins a couple of years ago on The Peoples Pharmacy. Later, as I developed pain and swelling in my hands after hard use, which is now constant, I tried the golden raisins and the best gin. I ate nine every day for three months and did not find relief of pain. While I enjoyed the tender and tasty raisins, the remedy did not work for me.”

It is worth noting that gin soaked raisins are not a panacea that work for everyone with joint pain. So far as we know, however, even anti-inflammatory medications do not work equally well for all arthritis sufferers. We think that this remedy is worth a try. If it doesn’t help within three months, a person is well justified in discontinuing it and seeking another approach.

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  1. jan

    For years I suffered with extreme pain in my hips and legs from MS. I stumbled upon the raisin remedy one night about 8 years ago and they have totally changed my life. I made the raisins the next day and was so desperate that I couldn’t wait a week to try them. I began to eat them after about 6 hours. At first I ate a spoonful twice a day and within just a few days I was pain free for the first time in many, many years.

    I make 1/2 gallon ball jars full & keep them for months because they taste so much better after sitting for a while. Also because I don’t ever want to run out! I always use Seagrams Distilled Gin and regular boxed Golden Raisins that I buy at Walmart. I don’t always like the way they taste but who cares if they take the pain away! It is just a spoonful! Just put them in your mouth and swallow. Chase with something you like.

    Almost all pain is caused by inflamation which the raisins seem to control. I have friends who have tried them for all kinds of pain. Knee. Shoulder. Neck. The raisins have helped most of them. I think the real key is eating them consistently every day. Not just when you think about it.

  2. Betty F.

    Way back my knee went bad, the bone on bone thing, and I did use the raisin therapy and it did feel better, but I still had the ‘life returning’ surgery and I am super pleased. It felt better, but not better enough.

    But now, thanks to my enthusiastic yoga my arms are getting horrid. I had to quit the yoga as I couldn’t even get out of bed in the mornings. (Just try to get out of bed with horrid painful arms) So far no wet bed! I still do pool aerobics and have either none, or a barely noticeable pain from that.

    The doctor just laughed and said ‘go back to yoga –all the exercise you can get is good.’ No way can I go back to Yoga. I stick to the pool aerobics-modified- only. The pain is not as acute, but it is still there. I can barely put my dishes in the cupboard. Sometimes I can not. I need to help lift my arm with my other arm. Often just lifting the coffee cup is painful.

    After a painful 8 or 9 months I suddenly remembered the gin/raisin thing. Why not try it again. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, though for the life of me I do not know how it could work.

    Six days I have been on it. I can now lift my arms at any time straight up in the air. One kind of pain-grabs about half way up once in a while, but the other arm is almost normal. I can now pump my arms half way up and down, up and down, with NO pain. (Well, maybe twinges, but not debilitating).

    There is absolutely no reason gin/raisins should work. And if it is, is it just covering? Whatever, I am continuing. It might be psychological? I don’t know that I care if it is, if it works. Today is my 6th morning of raisins. Everything is so much better. What will happen next week at this time?

    Waiting to find out. Betty in Wisconsin

  3. Ed

    Is there enough alcohol in the 9 raisons soaked in gin to register on a breathalizer tester?

  4. Dean D. Froese
    Saskatchewan, CANADA

    Some use rum and some use gin. Everyone that I have talked with in my part of the country use rum. Does one work better than the other?

  5. Tina

    One winter morning I woke up, my whole body was stiff. Later, I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with arthritis. 6 Months went by where I could barely move. I cried and cried. Then I started with the gin and raisin. For 4 months now I have been on it and feel better. I am able to move better. I have tried 3 different types of gin. They all worked well for me.

  6. Becky H

    I have read that for some you can feel the difference right away. My husband (doubting Thomas) and I started yesterday. Several hours after taking it I’m going h’mmmmmm. Today I can definitely say the arthritis in my knee is better. I have a bit of gout in my toe and am hoping it will work for that also. Gonna come back with an update in a few weeks.

  7. Leonore B

    You will never taste the liquor. Its absorbed in the raisins. I believe you must use gin. I do not drink any alcohol because I hate the taste. If that is your reason don’t worry, you will not taste it. Good luck.

  8. nickie m.

    So I have been doing this for a while ( several years)
    Works great I use sloe gin taste better.
    But my question is: is it still good if you put sloe gin in and hot damn cinnamon schnapps?
    I added the hot damn cinnamon schnapps by mistake thinking it was sloe gin till I saw the bottle after putting it in there…
    So now it is a mixture of golden grapes and sloe gin and hot damn cinnamon schnapps!…???
    Is it still ok to use and will it have the same effect?
    Thanks in advance for answers.

  9. eugpenn

    I doubt very much if your symptoms are related. I have been taking the raisins for about a year for osteoarthritis in my finger joints and they are very effective. I also am a heart patient and have not had any side effects heartwise and this is with 2 visits per yr to my cardiologist, which would be detected by him and me. Glad you are getting pain relief in your knee ;-) Do what you think is best.

  10. G. Raksha

    I have used gin soaked raisins(9), after four days I felt that my blood pressure is increased and sleeplessness in the night. However, there is enough relief in my knee pain. Kindly inform me whether this was the consequence of Gin soaked raisins? Raksha G.
    People’s Pharmacy response: We have not heard of these side effects of gin-soaked raisins before. If it doesn’t improve, however, it may be the way you react.

  11. Dave R

    You’re right about the sulphur. I just returned from my doc who had read about the Golden raisin/gin in two separate medical publications, each explaining that the sulphur is what turns them golden and is reactivated when exposed to the gin because of the properties in juniper berries. He is quite the scientific type and researched it well. My pain is left side only, quite severe and due to a spinal injury, not arthritis but I’m going to give this a try. Sulphur has been reported as helpful for centuries (Sulpher baths, natural springs, etc.) so I’m hoping I’ll have great results.

  12. richard s.

    The Golden Raisin/Gin treatments works for my finger joints only. My thumb is still inflamed and painful as are my hips and feet. About as much relief as taking 2 full strength aspirins. Another reader asked if there is any difference in brands of Gin. I have tried 3 brands with no change. Also, to note; I was out of Gin for about a week and just had the raisins every morning and the pain came back. Then I tried just the Gin with no relief, but went back to the combo and again felt relief in my finger joints.
    Thanks for the tip.

  13. Nancy L.

    Thanks for the update. I have been keeping the raisins covered in a small cream cheese container.

  14. pa

    Cover your gin/raisin mix with a plain old paper towel. Worked for me.

  15. pa

    You should not cover the raisin and gin concoction – they need air, so use something like a paper towel. It took me about 10 days for the gin to be absorbed except for a few drops, and the instructions I followed said to NOT refrigerate during OR after – just leave them in a covered jar on the counter (or hide them if you have nosy anti-liquor neighbors).

  16. pg

    Margo, I just found this blog site and have finally reached your comment about the raisin/gin and use for fibro. I have fibro as well as severe osteoarthritis. Of course, I’m 81 years old, so I’m sure that contribute some. I started the stuff less than a week ago and already notice I’m having less arthritis pain, but since I’m on Lyrica I’m not sure about this helping fibro. but Anyway, your message is quite old, but I really want to know if they did help your fibro. Will you comment and let me know? My curiosity (and hope) are driving me nuts! I’d so love to toss one more expensive medication! Many thanks.

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