Q. I am totally confused this raisin remedy I keep reading about in your column. Why golden raisins and not black raisins? How much gin do you use and how long do you wait for the raisins to dry out? What happens if you eat more than nine raisins a day? How much alcohol is left in the raisins after it evaporates? Most important, does it really work against arthritis?
A. The gin and golden raisin recipe for arthritis is a home remedy. Like most such alternative approaches there is no science to explain the phenomenon.
Who knows how golden raisins were selected and why someone decided nine a day was the right dose. You empty a box of raisins in a bowl and pour just enough gin to cover them. Wait about a week or so for most of the gin to evaporate. Nine raisins have about a drop of alcohol.
You can learn more details about the “Gin Raisin Remedy” and read answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.
As for the effectiveness of the raisin remedy, all we have are testimonials. One recent message offered the following:
“My husband had severe pain in his legs and hip. A friend told us about using white raisins soaked in gin. He started taking this and immediately saw a remarkable improvement. He also has diabetes and hypertension. We were not sure if the pain was from traumatic arthritis (he had had a pretty major accident in the past) or perhaps peripheral neuropathy from diabetes.
“Please share our experience. It has been a miracle for my husband. You only eat 9 raisins per day in the evening. He could barely get out of a chair before he started taking this home remedy.”

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  1. Catharine J.
    Rockford ,Il

    I had been using raisins in gin for several years. Stopped 3 months ago because of other issues that arose. Pain, pain pain. Even went to see about a knee replacement. Started raisins and gin again 2 1/2 weeks ago. Guess what?? No more pain and I can walk up the stairs and move easily without a cane! I will NEVER AGAIN stop taking raisins in gin!

  2. K B McCarty
    Medford, OR

    I was wondering, does the raisins and gin do anything for the diabetes itself?

  3. jolene c.
    pismo beach, california

    I use Junipero Gin I got at Bev Mo.

  4. Charles
    Sacramento CA USA

    This is an old standup comedy routine; but the punchline is to “throw the raisins away and drink the gin”. Repeat as necessary. If it works; do it.

  5. mike

    do you refridegerate the raisins and gin while the gin evaporates, if so do you keep it covered?

    • DN

      If you want the gin to evaporate down to a thick, golden syrup you better put it out on the counter uncovered, takes a week or two, depends on room temperature in your house. You can set a lid loosely on it but that will slow down the evaporation rate.

    • Backbutton

      A reply, my two cents, on several of the comments.

      You want to cover the gin and raisin container, but you do not want to put a lid on it–just use a paper towel (which will breathe) and secure with rubber band. You do want to keep the dirt and any flying insects, if any, out.

      You do not refrigerate, just let it sit on the counter.

      Where does diabetes come into this? This is presumably for arthritic pain, as far as I understand.

      As I had mentioned previously, I made this for my mother. After she died, I kept the gin and raisins for four more years, but did not touch them. They turned black, I threw them out–but in retrospect, maybe that was not wise–could have been more potent.

  6. cathy
    Sacramento, Ca.

    sounds good

  7. Gloria

    A friend has been using the raisins and gin for 30 years and swears by it. Soak the raisins for a week, then start taking them. It has worked for me!

  8. Joseph

    I’ve been using Red Cider Vinegar for years and it has helped me with numerous aches and pains.

  9. jolene c.
    pismo beach,california

    I would like to know some brand names of gin that have juniper berries in it.

    • DN

      Use Google and research for gin distilled with juniper berries. Beefeater is one but there are others if you take the time and do a little research. Buy gin that is distilled with juniper berries in it rather than gin that’s distilled and then afterwards flavored with juniper berry flavoring.

  10. patsaison

    I had made the gin and raisin concoction for my mother. She took it for a while then stopped. After she died, I kept the big jar of it for four years. They turned black and squishy. I don’t know if they went bad, but I was afraid to try them, and threw them out. In retrospect, maybe I should not have discarded them; maybe they did become more potent???

    I had heard that Chinese Black Vinegar was a cure for many diseases, and maybe even effective against black plague. The thing is, the black vinegar is cured for 8 years before it is considered ready–that is, going through hot summer and cold winter weather, 8 annual seasonal cycles, in a ceramic vat, and ergo its potency.

  11. Betty L.
    Auburn, WA

    A few years ago I read about cherries for gout. My son had it very painfully. I bought cherries and had him eat a cup every night and within a couple of days his feet were fine. I also told him about the raisin/gin thing and he began using that. The black cherry concentrated juice is also excellent. You will need to dilute it. Good luck

  12. L. Ward

    I am a diabetic and have problems with nerve pains and pains in my knees and shoulders. I think I will try the gin/raisin remedy. Seems that it may work for me.

  13. DN

    In order to qualify as gin the predominate flavor MUST be juniper berry. Don’t purchase gins that are flavored with lemon or lime or vanilla as an example. I recommend Beefeater, it’s a London gin that juniper berries are used in the distillation process, not added afterwards as a flavor. The reason to leave the gin uncovered in whatever container you use is to allow the alcohol to evaporate and concentrate the remains of the gin into a thick syrup. When making the raisins stir them every day until you have raisins with a thick gin syrup, about a week or two weeks, depends on room temperature.

    The syrup will be a golden color and looks wonderful and tastes excellent!! Then keep them covered and eat 9 a day, mix them in oatmeal if you don’t like the taste. How do I know these things? I’ve been making them for 30 years now to control arthritis in my hands. And one other thing, people from Egypt and India were using juniper berries for healing as far back as 2000+ years ago.

  14. gg

    If you have a computer go to the google web page and ask for a list of gins that have juniper berries in them to flavor them.

  15. B R ARORA

    I am diabetic and taking medicine but I am also suffering from SPINE PAIN L4 L5 S1 pain in right leg on bottom(kuff) above knee feet and sometimes on right side of hip. Doctors advised an opertion for which I am not ready Pl let me know can I take Raisin soaked in gin? Gin which brand and how many days I should soaked? Looking for your comments Thanks B R ARORA

  16. nancy

    The pain in my back was getting stronger and I had trouble walking, sitting, just living. A friend told me about this mixture. I don’t drink but love raisins. Since using the raisin gin mixture I haven’t used any back pain pills, extra strength Tylenol, Advil or anything else. I am so thankful for the relief. I’m 72yrs old and wasn’t looking forward to more pain.

    • Jackie
      Anderson, IN, USA

      Thank you Nancy for your comment. Sounds like you were going through what I am now. I will be trying the raisin/gin mixture asap.
      I do hope you are still doing well. BTW I am the same age as you. Thanks again.

  17. N.L. Whicker

    I have tried this for about a month now – – my knees are no better than they were – – maybe it works for some it did nothing for me.

  18. rftallent

    My mother got the same results with raisins and rum. For whatever reason, it works.

  19. Declutterbug

    I’m considering using making and using this remedy. What were you results regarding the sulfur?

  20. John P

    I have gout pain and all doctors and websites clearly state No Alcohol. Soaked in Gin?

  21. GCL

    Many of my family members have been using this formula for many years and it really works. Fill a mason jar with dark raisins and pour whiskey to cover the raisins. Tightly cover jar. Leave for about two weeks or until raisins swell up. Every morning sip one teaspoonful of juice(whiskey). It is the iron in the raisins mixed with the whiskey that alleviates the pain. When whiskey is gone, you may eat the raisins but the juice relieves the pain. Do not use same raisins to make another jar!

  22. Carole

    I don’t think whiskey is made from grapes, but I think brandy is. Good lucky to you.

  23. CAG

    I am going to try this. I have taken Yucca capsules for years and have little pain and I would like to stay that way. I was told 25 years ago that Yucca powder was put in horse feed when they no longer were racing as well as they did before. It seemed to work on both tendons and joints.
    I can sure tell when I run out because after three weeks the pain returns. With Yucca it has again stopped. I am 74 and walk and pick up trash every day. I am very interested in remaining drug free.

  24. RLM

    SMA I hope the Gin you have is made from real Juniper berries. Not all of it is. If it is, you will see it on the ingredients list on the label.
    Blessings and God Bless.

  25. SMA

    May 6, 2013. I am a 68 year old female with sore knee joints / tendons. I just put my Sunmaid Golden Raisens in a canning jar and filled it to 1″ over the raisins with Gilbeys London Dry Gin. Here in Minnesota it is $10.79 for a liter of Gilbeys. I covered the jar with a plastic cap from a Kraft Miracle Whip jar, it fit perfectly. My knees joints are sore and swollen and my tendons are very sore. I have trouble getting up from a kneeling position. I am looking forward with anticipation to trying this recipe. I will keep you posted on the progress.
    On another note, I have been using 1-2 bars Ivory soap under my bottom sheet on the bed and no leg cramps/ Charley horse in 3 years. I t works! Also a friend who has gout has been using 1 tb. of Knudsens black cherry juice concentrate every day and hasn’t had a gout attack in 2 1/2 years. These are amazing cures. I just ordered your book on home remedies. Thank you!

  26. D Casey

    Golden raisins are used because of the sulfite used to “bleach” the white/green grapes. If/when white/green grapes are “bleached” without using the sulfite they turn gray and are unappealing….therefore, the driers use sulfite….makes them more appealing for purchase and eating. The combination of the sulfite in the golden raisins and the juniper berries of the gin chemically act to reduce inflammation and fluid at the joints. This combination was used scores of years ago to assist people with congestive heart failure lower their swelling/edema.
    It is VERY important to use a quality gin that states on the bottle it has been distilled with juniper berries or extract of. The action will not work properly without the juniper berry action from the gin.
    Put the golden raisins in a jar. Cover them with the gin. Let sit in your pantry at least 4 weeks before using for best results. Keep covered with a lid that does not have a metal lining. Always keep a batch ahead in the pantry. After you begin to take the soaked raisins, you then may have to wait about 2 weeks to have a full effect. But after that, the spoonful must be taken habitually….daily. I have never seen an explanation or understood why there is a need to let the alcohol evaporate. No need in my experience. If you do not feel a reduction in discomfort, try taking 1 spoonful in the AM and 1 at night.

  27. jd

    do you have to cover the raisins with cheesecloth?

  28. D Casey

    I do wish we could find a list of what Gins do and don’t have juniper berries used in the processing of the Gin. Not all Gin have an ingredient list nor mention what is used in the making of the Gin. If only we knew at least 1 or 2 brands that DID use the juniper berries.

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