Q. My husband and I are interested in arthritis remedies. We’ve been taking cider vinegar and honey in a cup of hot water to ease the pain in our finger joints.
Even so, my husband’s thumbs hurt so much he could hardly grasp anything, and I recently developed a hard painful lump on my right ring finger.
We read in your column about a solution of five parts grape juice, three parts apple juice and one part cider vinegar. Then we also read about Certo and grape juice. We decided to combine these remedies and added two parts of Certo to the apple-grape-cider mixture.
Within a couple of weeks the lump on my finger went away and the finger became less painful and stiff. It must have been the Certo. What does it do?

A. We wish we could tell you. The Certo and grape juice remedy has been used for decades to relieve arthritis pain. Certo is liquid plant pectin. Home canners use it to “stiffen” jams and jellies.
There’s no scientific research on this remedy, but we’re delighted you got such relief. Research suggests that grape juice has anti-inflammatory properties.
Anyone who would like to know more about this and many other popular arthritis remedies may order our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.
Another reader wrote about her experience: “My sister who has had one hip replaced twice was having days where she could not hardly move until mid afternoon because of arthritis pains. I told her about the pectin (Certo) and grape juice, and being my older sister I didn’t think she would listen but she called and said she was starting. I told her don’t expect anything overnight it will take a couple of weeks.
“In the meantime, I had been having “hippy” type of flare ups so I thought what is good for the goose is good for the gander and went and got my bottle of Welch’s grape juice and packet of liquid Certo and off I went.
“I have to tell you BOTH of us are feeling the results.. when my sister told me she was so much better, I was like harrah harrah… she listened… I take a 64 oz bottle of Welch’s grape juice, add packet of liquid pectin and drink 6 ozs each morning while my coffee is brewing.”

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  1. LYNND
    Reply

    FYI, to those who tend toward constipation: Speaking from personal experience, I do not recommend pectin, at least not to the concentration levels involved in this Certo+Grape Juice remedy. Apparently, pectin is better known for its ability to regulate loose bowels (studied in children with dysentery, for instance). Consuming Certo with plenty of juice/water did not alleviate its ability slow bowel motility in my case!
    Now for my experience with Certo’s purported pain-relieving properties: Over the past month, I tried the Certo with juice technique in spite of my concern that the ingredients include lactic acid — the substance responsible for sore muscles — and sodium benzoate, a controversial preservative. (Allegedly, vitamin C in combination with sodium benzoate may convert to benzene, a carcinogen.) Still, I persevered, using up the entire pack of Certo at the rate of two tablespoons per day in a glass of 100% cherry juice (I am not a fan of grape juice, alas).
    Typically, I consumed my daily dose in the evening before dinner. Most notably, the Certo+Juice combination seemed to work best to reduce appetite thanks to the fiber content. Unfortunately, the remedy did not reduce my joint pain and may have made my chronic low back pain, in particular, worse. I suspect that because the nerves to the bowel and the low back are adjacent or interconnected, the Certo-induced slowdown of my bowel exacerbated my chronic low back pain.
    I began drinking aloe vera juice along with a daily OTC probiotic tablet for relief, but only upon running out of my supply of Certo did my *intensified* levels of low back pain subside. (Whether this was truly the fault of my slowed digestive tract or the presence of lactic acid in the Certo, I cannot say for certain; I share only my suspicions.)
    Although I cannot report success with the Certo remedy, I do think there may be something to the “apple a day” approach — anecdotally a nutrient or substance would seem to be responsible for the success some have with Certo and other apple-based remedies. On my worth-trying list, for instance, are Malic Acid and Quercetin, also found in apples as well as supplement form, the latter of which are also touted for relieving inflammation-related discomfort. Likewise, there are those who report that Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), also works wonders for joint pain.
    From what I’ve read, ACV in liquid form can erode tooth enamel whereas online reviews for ACV caplets seem to yield similar success for joint-pain sufferers. In summary, there are many accounts of reduced joint pain with this and other apple-derived nutrients. I have not given up!

  2. Cindy B.
    Reply

    Thank you, Kay_Serasera…. I appreciate your reply. The liquid it is!! Cheers, Cindy B.

  3. juliansw.
    Reply

    My mother had lots of pain due to arthritis but she has adopted for some of the herbal ways of dealing with it for instant relief but after few months the pain started to aggravate so now looking for some substitutes that would help. I hope this would be one.

  4. Kay_Serasera
    Reply

    Cindy B., it has to be the liquid pectin. I had the same idea as you and tried everything to make the powdered pectin work, but finally gave up on it. However – – it does not have to be the Certo brand. At our market, the Ball brand costs about half as much and works just the same.

  5. Ann T
    Reply

    I drank Certo and Welch’s grape juice for a while, and it helped. When I read that the juice (and also apple juice) contained small amounts of arsenic, I stopped. Not sure it’s totally healthy.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Rice may pose a higher risk from arsenic than grape juice, but each of us must choose the level of risk we tolerate.

  6. Ladyliza
    Reply

    Whenever anyone starts using glucosamine or chondroiten, I suggest they have their 1AC sugar levels checked regularly. For some people, it can raise your sugar and cholesterol too high. For others, no change.

  7. D L
    Reply

    My husband was having a lot of pain in his knee so I suggested he try a remedy I had heard of using Knox plain gelatin mixed into a cup of grape juice. He had less pain after a few weeks of that but decided to try adding glucosamine, chondrotin, and msn to his regimen. His pain was drastically reduced after a few more weeks. I am convinced that he avoided a knee transplant.

  8. TAAmy
    Reply

    Most supermarkets do carry Certo. Check in the aisle where they sell Jello. The store in my area with the best price for Certo is Walmart. In their drygoods department in the summer they sometimes have twin packs in the home canning department. Or again look in their supermarket section where the Jello is. Of course it’s not a gelatin but stores don’t know where else to stock it (and the name Sure-gel makes them stock it there).
    I’ve used Certo for many years. Add a bit of sour cherry concentrate and dilute it with some spring water for less sweet taste. If I can find it, I prefer Kedem pure grape juice as it’s less sweet. The dry does not mix as well. I bought some in a health food store for my husband (said to be good for the prostate) and the only way we could manage to consume it was to mix it in yogurt.

  9. Ladyliza
    Reply

    I have found the best remedy for bursitis is turmeric. The key is getting the right dosage, so you may have to play with it over a few months. I had loads of bursitis in my knees. Then I read about turmeric and my pain began to dissipate. I have never liked the taste of turmeric, so I bought the pills. But it’s far cheaper to go to an indian grocery store and buy it in a bag.
    Swanson’s has a good brand. The more mg the better in 1 pill because in the beginning you want to take alot. Start with 2200 mg/day in divided doses. My doctor says you can take a high dosage. IT won’t hurt you. Try that for 2months and if you are still in pain, up the dose. I took just under 5000mg a day for awhile. I could barely walk with my hip and knee pain after being on statins. Now I take about 1 tsp/day. It prevents inflammation.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Just a word or two of warning. Anyone on warfarin (Coumadin) should avoid turmeric. And be aware that some people become allergic to it.

  10. Cindy B.
    Reply

    Guess I forgot to check the “notify me….” box, and now I have to submit another comment to make that request! So here it is. Cheers.

  11. Cindy B.
    Reply

    Certo can be hard to find in stores. Only Safeway, of the stores near me, carries it. But most stores DO have packages of “dry pectin,” which is used for exactly the same purposes as the liquid pectin (Certo). My question: would the dry pectin work as well as the liquid pectin? The dry is a lot cheaper, too, by the way.

  12. Ladyliza
    Reply

    I lost 5 pounds the first go around with ACV. I was using it for arthritis pain so the weight loss was an added bonus. But then I didn’t use it for awhile and the second go around I didn’t lose any at all. The one thing I think it did for me was to clean out my arteries. I had an imt test done this year on my corotid artery and it came out pretty clean for someone my age and with my eating habits (high fat diet) I had read about it for this so I am going to do it again for about a year. It takes time but am pretty sure it works.

  13. Adrienne Pilon
    Reply

    Does it matter if you use another brand of pectin? Certo has some sort of preservative in it and I steer away from “extra” ingredients. Would apple pectin work as well?
    Thanks
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: You might want to try Pomona’s pectin. http://www.pomonapectin.com

  14. Dorothy L.
    Reply

    Anyone, know anything about mild hypercalcemia? Parathyroid giving mixed results, I have had slightly high serum calcium for 3-4 years. Dr’s ignored it. I am getting some nausea, lots of flatulence with pain & more joint pain plus too tired, I am old, but my family has longevity. I know of no Calcium or parathyroid problems, and I have a very large family. I want some overdue routine test done. I do not feel that I have a malignancy, but time for chest xray, mammo., and maybe another colonoscopy. I do not really feel that I need another colonoscopy in my 80’s, I have never had a polyp.

  15. Susan
    Reply

    For thumb pain, I have used sliced fresh ginger soaked in a medium deep bowl of very hot water; thumbs for 5-10 minutes when the water won’t burn you. This method helped me enormously.
    For all over body inflammation that I recently suffered with, from shoulders down to back and legs, I finally tried a Curcumin supplement. After one dose, I felt a great improvement of about 90%. Some have other herbs and substances like Boswellian, glucosamine, etc. I take this daily now. I am 71 years old, in good health but with the usual complaints of aging–pains come and go, some do not go as fast as they used to.

  16. ICR
    Reply

    Is Turmeric supplements good for Bursitis??? I recently had left knee cartilage repaired. After three months of my surgery, I have developed Bursitis on same left leg. It is so painful I have difficulty walking and painful on my thigh muscle. Dr. offered cortizon shots but I refused. What is the best natural remedy for Bursitis and what causes Bursitis?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Bursitis is inflammation, but we don’t always know the cause. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and might be helpful.

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