golden raisins and gin

Q. I have been using gin-soaked raisins for joint pain. However, the clerk at the store said that if I want benefits from gin-raisins, I must buy higher-quality, more expensive brands. I have been buying the lowest-price distilled gin. He said that I am wasting my money with the less expensive gin.
Does the price of the gin makes any difference in getting benefits from gin-soaked raisins–or does this clerk want to increase his profits?
A. The very cheapest gin uses juniper flavoring added to neutral grain alcohol. You want gin distilled with real juniper berries.
No one knows exactly why gin-soaked raisins may ease joint pain, but we think that juniper berries are an essential component of the remedy. One reader sent this comment:

“Gin traditionally was flavored with juniper berries, orris root, cardamom, and coriander. Gin was originally considered a medicine, a new way to deliver the benefits of juniper berries, which had been used for centuries as a remedy for arthritis and rheumatism.
“Modern gin manufacturers, particularly the cheaper brands, don’t flavor with any actual natural flavorings at all. So someone who simply soaks their raisins in the cheapest grocery store brand of gin is going to be missing out on the whole point of soaking the raisins in something–the anti-inflammatory benefits of juniper berries.”

If you are indeed buying distilled gin–not simply the cheapest gin in the liquor store–you probably are getting the benefit. Another reader made this suggestion:

“A ‘bottom shelf’ gin containing juniper berries is Gordon’s London Dry Gin – about $9-10 bucks for 750 ml here in the Pacific NW.

“From Wikipedia: ‘Gordon’s London Dry Gin was developed by Alexander Gordon, a Londoner of Scottish descent. He opened a distillery in the Southwark area in 1769, later moving in 1786 to Clerkenwell. The Special London Dry Gin he developed proved successful, and its recipe remains unchanged to this day. Triple-distilled, the gin contains juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel.’

“I tried my gin-soaked raisins last night for the first time and woke up this morning feeling strange – ie without any pain. Gives fresh new meaning to the term ‘feeling no pain.'”

You can find detailed directions and FAQs on gin-soaked raisins and other home remedies for arthritis in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.

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  1. CM

    I had heard of this gin/raisin therapy years ago but had forgotten about it – even though I have had problems with arthritis for several years now. My hubby brought home a printout from a fellow he knows that says how effective the drunken raisins are for ‘some’ who have arthritis. He said his doctor told him it was worth a try – that for ‘some’ it was very helpful. For him, it was, and he has been using the remedy for 10 years now. So, of course, I have decided to try it myself.

    I bought the best gin Costco had – meaning, the most expensive. It is called Hendrick’s and is made in Scotland. The ingredients list was impressive: juniper, coriander, citrus peel, cucumber and rose petals. I have not used it yet – I still need to get the raisins. Just wondering if someone out there could tell me if this brand of Gin will work well. I see that many use Gordon’s. I did not see that brand but could look for it.


  2. Penina

    I tell you, I’m wrung inside out
    From dealing with this awful gout!
    My foot’s the size of King Kong’s paw
    Big and shiny, red and raw.
    Thumping like the wicked sin,
    They told me “Try some raisins and gin!”
    “Raisins and gin?!” cried I, “You’re soft!”
    “That cannot work at all!” I scoffed.

    But DANG that foot was dreadful ick!
    And Naprosyn just made me sick.
    And Hydrocodone’s not my friend,
    Sick as a hound dog, round the bend!
    “Well, what’s this thing they’re all a-praisin’?”
    I bought the gin, I bought some raisins.

    “Let ’em soak,” the mavens cry
    About a week, the days pass by.
    Seven days I cannot take-
    I need RELIEF, this brutal ache!
    Maybe just a nip tonight
    To ease me through this awful plight.

    I ate a raisin… still kinda chewy
    With a sip of gin… The room’s gone wooey…
    “I haven’t had enough,” I think
    Another raisin… another drink.
    Two more raisins followed that,
    And two more drinks in nothin’ flat.

    Now the room is actin’ funny
    By Gum those raisins are so VERY sunny!
    I’d go to bed, but I can’t find
    The door, the stairs, or my behind.
    Now I know why all the talk!
    I don’t mind the gout… cause I caint walk!

    I think I’ll *hic!* call it a day
    Caint feel my big toe, anyway!

  3. Loretta L.

    Will Seagrams Gin work???

  4. JENNY

    I have started with the raisins and gin, and it’s about a week now, I had terrible pain in my knees and feet, today I have very little pain, someday no pain at all, try it for yourself and see, taking no medication at all.

  5. KT556
    Chicago suburb

    Can anything INSTEAD of Gin be used — I can’t stand the taste.

    • Eloise

      Buy Tumeric in the grocery store. Absolutely amazing for arthritis. Just sprinkle on whatever you eat or cook it in your foods.

  6. Joan S.

    I have been on this method for 3 to 5 years, it does really work. One of the ABC stores said to use vodka. I had been using the gin. I could not tell any difference.
    I went to a different ABC store, they said you need London Dry Gin. He sold me Beefeater. Price wasn’t bad. I take 10 raisins a day.
    I am not sore like I used to be. I will try this Beefeater brand I bought, but if Gordons has the same amount of juniper berries I will continue with that brand. Beefeater was 12.90 for a 375 mi, a half pint I think; I just use a tight container with a top, put it in the fridge, then each day take 10 out as soon as I get up. Keep me informed if it changes.

    • david

      I dont like gin either, but these raisins taste great. I find myself eating more than needed, just because they are good. At least try it.

  7. Leonore B

    You must use blonde raisins because they are treated with sulfur.. Without the sulfur the raisins would turn dark. I tried this May 2014 and within weeks got relief. I forgot to take the raisins one day and my knee pain was back. Good luck to you. I have not forgotten since.

  8. Chris

    I tend to be skeptical of unproven folk-cures like this, but I was starting to get some pain and stiffness in my fingers, which, being a guitarist, was worrisome to say the least. Another guitarist-friend of mine mentioned the gin/raisin thing, and I thought, what the hell: let’s try it. After about a week my stiffness and pain actually did start improve… but then again, it does wax and wane anyway. However, what really got my attention was that fact that three times now I’ve stopped taking them, usually because I ran out of one or the other ingredient, and would then have to get some more and wait until a new batch was ready to consume. All three times, my symptoms got worse again. I make no categorical judgments here; it could be coincidence, it could be a subconscious placebo effect, or it could actually be some medicinal effect in the raisins. Who knows? I’m just putting it out there as an interesting anecdote.
    By the way, I don’t think there’s any relevance to specifically taking NINE raisins daily. I typically just take a spoonful, a dozen more or less, without counting. Nor do I think there’s any need to wait for the liquid to evaporate completely. Just so long as the raisins plump up, say, 24-48 hours.

  9. joy m. h.

    I use dried cherries daily for its anti inflammatory benefit. Is there any reason why raisins would work better than drunk cherries? I haven’t tried either yet, I just want to know because cherries also have sulfur which is what the benefit of the blond raisins have.

  10. pgmjc18

    Where does it say to use a microwave for anything in the recipe? You are interjecting your own agenda to the instructions. Just follow the instructions. I know it doesn’t say what proportions of raisins or gin to use, but use discretion and common sense. It’s not that hard…

  11. kay

    I still think the best way is to go to the grocery store, find the spice aisle and buy some juniper berries. Add some to the gin and raisins and you’ll get the benefit of all the different ingredients.

  12. John

    Gordon’s gin is infused with juniper berries, most believe its the best gin to use. I don’t think eating 27 raisins will ever cure the gout. I have arthritis and I eat 2 teaspoons each day, approximately 25 raisins.

  13. LM

    Strange thing. I ate nine white raisins soaked in Tanquery gin for three straight days and my gout pain ceased. Ran out of Tanquery; the small liquor store run by my friend didn’t have it, but said his gout customers always asked for Gordon’s, because it was cheaper.
    I bought a bottle, soaked my raisins, and not only did the gout pain in my right big toe return, after the second dose on the second morning, the gout — I swear — leaped to my LEFT big toe and was more painful than ever. What’s with that??!!

  14. C J Faust

    JDS suggested covering the raisin gin mixture with cheesecloth. That will cause the gin to evaporate & therefore, in my opinion waste perfectly good gin that I believe is an important and integral part of the recipe.
    The Juniper Berry extract may also evaporate. You do NOT want that. I suggest using a container with a tight fitting lid. I use a 1 qt. Mason Jar, an ideal size.

    • tara

      hi, i will start it this week, do i have to put it in the fridge? . and i bought the cheesecloth, but i am reading it is not necessary. also i was reading to let it soak for a week – how many days, thx

  15. digger

    Thank you I have been trying to get answers about juniper content in gilbey’s gin this is the only site that has provided this much appreciated as again thank you!

  16. John

    Why try all these off brand gin recipes? Gordons gin is a 300 year old company, and the formula has not changed. Why buy a half pint, buy a liter and save money? People keep using brown raisins, there is a reason for golden raisins, they contain sulfur. Sulfur is good for joint pain. Make up a pound of raisins, cover them with gordons gin and in 2 or three days start eating them. They need no refrigeration. I eat 9 raisins in the morning and 9 raisins at night and take 3 grams of MSM daily. Was on NSAID’s for 13 years, my doctor said they were wrecking my kidneys. Sure I have pain, but what are you going to do. I just live with it.

  17. SK Miller

    I did a search on what gin tastes like and according to the reviews it tastes awful. Is there some other kind of liquid one can use with raisins to get the same effect? Or, can one mix something else with it to make it tasty?

    • Wendy Clement
      United States

      I read on another site to add some raw honey and cinnamon… you can actually buy these pre-made.

    • Jan

      I don’t like gin either but I don’t taste the gin.

  18. E L S

    When I read the article on facebook, I bought 1 pack of golden raisins and look for a gin, but because I don’t know what kind of gin ill be using (it was not stated) I just simply buy small bottle of Smirnoff gin and had my raisins soak in a glass container, it started last Monday January 13, 2014 so I will wait until Friday before I can eat 9 pcs of raisins everyday, I hope it will help me cure my arthritis by following this recipe thank you so much for the tips.

  19. C. J. F.

    Dee, you can use the raisins in cooking or baking, but I think they WILL lose substantial effectiveness in the process. The reason is that all of the alcohol will evaporate in the baking process. The effectiveness of the raisins in the interplay of the ingredients of the raisin, juniper berries and alcohol. You will be minus one key ingredient. However, don’t let this stop you from experimenting with baking with these raisins if you feel so inclined. Let us know how it turns out.

  20. Dee Otness

    Can you use the raisins in cookies or backing, or will they lose effectiveness?

  21. C. J. F.

    After reading many of these comments, the consensus is that the gin to use is Gordons. This is one of the lowest priced gins that actually is made from real juniper berries as apposed to just having juniper flavoring added. The time required to steep the raisins is 4 days to 2 weeks, depending on how much gin you want the raisins to absorb before your 1st taste. The number of raisins to include in your table spoonful of this “medication” is nine (9). At 1st you may want to start out with more than 9 then back off to the 9 regimen. Also I do NOT have a serious arthritis problem, so I take it only about twice per week. If you have an active arthritis problem, the recommended dosage is a tablespoon full per day, containing nine (9) raisins.

  22. john

    I have not had a problem. I eat 9 each morning and 9 in the evening.

  23. Bill

    I wouldn’t recommend it for a recovering alcoholic. Might start that person drinking again. If someone is taking some type of medicine they need to consult there Dr. first before taking it also. My spouse’s Dr. told her no due to the type of medicine she takes.

  24. john

    I believe Gordons gin is the best for the drunken raisins.

  25. Ramona

    Is consumption safe for a recovering alcoholic?

  26. Bill

    I do mine different. I just put my raisins red & white in a jar & put the gin over them & put the lid back on. I then let them soak for about (4) days then eat a couple table spoon full a day. Now I don’t have to take them but every 3 or 4 months. For a couple of weeks when I first started taking them I would take a 8oz glass & drink the juice with the raisins. I haven’t taken a arthritis pill in over (8) years. I have given these to other people with arthritis & they all said it helped. One person thought he was going to have to go on disability till he tried this. All I have ever used is Seagram’s gin.

  27. Meredith

    I have chronic artritis pain in ankle, knee and hip which makes walking/stairs/getting up from chairs very difficult. I saw this remedy while trawling the internet for natural anti-inflammatories.
    Though I am skeptical, I bought the raisins, good gin and a mason jar. The rasins plumped up quickly. I ate nine last night.
    For the first time in many months, I woke up pain free this morning. I was able to walk downstairs. It is early days so I am not yet a believer, but I am remarkably impressed so far – though I do feel a bit tiddly.
    We are always astonished when someone reports quick relief. Most people have to wait at least 6 weeks before they notice improvement. We hope your early success lasts.

  28. john

    I am eating 18 raisins per day, now for 1 month. I am seeing some benefits, but I also am taking 2 other supplements. I also take hyaluronic acid and glucosomine with MSM. My doctor removed me from etolac, because of potential kidney damage. I can’t believe how many people suffer with arthritis.

  29. eileen

    If juniper berries are good for inflammation then why not pick some and throw them in with the raisins? Also, what is the chemical reaction between golden raisins and juniper infused gin? I heard of a ninety-one year old woman who golfs 3 x 18 holes a week and at 75 was using two canes. She uses the gin/raisins every day and claims it is all due to the raisin/gin. I have made up a batch and may even throw some in the fruit salad.
    Peoples Pharmacy response: We have no problem with gin – raisins in the fruit salad, but we discourage you from picking juniper berries. There are several species of Juniper, and not all the berries are safe. In fact, even the juniper berries used to flavor gin may be irritating to the kidneys in large enough quantities.

  30. T Thompson

    I made a double batch w/2 pints of Seagrams and 2 boxes of yellow raisins. I used 2 large pyrex baking dishes and let them soak until the gin was evaporated. I stirred them once a day and it took about 8 days.
    I then placed them in 8 sandwich baggies and rolled each into a log and placed them in the freezer. I have not worried about refrigerating the baggie that is currently in use.
    I am extremely happy with the results I have had. It took about 2 weeks before I started to notice the difference. My knees had been extremely painful but now I can climb stairs without a problem.
    I don’t count raisins but use a small spoonful 2xday. I’m getting ready to make a second batch and will switch to Gordon’s London Dry Gin. Thanks for the suggestion!

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