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Which Gin for Gin-Soaked Raisins?

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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 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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I thought the recipe called for the use of Sloe Gin. The golden raisin and Sloe gin is working for me.

Why not just drink a little gin every morning. Is there some benefit to the raisins? What is the amount of gin that would be therapeutic. And for that matter, if you are eating the gin soaked raisins, how many of those in a therapeutic dose?

Can a person w/type II diabetes use the gin soaked raisins for pain of arthritis?
I've heard differing answers. Thanks.

I have yet to try the gin soaked raisins but have been meaning to. Can you publish the recipe again?

I will try the Gorden London Dry Gin and see what happens.

So how many raisins are necessary? How long do the raisins have to soak? Thank you.

I bought gin and raisins today and put them in to soak in a glass jar. How many days before I should eat them? Can I add more raisins as I use them or do I need to start another container?

1 Before you get started, make sure to read the label of your gin to check that it is made from or includes juniper berries. This is critical!

2 Put the raisins in a glass container and pour enough gin into it to cover the raisins.

3 Cover the container with cheesecloth and allow to stand until the raisins absorb the gin and the most of the remaining liquid evaporates, about one week. Then refrigerate.
Place them into refrigerator until they are plumped keeping them covered with gin.

4 Each day, eat NINE of these "drunken" raisins, with or without liquid depending upon which way you have prepared them

5 I have read that it might take six weeks for this remedy to work, so be patient.

Some manufacturers of sloe gin use gin to make the berry infusion. Others use alcohol with the berries. At the very least, I suspect you are getting the benefit of the raisins. Based upon what we believe are the effective ingredients, quality gin should be used instead of Sloe gin for more certain effectiveness.

I have use this recipe using Gilby's Gin which I prefer, but will switch to Gordon's to see if I detect any difference. I find that it is necessary to add several more table spoons of gin periodically as the raisins soak up the gin. The raisins are ready to enjoy in about a month. For more severe cases of arthritis an extra tablespoonful of gin can be helpful.

The gin we have (TAAKA extra dry Distilled London Dry Gin) says it is "INFUSED" with juniper berries. Is this gin OK? Do the raisins have to be white raisins? And why nine gin raisins?

I was using Gilbey's gin also.... it's fairly reasonably priced, not the cheapest, though. I just ran upstairs to check the label and cannot find one thing about whether they use juniper berries or not! (does anybody know?)

Also, CJF, you say "the raisins should be ready to enjoy in about a MONTH"??? Good grief, does this include harvesting and drying the grapes? I have a very shallow, flat-bottomed bowl, around 6x4"; I lay about 1/2" of golden raisins in it, cover (just) with gin.... and voila, those little devils are all puffed up and begging to be consumed in about 3-4 days, tops. And this includes my adding a bit more gin around Day 2.

The puffing-up is at room temperature; then when the raisins are ready I transfer them to a glass jar and place in fridge.

I, too, read with interest the caveat about not using "cheap" gin and began an internet search for data on brands and how they produce the gin. It seems to me from what I've read that gins produced from actually soaking the botanicals in the base before distilling might result in a higher concentration of juniper "essence" than the methods that steam the botanicals.

Both of these methods results in a distilled gin so I'm not sure what to think. The compound gins that have the botanical extracts mixed with vodka would seem to maybe the the "cheap" gins referred to? Also, the information says that to be called a gin, juniper berries must be used.

Any enlightenment on this will be appreciated. Maybe people who are experts in gin chemistry could help with this. Seems we are looking for the gin that has the highest concentration of botanical essence, not just flavoring.

April 10, 2013....I made the gin soaked raisins recipe. I have been using the recipe for about five weeks. Its has been a success for me! My right knee, leg and arm were in so much pain. My prescription medicine, and over the counter medications wouldn't relieve these pain. One day a friend approached me about the gin soaked recipe. Since I was in pain, I decided to try this recipe. I went to the package store and bought me a half pint of Ivanbitch gin. I bought this Ivanbitch gin because the sales clerk alerted me that this was the brand that most people were buying for the recipe because "juniper berries" was one of the main ingredient listed. So I bought the half pint of Ivanbitch gin.

I bought two boxes of the golden raisins. I bought a single Mason jar from Joan Fabric store. While I was there I bought me a package of cheese cloth. I find out that you don't have to use cheese cloth, you can go to the dollar store and buy a light dish cloth. I packaged the two boxes of raisins in the Mason jar.

Next, I poured the half pint of Ivanbitch gin over the raisins. I got a spoon and forced the raisins down tight so that the gin can cover the raisins. I put the top on the Mason jar tight and turn it up and down several times to blend the raisins and gin together. I took the top off the jar, and got a spoon and mashed the raisins down in the jar making sure that the gin is covering the raisins.

I cut a piece of cheese cloth or kind of thin cloth and put on top of the jar. Do not put the top on the jar, only the piece of cheese cloth. I let my set for two or three weeks until the gin evaporates out.

Each day I will lift the cheese cloth up and mash the raisins down making sure the gin is covering the raisins. Note: A small amount of the gin will still be present in the jar, it's not going to dry out the raisins.. I just eat a small spoon full once a day. Be careful now, remember the raisins are drunk. This recipe really worked for me, I am pain free and not hopping around anymore. Please feel free to comment back.

I used Ivanbitch Gin. It doesn't matter if the gin is cheap, I heard that the cheapest gin was the best. Seagram gin is cheaper than Ivanbitch gin. Ivanbitch listed juniper berries in its ingredients and it worked for me. As a matter of fact, all gin has juniper flavor but not necessarily listed in the ingredient.

A few weeks ago you stated that some gin is only flavored with Juniper and you need gin with the actual berry. The liquor store could not answer the question with which gin has juniper berries. I read one of the labels and checked on the internet. Tanqueray Gin is a London Dry Gin and seems to be made with Juniper Berries although it doesn't say so. I am trying it as I believe this brand will meet the requirements for Juniper Berries. It can also be bought in a 1/2 pint where many brands only have a 5th.

How many raisins and how much gin?

I have purchased a small bottle of Miller's Gin after reading an interview by the producer of this brand. They use juniper berries. I have golden raisins, and will try the arthritis recipe with this gun. I have just one question: for purposes of this recipe, what is the difference between golden raisins and regular raisins? Anyone know?

i used the Christty london dry gin and + brown raisins to cure my 10 fingers ( before consummed this every morning woke up i couldn't bend my fingers properly and painfull n swollen too my Gp|Dr tried or prescribed me with some of medicines but failed), actually it worked for me with this remedy......

I'm about to try this natural remedy myself and the tips on gin have been very helpful. I would like to buy organic raisins since grapes are so heavily sprayed with pesticides,...why not? But, I was told that maybe the sulfur dioxide used in conventional raisins is a key factor in the remedy. Does anyone know about this?

Also, what is it about the combination or synergistic effect of these two ingredients that reduces inflammation? If it was the juniper berries alone, we could just take a drink of gin.

Thanks for any insight on these TWO questions.

I take meloxicam for arthritis do I stop taking the meloxicam before I start using the raisins?

When I use rum soaked raisins in cooking I plump them in the microwave. Can this method be used to soak the raisins in gin?

I like Gilby's as well, but I have switched to Gordon's for this particular purpose.

I have found that you want to wait at least a week before consuming the concoction.
You want to wait that long in order to give the raisins a chance to absorb most of the gin. I have also found that it is necessary to add more gin as time goes on. The gin is either evaporating or perhaps I am taking too much gin along with the raisins. HA!. On the other hand if you find that you have more gin left than raisins, then I see no reason not to add more raisins.

I suspect that the gin is an integral part of the medication. If you let the gin evaporate, you may be reducing the effectiveness of the recipe. I don't bother with the cheese cloth.

Would this remedy be just as effective using juniper berry tea, rather than gin?

It's interesting that not all gins have ingredients listed. Evidently Gordon's is among those which use juniper berries rather and chemical substitute.

I am glad I read this. I have been using gin soaked reasons for over 3 weeks, but doing it wrong.

After an Internet search for gins that only use juniper berries, I ordered Junipero from California. I soaked the raisins in a pan, and within about two days there was no liquor in the pan and the raisins were plumped. I now have friends looking for Boodles, Bluscoat or Junipero gin when they travel out of state since our little ABC doesn't sell them. They are one of the few gins made only with juniper berries.

I'm not sure what their cost would be in different parts of the country. I began this regimen on May six, and here it is on June 26, and I haven't noticed a difference.

I had Bombay at home so I'm using that. Sure hope it works! I'm not even 50 yrs old yet and have really bad arthritis in my knee.

Someone told me about this and I checked it out on Snopes and they can't discredit it, like they do WD-40! LOL
Will let you know in a few weeks. ; - )

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Is consumption safe for a recovering alcoholic?

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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!

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.

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??!!

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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