spoonful of golden raisins

Q. I found a home remedy on your Web site and tried it for my husband. He doesn’t have arthritis yet, but is in his early 40s and has had surgery on both knees. They cause him almost constant pain.

Two weeks ago he began eating gin-soaked raisins. A few days ago, I asked him about his knees. He got a thoughtful look on his face and then it lit up! He said, “Honey, I haven’t had any pain for a few days now, but until you asked me, I didn’t realize why I’ve been feeling such a sense of relief!”

This remedy cost me less than $10 and he has stopped taking his prescription ibuprofen. I say “give it a try. . . what can it hurt?”

A. Over the years, hundreds of people have written to us about their success with gin-soaked raisins for arthritis pain. This home remedy does not work for everyone, but as you point out, it is cheap and offers little risk. Only alcoholics and people allergic to sulfite preservatives should avoid it.

We include the complete recipe for this popular approach in book The People’s Pharmacy Quick and Handy Home Remedies, which also mentions other simple solutions for problems ranging from warts and smelly feet to heartburn and hiccups.

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  1. Cindy

    I have been taking a teaspoon of the gin-soaked raisins for a few years now. It has ended the burning, knife-like pain I was having in my foot and ankle. I am so very grateful. When I have to fill out paperwork from a doctor that asks about my level of pain, I usually put ‘zero’ but add that gin-soaked raisins are a big factor in this response to their questionaire.

  2. BF

    so why 9? why not 5 or 10? and if they don’t work can’t I have 15-20 more? would un-soaked raisins work if I chased them down with a gin and tonic? they taste terrible as they are. reason I ask is that I’ve been taking these things “the right way” and there’s no change at all.

  3. SBeetleR

    I have been taking 9 raisins soaked in gin for about three days now and really seem to feel a lot better. I noticed that my blood pressure is higher than it usually is. Would this home remedy increase it? Please comment.

  4. Sheila :)

    why don’t you try that — maybe it’ll work!!

  5. John W.

    I had been taking arthritic strength tylenol – 4 tablets a day. I then tried the gin soaked raisins. A couple teaspoons a couple times a day. Haven’t taken a tylenol in more than a year and a half. Mostly pain free but sometimes have a little which is not bad, I can stand it.

  6. helen d.

    I’ve read the Wilen sister’s book and began the gin/raisin dose each morning. It has helped dramatically for two months, but now seems to have less effect. The nine raisin dose is emphasized, but the last box I purchased had very very small raisins.
    Should I increase the dose to make up for the smaller raisins? Please advise…the pain has returned.

  7. Don

    I take 2 tea spoonfuls of Red Vinegar Wine with 1 tea spoonful of honey with warm water(between hot and warm.)For Arthritis.It has helped a whole lot.

  8. ZapGuy

    Had right-knee pain after bicycle riding.
    Pain went on for over 2 weeks until I tried this remedy.
    Only had enough gin for half the box of raisins, so as they were “drying” I ate a handful of them without the gin.
    It’s been just 3 days since I added the handful of white raisins to my breakfast each morning.
    My pain is gone, and I haven’t even tried the ones soaking in the Tanqueray yet!

  9. cs

    All my arthritis workup has been negative but I was experiencing such severe joint and muscle pain that I decided to try it. I think this “treatment” is a miracle. By day 2, my pain was essentially gone. I take the raisins in the morning. I did just discover that i am pregnant and wonder if it is safe to take. Any info?
    There is very little alcohol in nine raisins (about one drop)…but even so, we would suggest that you not rely on this remedy during your pregnancy unless your physician specially gives you the go-ahead. Sometimes arthritis-like pain disappears during pregnancy anyway.

  10. Indira Suchdev

    What time of the day are the gin-soaked raisins to be taken?

  11. sp

    I’m interested in the gin soaked raisins for my husband’s knee, which has been bothering him quite a bit.
    He takes Benicar 40-25, for hypertension, and I’m wondering if the alcohol in the gin would be harmful to him. I hope somebody can answer this.

  12. jcf

    Have restless leg syndrome. Found a lot of help from drinking a glass of spring water with a couple ounces of tonic water. What a relief to be able to sleep at night without all the pain. The tonic water contains quinine and that’s the secret ingredient.

  13. G. C., MD

    I’ve had significant sacroiliac pain for 20 years following a ski accident and, at times, this has been incapacitating. At best, it caused pain during the night when I would roll onto my stomach. Gin raisins stopped the pain within a few days use. Pain returns in a few days if I stop the raisins.
    I also noted a gradual reduction of golfer’s elbow pain. Thus it seems to me that the sulfates involved are active as an anti-inflammatory agent for connective tissue. I feel there is some subjective evidence that sulfates (MSM) when used with glucosamine enhance the effectiveness of glucosamine for arthritis. I doubt that this has been demonstrated by controlled double-blind studies.
    I enjoy your program and am continually amazed that observations such as the use of gin raisins can work into folklore in a very useful way.

  14. Derry Aire

    I first tried this several years ago when my fibromyalgia was really out of control. Yes, it does work.

  15. M. J.

    Found it to be a very beneficial alternative. Had a cortizone shot in the finger joint, which was excruciatingly painful, which worked the first time for a couple of months. Second shot had less of an effect and only for about a week. It was not worth the pain of the injection itself. Gin-soaked raisins make the pain much less intense and definitely more bearable. It did take a couple of weeks to feel the difference.

  16. Merry

    After increasing my dosage of Celebrex from 200 to 400 mg per day, I decided to give this a try. The good news is that it seems to be working, and I’ve been able to decrease the Celebrex dosage once again. The bad news is that I don’t like raisins or gin. If only it could be dried cranberries and scotch…

  17. BrianI

    Can only say that I’ve heard this one mentioned any number of times in recent months, and am curious if it could benefit my father, who is an arthritis sufferer.

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