golden raisins and gin, gin soaked raisins, gin-raisin remedy

What can you do about easing joint pain? Lots of people take NSAIDs like Advil or Aleve for pain relief, but they can have unpleasant side effects. What else could you do or take to alleviate the discomfort of osteoarthritis?

Home Remedies for Easing Joint Pain:

Q. I used to play golf twice a week and tennis three times a week but now arthritis is slowing me down. My knees and hips complain bitterly after a round of golf or a tennis match.

I used to take anti-inflammatory drugs but they raised my blood pressure and gave me ulcers. I have read about home remedies in your column and wonder if you have collected them in a book.

A. We have included many remedies for joint pain and arthritis in our People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. They include boswellia, cayenne, cherries, fish oil, gin and raisins, honey and vinegar, pineapple juice, pectin and grape juice, turmeric and vitamin D.

Gin-Soaked Raisins:

Of all the remedies we have shared over the years none has received as much praise as gin-soaked golden raisins. Here are just a couple of stories:

“As an active senior I was more than dismayed with increasing arthritis to the point of pain when I attempted simple activities. Aspirin and exercise helped a bit.

“I tried deleting the reds from my diet, (meat, tomatoes, eggplant) taking ‘guaranteed’ OTC arthritis remedies (for which money was returned) and capsules with a mix of boswellin, turmeric and bromelain. Some easing occurred.

“Then I tried the gin-soaked raisins and I am pain-free and flexible once more. Fantastic. I am so very grateful to you for your advice! My horses thank you, my grandkids thank you and my garden also thanks you.”

“I’ve been suffering from terrible arthritis for more than a year, and I’m only 43. I had both knees arthroscopied a year ago, and then the symptoms spread over my entire body: fingers, knuckles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, hips, ankles.

“I tried the usual NSAIDS with little or no effect, as well as Cosamin DS for six months, again with no effect. Three days ago my mom called and told me about the “raisins and gin” approach.

“What the hell, I thought. I went out right away and bought yellow raisins and gin. For the past two and a half days, I haven’t needed to use a crutch, the pain is diminished tremendously throughout the body, and my mood has lifted. is this a case of ‘mind over body’ like I’ve had before (without success), or does this really work this fast? It’s hard to believe that nine gin-soaked raisins per day work such miracles, but could this actually be the case?

“I’ve spent much of the past year in bed, and am only able to work part-time on weekends. Should I believe that this is a reliable ‘cure’, and my life will get back to normal? My wife has had the burden of working full-time as well as doing most of the caregiving to our two handicapped children. I hope for her sake that perhaps I can become a true partner in our marriage once again.”

Responses to Gin-Soaked Raisins Vary Greatly:

We have had such a variety of responses to this remedy. Some, like you so far, have told us that they literally threw away their crutches and got up out of their wheelchairs and walked again. It was almost too much to believe. Some of these stories seem to go way beyond the potential of a placebo effect. One woman wrote to us for years telling us how the raisins changed her life.

Others tell us this remedy is totally worthless… no benefit whatsoever. The vast majority tell us that it is somewhere in between.

So… who to believe? Well, our answer has been that there is a lot of individual variability, even to prescription medicine. Some people may have a kind of arthritis that responds to the raisin remedy while others do not. Please let us know how you make out over time. That will of course be the proof we are interested in. Good luck!

New Research Offers an Explanation:

Until recently, we could find no research on whether or how gin-soaked raisins might be used for easing joint pain. Readers’ testimonials were clear that the best gin is flavored with actual juniper berries.

Chinese scientists report that flavonoids in one species of juniper are effective in fighting inflammation and joint damage in rats given rheumatoid arthritis (Pharmacognosy Magazine, Jul-Sep., 2016). We hope this study will inspire others to examine this popular folk remedy for easing joint pain.

Finding Other Approaches:

Again, should you or anyone else like to read more about natural approaches to joint pain, inflammation and arthritis, we suggest our book, People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. You will learn about foods with anti-inflammatory activity and herbs and spices that may ease joint pain. Compared with many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, we think these approaches offer safer options for arthritis.

Revised 10/3/16

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  1. Rose

    My friend swears by honey and cinnamon on toast. She eats this every morning for breakfast and says her pains are gone. She is an avid golfer.

  2. ron
    aurora, ohio

    I think most anyone with arthritis should take a curcumin supplement with high absorption. I have been on staring with a turmeric capsule for 3 years and for past year switched to curcumin also with very good results.

  3. onisa

    What happens if you are a recovering alcoholic?

  4. Rick

    After being diagnosed by x-ray with osteoarthritis in my left knee I found this information on the Mayo Clinic website:
    Avocado-soybean unsaponifiables. This nutritional supplement — a mixture of avocado and soybean oils — is widely used in Europe to treat knee and hip osteoarthritis. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, and some studies have shown it may slow down or even prevent joint damage.
    A local health food store ordered it for me at about $14/mo for the recommended dosage at two tabs per day.
    I also use fresh turmeric powder that I put in 00 capsules and take two per day.
    I seldom have pain or swelling in the knee and have better range of motion.
    I received an injection of cortisone at the diagnostic appointment on 6-2-16 which helped immediately and told it would be effective for two or three months. It is now 10-4-16.
    It hasn’t been cold here yet, I’ll see how that goes soon.

  5. Michael
    Cypress TX

    We purchased some acreage 13 years ago and I set all the wooden fence posts, hundreds of them. I made the mistake of packing dirt around them by stomping on it with my right foot. Fast forward 7 years and at the age of 57 I started developing pain in my right knee and hip joint which I think is linked. It became progressively worse until I read about the gin/raisin remedy in your column and started taking them over a year ago. Virtually completely gone since, except for infrequent excursions that over tax these joints again and they speak to me for a couple of days then go away. Amazing.

  6. EGR

    I have been using a Green bottle of Gin, name “PLATINUM”, made with 7 Natural Botanicals. It does not list the actual botanicals, but it seems to help make my arthritis hurt less. The only problem is, the raisins taste so good, I can’t limit myself to 9, I eat several spoonfuls a day. I pour the gin over the raisins in a sealed container and turn the container over several times a day, for a couple of days or more. When almost all the gin is soaked up, I leave the container open for a day or two to evaporate most of the gin.I always have two containers going at all times. I am 82 and feel pretty good! I do not normally drink alcohol, so this bit of gin does not worry me. The clerk at the liquor store told me that the green bottle is what all the folks have been buying for their raisins.

  7. Lenora S

    With signs of arthritis in both hands, I am tempted to try the Gin and Raisin home remedy, but question the wisdom of it because I fear the gin might interact negatively with the medications I take. Please comment.

  8. Cindy B.

    In the last few months I’ve developed an intermittent diffuse pain in my L shoulder. No reason for it, except I’ve often landed on it with great force in the past, in ski accidents. It healed rapidly and without problem at the time; NOW, years later, it’s decided to act up. Anyway I have no idea whether this is “arthritis” or something else and don’t have a doctor. It’s actually awakened me more than once with a strong, dull, throbbing ache. I was forced to take an Aleve!
    I’ve been using the gin-soaked raisins and it does seem to me that it helps. No shoulder pain for several days now! But I don’t let the raisins evaporate; I just have a little container with gin with raisins floating in it, all plump, in the fridge. I take 10 each day plus about 1/2 tsp of gin… what the heck?
    What I wonder is: whether the shoulder pain is arthritis (probably is)…. and whether I’m getting maximum benefit by using the gin-and-raisin remedy wrong. And is it really that wrong?

  9. Adrienne P.

    Like Eliza, I would like to know what sort of arthritis the users have. My understanding is that some of these remedies can work for both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. It is, as the Graedons point out, dependent on the individual–what works for one may not work for another. I have R.A. and have found turmeric helpful. I have also had strong reactions to nightshade vegetables–potatoes make my joints swell and hurt horribly. My understanding is that this happens for some with osteoarthritis as well.
    In any case, these remedies are worth trying!

  10. Barbara

    To Jim A, if you are in Houston or Tucson, AZ , I would sure like to be your patient.
    Barbara in Houston

  11. Eliza

    Please, please, please distinguish between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid (autoimmune) arthritis. They are two different conditions and often remedies that work for one don’t work for the other.

  12. Barbara in Houston

    Please remember to use gin that actually has the needed herbs in it.
    You can check online for an ingredient list to see if the gin is really made the old fashioned way with herbs and other botanicals or if it is an artificial gin without the herbs that are thought to cause gin and raisins to relieve arthritis. The first brand of gin I bought did nothing to help my pain and the liquor store told me to look online for ingredient lists and buy with the many botanicals in it.
    I now buy gin made in the UK and know from a website online what is in the gin. And my pain is greatly lessened.I don’t know if I can mention the brands, but I use Beefeater and some friends use it too or they use Tangeray, both medium priced gins, about $20-22 a bottle.

  13. Patric F.

    Greetings Graedon’s,
    Just made my second batch of Gin and Raisins, or is it Raisins and Gin, and this time I used jumbo raisins instead of the smaller size. I tried nine (9) of them and it seemed like maybe that might be a little too many raisins to consume of that size. They’re pretty good size and they get a lot larger as the gin soaks through. They appear to soak up much more gin than the small raisins. Do you think maybe eating 5 or 6 of these large raisins would be better than 9?
    Keep up the great work. Your health information is extremely important to my family and our many friends who are now loyal Graedonites.
    Patric F.

  14. CWBL

    My husband and I buy gin that has juniper berries in it along with other flavorings. Make sure you buy REAL gin, and not flavored vodka. The clerk at our local “big box” wine and liquor store knew exactly what we were talking about and guided us to a brand of Gin that has a picture of Queen Victoria on the bottle. There are also small drawings on the back of the different plants included in the gin. The cost is “in between” the other gin brands. We keep our golden raisins in a jar with the gin and don’t let it evaporate although we do drain each teaspoonful before we eat them. We don’t drink; we just find it more convenient and economical to keep the gin for reuse.

  15. V Miller

    How much turmeric is recommended daily to relieve osteoarthritis pain?

  16. j@1954

    KNEE PROBLEMS: I, at age 75, have been to two Orthopedic Surgeons regarding severe pain in my knee. Both told me that when the pain gets bad enough and my activities are restricted, (I play tennis and golf) that is when they would replace my knee. (The x-rays show I have bone to bone contact on the inside of my knee.) Subsequently, I read that the body produces a “lubricant” that helps the knee stay loose. However, inactivity of the knee, causes the body NOT to produce the lubricant, making use of the knee painful.
    Therefore, over the last three months, I have been spending thirty minutes a day, six days a week on a stationary bicycle exercising both knees. The pain in my knee has been reduced dramatically. I play tennis with a knee brace just as a precaution. All other activities including golf is without the brace. I guess time will tell what happens next!

  17. JK

    So, what is the dosage people are using for the gin soaked yellow raisins and how many raisins to how much gin, and what kind of gin?

  18. K D Bolls

    How do you prepare the golden raisin and gin combo?
    Do you use the most or least expensive gin?
    You pour the medium-priced gin over a pan of raisins and let the gin evaporate. Eat nine daily.
    You will find lots of frequently asked questions (and answers) in our Guide to Alternative Treatments for Arthritis at:

  19. jim a.

    common arthritis (joint pain), in my experience as a massage therapist, is caused by trigger points. Trigger points are contraction knots that form in muscles from accident trauma, repetitive stress, poor body mechanics, etc. Trigger points are a tightening of several muscle fibers within a muscle –and in the case of joint pain — they pull on connective tissue and ligaments to cause pain somewhere else.
    Trigger points in the quadriceps can cause pain deep within the knee, or a clicking in the knee. Trigger points in the extensor and flexor muscles of the forearm can cause joint pain in the fingers, or tennis or golf elbow. Trigger points in the flexor muscles of the forearm can cause what’s called ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’
    I have massaged away trigger points in myself and clients and the pain in the joint goes away. Most massage therapists have not been trained in trigger point therapy. Many doctors don’t know about trigger points, or don’t believe in them (which is kind of like not believing in muscles). Trigger points are a physiological phenomenon. And these pains can be diminished or disappeared by trigger point massage.
    The home remedies listed above will work if these remedies work on trigger points by loosening muscle tensions, etc.

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