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.
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.