Q. I don’t know if anyone other than me thought the gin-raisin remedy had to be an idea that the companies made up to sell their products. I decided to prove you WRONG, and I made up a batch with the cheapest raisins and gin I could find. It cost me a grand total of $6.24. The first batch lasted 129 days. At $.05 per day, it only took $.60 to prove you RIGHT.

I had taken everything from Advil to Vicodin, including Celebrex and Neurontin for chronic shoulder and back pain that should really be called agony. After 12 days of gin-soaked raisins, I woke up and realized something was very different. There was no agony, only slight pain I could manage. Granted, I took nine raisins in the morning plus nine at night, because I didn’t think it would work, but it does!

I now only take 9 raisins a day, and after seven months I am pain free. I am still on my second batch. Six months’ worth of Vicodin cost $1,873.00 and I still suffered pain. After six months of gin-soaked raisins ($12.48) I had no pain. So instead of writing to say, “You are WRONG,” I’m writing to say, “I was WRONG.”

A. Thank you for sharing your story. Not everyone benefits so impressively, but many others have found gin-soaked golden raisins helpful. Anyone who would like to learn more about the details of this and other natural approaches to managing joint pain may be interested in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis. It offers a recipe for preparing the gin-drenched raisins as well as information on many anti-inflammatory supplements such as ginger or turmeric.

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  1. MEB

    Have recommended gin soaked raisins to several friends who have suffered from arthritis and they are now believers in this remedy. I believe the arthritis in my hands was caused from using Splenda and several friends have also seen relief from arthritis, as I did, by just giving up Splenda.

  2. ELG

    I suffer from arthritis in my knee and hands. After reading comments from your readers, I’ve decided to try gin-soaked raisins. So far, I’m enjoying the treatment (because the raisins taste so good). I haven’t been eating them long enough to come any conclusions yet. However, I have one question. You write that you haven’t come across any published literature about the efficacy of these raisins. Where, then, is the rationale for taking nine raisins – no more, no less? If nine are good, would more be better (aside from running into problems with Breathalyzers?)

  3. Kim

    The experts do not agree as to whether gin (or any distilled alcohols) is gluten free. Some seem to have no problems, while others do.

  4. MW

    That is an excellent question, I also wonder how the gin soaked raisins effect those who are allergic to juniper. Not to mention anyone who has diabetes.

  5. James W. B. Jr.

    I just joined and wonder if the ginsoaked raisins are used PRN or as a maintaince therapy.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We think most people use them as maintenance therapy. It can take several weeks for the effect to kick in.

  6. Walt

    My question about the type of raisins was answered in a previous response by a reader. Thanks, I’ll give it a try

  7. Walt

    Any particular type of raisins? Sounds like good advice.

  8. N. Ford

    No. It isn’t. There are other things mentioned on this website that could help you.

  9. Cindy B.

    This fall I decided to become a “migrant farm laborer” and went to pick apples. OMG! What a load of work! Also I fell off the ladder, about 12 feet, POW. I could just barely walk at the end of it all, and my knee was the size of a cantaloupe despite everything I could do. Well, I went back on the gin-soaked raisins as soon as I got home, and added Certo with grape juice just to be safe. Two weeks later I have the knees of a 20-year-old again, which is pretty good when you’re 64.

  10. cm

    I suffer from severe back pain because of missing lumbar disks, bulging disks, scoliosis, etc. I am always ready to try a natural way to pain relief rather than take drugs. However, I tried the gin soaked raisins and could not tell that it helped at all. I suspect that it depends on the cause of the pain and how far advanced your problem with pain is.
    For those who say they don’t like the taste of gin, once it is absorbed into the raisins, you really don’t taste gin.

  11. JAF

    I would like to try this raisin/gin remedy. However, I have celiac disease. Is gin distilled? If so, then I can be sure it is gluten-free.

  12. cp

    I was wondering the same thing. I think it depend on you and whether it would be a trigger. I know some who cannot take a Unisom or a Tylenol PM because it’s a trigger. I don’t know if an answer from a non alcoholic would be an answer I could trust. If you try it, have some back up.

  13. 7734

    Is this remedy safe for a recovering alcoholic?

  14. a.s.

    I think that the only reason I haven’t tried this is that I really don’t like the taste if gin! I have what my daughter calls “new grandparent syndrome” plus nerve damage in my left forearm from a work-related accident. Guess that now is the time to bite the bullet, er, raisins?

  15. Karen

    With all due respect, Murray, I was replying to the OP, who proposed that the very idea of gin-soaked raisins was a ploy to sell more gin. I am scoffing at the OP, not at the idea that gin-soaked raisins may or may not work for anyone.
    (I scoff at soap, by the way, because I believe that cramps are a signal of electrolyte imbalance rather than inadequate exposure to soap fumes, and I think lack of magnesium is a big enough problem that it shouldn’t be masked by treatment with soap. YMMV.)
    >Karen needs to re-read the list of serious problems that are printed by the drug manufacturers to accompany their drugs
    I’ll do that when Murray carefully reads what I am responding to.

  16. E. D.

    Several years ago I took gin soaked raisins. It took about a month before I had any relief but after four months it no longer worked so I discontinued taking it. Last year I tried gin soaked raisins again and the same thing happened. This puzzles me. If if works in the beginning why doesn’t it work later? It wasn’t a complete loss – the raisins tasted good and the gin that was left I enjoyed with tonic water.

  17. Murray E.

    Since the beginning of humans, people had to get relief from all the medical problems they dealt with daily and yearly. Many centuries before drug manufacturers (who make some great drugs but also many that will destroy our health, and way too many that will kill any who swallow or get injected with them), they tried all types of grasses, plants, flowers, tree bark and other things to find help and relief from pain and health problems. Some helped. Some did not, but lives were saved and health restored in many. Aborigines in Australia, American Indians,Chinese, Europeans – by the millions, over time, experimented and came up with many natural solutions (many that work and cure) that, for some unknown reason, Karen finds a need to scoff at.
    By the way the raisins need to be golden raisins. I know one thing for certain – Karen does not have arthritis. Millions of people who do have found zero help from manufactured drugs and live in constant pain, often cannot sleep from the severe pain. Many cannot use their hands, cannot button a garment, tie a shoe or open a jar. Many cannot walk. Many are bedridden. Also, she mistakenly assumes that gin makers are the ones “pushing” this home remedy. Since a bottle of gin will last for several months for this remedy, and relatively few are using this remedy, I doubt that very many bottles of gin are sold for this. I know some who have received relief and some who did not, but all enjoyed their gin and golden raisins whether it worked for them or not.
    Karen needs to re-read the list of serious problems that are printed by the drug manufacturers to accompany their drugs. Many say “Can cause death, or can destroy lining of stomach, can cause severe depression, etc.” Even a “good” OTC ibuprofen drug (Advil, Motrin or Nuprin) kills many people every year. A 1998 study determined that over 16,000 NSAID related deaths occur each year in the United States alone. And it is generally considered one of our “good” drugs. Our “bad” drugs put this very large number of deaths from “good” drugs to shame.

  18. TC

    I wish I could get the same results. I used this remedy for almost three months with no change.

  19. jla

    I am another person who can testify how the gin soaked raisin therapy works. GREAT!!!!!
    My husband poo poos the idea, but he also balked at using a bar of soap for leg cramps and restless leg syndrome. He will rub the soap bar on an active cramp but says it doesn’t work in the bed after he used the soap in bed for three hours.
    He has multiple aches and pains: back, two torn rotator cuffs, a bad knee, arthritis, and a laundry list of other conditions. He takes enough drugs where I feel it they have affected his breathing, but he’d rather stay on his Vicodin, and numerous sedating meds as well as rely on his general practitioner for relief.
    He says he has common sense, I believe he enjoys being a martyr, choosing to seek attention for all aches and pains, rather than risk trying any cockamamie cures people use on their own.
    I am feeling better because of these home remedies, be they cooked up in a gin manufacturers laboratory, dumb luck in making a discovery to improve one’s conditions, or handed down from generation to generation.
    I am also all my doctors and pharmacist’s worst nightmare…. but by gosh, I am slowly educating doctors, one at a time.

  20. bc

    Why can’t it be black raisins, or can it? Does it have to be gin or would any ETOH work?

  21. Karen

    I can only marvel at a world where the makers of gin thought to resort to a 9-raisin per day regimen to increase the sales of gin.
    Our national health care bill would collapse if that miniscule amount of gin made any difference at all in the total volume of spirits consumed.

  22. Rick B

    I’m interested in reading further comments on this subject.

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