certo and grape juice

Q. I have been reading in your newspaper column that mixing Certo with grape juice will ease arthritis pain and lower cholesterol.

What the heck is Certo, where would I find it and how much do you put in grape juice? How does this concoction differ from another folk remedy that involves grape juice, apple juice and apple cider vinegar?

What is the theory behind why such remedies might work? I am sure others, like me, would appreciate some background information about the mechanism behind these approaches.

A. The very first time we heard about the “purple pectin remedy” was in 1998. That was when we published this exchange in our syndicated newspaper column:


 

Q. My wife and I tried golden raisins and gin for arthritis and we were unimpressed. We have discovered something else, though, that seems to work for us.

Take two teaspoons of Certo dissolved in three ounces of grape juice. Do this three times a day. We have been told to cut back to one teaspoon Certo in grape juice twice a day after the joints quit aching.

We buy Certo in the grocery store near the canning jars. It’s simple and cheap and seems to be helping. I am on Coumadin (warfarin) so I can’t take anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve.

Our answer on March 2, 1998:

A. Certo contains pectin, a natural ingredient found in the cell walls of plants. It is used as a thickening agent in jams, jellies and puddings. Grapefruit pectin has been used to lower cholesterol, but this is the first we’ve heard of using pectin for arthritis pain. Though there is no scientific evidence to suggest it would be helpful against sore joints, it does seem safe. We welcome comments from readers.


 

Since that day we have received an extraordinary number of positive responses from readers of our column, listeners to our nationally distributed public radio show and visitors to this website. Apparently the remedy dates back to the 1940s. We have included just a few stories at the bottom of this post.

How Does This Remedy Work?

As for the mechanism, we can only speculate. Pectin has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood sugar (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2012). It may also have anticancer activity.

Grape juice contains antioxidant polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds also dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. They may enhance immune function.

We wish researchers would investigate the reason why the combination of Certo and grape juice might work to ease arthritis pain. Ditto for grape juice, apple cider vinegar and apple juice. By the way, the latter recipe is attributed to Sam Houston, although we could not document he actually had anything to do with it.

Can Certo and Grape Juice be Dangerous?

There are several formulas to choose from when preparing Certo and grape juice. We discourage people from making large batches, in part because of a warning about benzene formation caused by a chemical reaction between the preservative sodium benzoate and citric or ascorbic acid. To read more about this concern, check out this article: Does Arthritis Remedy from the Grocery (Certo & Grape Juice) Create Benzene?

Small batches made fresh should pose little, if any, concern. Powdered pectin (Pomona’s Universal Pectin) is made from citrus fruit peel and contains no preservatives or additives and therefore should eliminate any worry.

How To Whip Up This Remedy in Your Kitchen

The video we have provided will give you details on how to prepare the purple pectin remedy as well as the grape juice, apple juice and apple cider vinegar formula. We would love to find out whether either of these approaches helps you, so please share your thoughts below.

Readers share their experiences:

“I read the posts concerning Certo and grape juice. I was having excruciating pain through my metatarsal area and great difficulty walking. After two weeks of using Certo and grape juice, my feet are free of pain.  Why is this remedy not better studied and more widely known?” Jaquish


“I’ve been meaning to write you a few lines for years, ever since my husband gave me your article about an alternative to arthritis drugs, recommending grape juice and pectin. I gave the info to my sister in England, as she was suffering from hip problems.

“It has helped her enormously, and she takes it faithfully every morning. She has also passed the info to several other friends and neighbors. Others have told my sister to say how grateful they are for the help and what a difference it has made to them.” Esme


“I know you have put information on the home remedy grape juice and pectin on your web site, and in your book Best Choices from The People’s Pharmacy. My purpose in writing is to share my extraordinary results as an encouragement for you to keep spreading the word so others might benefit.

“I am now sixty years old. I have had no cartilage in my right knee since 1967.  Over twenty five years ago my osteoarthritis was confirmed by x-ray. I have had a very active life style: running over 30,000 miles, playing basketball (twice weekly for 40 years) and walking one to three miles daily.

“In the last several years my osteoarthritis symptoms worsened, and I had to wear a leg brace for over three years. I have had to use a cane for the last eighteen months.  Pain was continuous, and the swelling of the knee was significant. I had difficulty sleeping, and started considering a total knee replacement procedure.

“A business associate mentioned that some friends had found relief from their osteoarthritis by using a home remedy. The remedy:  each morning take two teaspoons, by mouth, of liquid pectin in four to six ounces of grape juice. The brand I use is by KRAFT FOODS, and carries the trade name Certo. It is commonly used to make fruit jams, and jellies at home.

“My results:  within eight (8) hours my pain  and soreness diminished to almost zero;  swelling was reduced significantly; and I slept all night without interruption for the first time in years; I stopped using the leg brace, and cane that first day. These positive results have continued every single day since starting the regimen.

“I have no idea if I am one of a very lucky select few that can benefit from this remedy, or if it would have the same effect on most osteoarthritis-affected persons.  I wish it could be the subject of a controlled study.

“My right knee is still arthritic bone on arthritic bone, but I have surprising mobility, and only very moderate discomfort.

“I am a very lucky guy!  Thank you,” Kent


Q. Have you ever heard about apple cider vinegar in juice as a way to lower cholesterol and relieve arthritis pain? My aunt drank such a concoction every day and maintained that it kept her going. She lived into her 90s.

I used to consider this a harmless quirk. Now I have developed both arthritis and slightly elevated cholesterol myself. I would like to try this drink but I don’t know how to make it. Do you have any advice?

A. We received a recipe for apple cider vinegar mixed with apple juice and grape juice from a reader who said Sam Houston of Alamo fame had used it. There are no studies verifying that this remedy lowers cholesterol or alleviates arthritis, but many readers have found apple cider vinegar drinks helpful.

If you would like to learn more about other remedies for arthritis, you will find them in our 264-page book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies (from National Geographic).

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  1. Ronnie
    Queensland Australia
    Reply

    I have just started this Pectin and Grape juice after an elderly client of mine told me about it. I had trouble finding Pectin but found powder form at a health shop.

    I put it in blender as suggested, I make it up fresh each time, its been couple of days now and I have to admit my pain level has appeared to have decreased. I will be getting my Cholesterol done next month but its normally not too high.

    So, I will be interested in seeing continuing results I hope.

  2. Andrea
    Calif.
    Reply

    I tried the Certo/grape juice mix for high cholesterol. As I refuse to take statins (for a multitude of reasons – but mainly muscle health), this was worth a try. Every morning I mix 1 T. of Certo with only a couple ounces of pure grape juice (not from concentrate) and water, trying to avoid all the sugar in grape juice. After 3 months, my cholesterol dropped from 265 to 192. Three subsequent blood tests showed my cholesterol leveled off at around 216. I’ll take it!! Did this for a year. Then started wondering if I needed to continue with the Certo or would my cholesterol would stay down, so I quit taking for 4-5 months. Blood test revealed that my cholesterol went back up to 263. Sad face. Now back on the mix and will continue…much healthier and cheaper than drugs, but needs to be a daily routine. I’ve recommended to two other people and they have also had huge reductions in their cholesterol numbers. One of them didn’t mix with grape juice, but with Apple cider vinegar and had still had great results (lowered his cholesterol by 80 points!) FYI – blood tests were fasting tests.
    This is my story….hope it helps you.

  3. Margretta
    Charleston wv.
    Reply

    Ive used it for3 days, the apple cider, 1 table spoon certo, and cinnamin, i was were i had yo walk slow and use a small machine to vibrate to stop the pain. For the last two days i danyt use anything but the mixer of certo. Thank you very much.

  4. Margretta
    West Virginia
    Reply

    How much certo do you mix in a glass of apple juice or grape juice to drink each day?

    • Terry Graedon
      Reply

      As this is a home remedy, people have a few different recipes. One of the most popular is a tablespoon of Certo in 8 ounces of grape juice.

  5. Fred Wirt
    Florida
    Reply

    Hello I’ve heard about cinnamon & honey for arthritis pain over time will the honey have a undesirable affect on my system.

  6. Billie
    Silsbee, Texas
    Reply

    I’ve tried taking just one drink in the morning. It has not stopped all the pain . I guess I need to take it three times a day til my pain leaves. I need it for cholesterol also. Thanks for the information.

  7. mark
    NC
    Reply

    For over 20 years I have been hearing from the doctor that my cholesterol is high. I started using Certo and grape juice for arthritis. It helps and I will continue to use it. I didn’t even think about cholesterol.
    Surprisingly , I heard these words for the first time the other day, ” Your cholesterol is good !”.

  8. Jean
    Florida
    Reply

    Connie,
    My husband had gout 4-5 times a year for many years. He now drinks a mixture of 1 cup each apple, grape, and white grape juice with 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. He drinks 1/4 cup every morning and hasn’t had gout in over 5 years. I drink 1 tablespoon of vinegar in a glass of water for arthritis and seldom have pain. I haven’t tried the Certo and grape juice.

  9. Connie
    Florida
    Reply

    Has anyone tried the grape juice/certo for the gout? If you did, how long did it take to get relief?

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