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

We first heard about eating gin-soaked raisins for arthritis more than 20 years ago. On May 16, 1994 we received this letter:

“A neighbor gave my wife a recipe for “arthritis relief” that involves soaking golden raisins in gin. When the gin has completely evaporated she is to eat nine raisins a day.

She’s just starting to eat these raisins, so we don’t know yet whether it will make any difference. Our neighbor says it has helped his shoulder pain. What do you think?”

At the time, we thought this was one of the most original home remedy for aches and pains that we had ever received. We speculated that it might be the juniper flavoring in the gin, even though the amount is small. There was certainly nothing in the medical literature to support this concoction.

Gin and Raisin Remedy Two Decades Later

Twenty-two years after that first message we have heard from hundreds, if not thousands, of readers that the gin and raisin remedy is helpful for many. Not everyone benefits, but a surprising number of people seem to get relief. Here is just the most recent message:

Q. I stopped taking glucosamine in favor of gin-soaked raisins with terrific results. I’m a former runner with serious but not debilitating knee and hip pain. When I read about gin-soaked raisins I thought it sounded silly.

I gave it a try anyway. It worked. I haven’t used the pills now for over eight months.

I’m curious: why golden raisins? Sometimes golden raisins are not readily available. Will plain old black raisins work just as well? I like to know why something works.

Are Grapes the Magic Ingredient?

A. We’ve been searching for research on gin-soaked raisins for joint pain for years. Sadly, home remedies are rarely studied in randomized controlled trials. As a result, we don’t have a good answer to your question.

There are data to suggest that grape juice may have a number of health benefits. They include enhanced performance and reduced inflammation in runners (Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, Sept. 2015).  Grape juice also appears to make blood vessels more flexible and improve cognitive performance (Nutrients, Dec. 2, 2015; American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March, 2016). Since raisins are dried grapes, this might help to explain why so many people find the raisin remedy helpful.

A study in rats showed that the compounds in grape seed help protect against joint damage (Experimental & Molecular Medicine, Oct. , 2011).

If you decide to do your own experiment to see if dark raisins work as well as golden ones, please let us know the results.

Other Stories from Readers:

Dion in New Zealand shared this success:

“I am 69 years old and have been getting leg pain for the past three or four years, especially when I try getting up from sitting for a while. I was putting this down to my daily workouts at the gym. Then I went on holiday for three weeks, and the pain only got worse. I was having trouble walking and getting bad cramps at night so the idea of the pain being related to gym exercise was false.

“Then I read about the gin and raisin remedy and have been trying that for about two months. WOW! What a change.

“I’m not getting any pain in my legs now and look forward to taking our dog for a walk up to three times a day. I soak the raisins in gin for about a week prior to taking them. I always have two containers on the go: one soaking while I use the other one.

“I have not noticed any difference between using white (golden) or black raisins and have used both as a trial. Give it a try. You have nothing to lose.”

Sophia got a surprising bonus from the gin and raisin remedy:

“I tried gin-soaked raisins for osteoarthritis, not expecting much, if anything. To my great surprise, my knee which had been badly swollen for several years, became almost normal sized within a few days.

“An even greater surprise was my breast, which had been greatly swollen from radiation damage a year ago, was reduced to normal. I didn’t know that gin-soaked raisins could reduce inflammation!

“When I stopped eating them, the inflammation returned. I bought another brand of gin but it didn’t work as before. My son did some research, and found that the gin should contain wild juniper. Check the label for that ingredient.

“Now I’m back on track, and am grateful to you for the surprising remedy. And the 4 pound weight loss was welcome!”

We’re surprised that this remedy could have resulted in any weight loss. Raisins plus gin turn into a sweet, syrupy mixture after a week or two. We’re also pleased to learn that the anti-inflammatory effect goes beyond sore joints.

If you would like to see how to make the gin and raisin remedy, here is a short video:


Share Your Own Gin and Raisin Story:

If you have tried this remedy, please let us know how well it worked (or didn’t) in the comment section below. If you would like to learn more about the details of the gin and raisin remedy you will find that our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis has answers to FAQs such as:

How long does it take for the gin to evaporate?

Once the raisins are ready, should they be refrigerated?

How much alcohol is in the raisins?

Does it matter what type of gin?

Can you use dark raisins?

Are there any side effects?

Will I flunk a Breathalyzer test after eating the raisins?

Answers to these question can be found in our Guide along with other non-drug options for dealing with arthritis and inflammation. Here is a link to all our Guides. You will also find intriguing options for joint pain in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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  1. Mary
    Eugene, OR

    London Gin contains lemon peel, orange peel and orris root among other botanicals and I’m allergic to all 3. Darn. Orris root is used in perfumes and those who react adversely to perfumes may be reacting to orris root. I hope that Vodka soaked raisins work just as well as London Gin soaked raisins.

  2. Susan

    I keep a jar with them and don’t let the gin evaporate. I eat three a day and it works for me.

  3. Lloyd

    I am 64 year old male. I started experiencing a lot of pain in my hands. I assume it is arthritis. It became so painful that I was afraid to shake hands. I bought a bottle of organic Prairie Gin–juniper berries are not listed on the label. I added this to the dark raisins that I had. Within three days, I noticed a substantial improvement. One week later my pain was about 80% gone. The next batch I made was with golden raisins. Possibly the golden raisins are better, I will continue to experiment. When I remember, I eat a spoonful of raisins every day. If I miss a couple of days, my pain returns. What a great remedy.

  4. Renee

    Can I use Giblet’s Gin with golden raisins???

  5. Ajw

    I happened upon a web site ( which probably is as good as it gets in preparing the golden raisin treatment. They wash out the sulfur dioxide in their preparation prior to soaking jumbo raisins. I would try their drunken raisins before I wasted a lot of time and effort experimenting on my own since they have already done it.

  6. Darlene

    I didn’t believe this remedy would work, so it was not the power of positive thinking! I don’t dry the raisins and don’t count them, just eat a spoonful every day, and it has been remarkable . Such a simple thing to do for a lot of relief. I have r commended it to a lot of people.

  7. DT

    I am highly allergic to mountain cedar (aka juniperus ashei) and am wondering if the little bit of gin, made with Juniper, can have a negative effect on my allergies?

  8. BobK
    Bluffton SC

    Several years ago, I also had knee and hip pain. I thought both had to be replaced but physical therapy was suggested along with Hyaluronic Acid (natural body product). The PT worked wonders and the HA kept my knees in good shape, as it is supposed to be a natural body lubricant.

    As we get older, the muscles tend to shrink and then place a lot of stress/strain on joints. There are simple stretching exercises that I do several times a week to be pain free. I use HA only when I get some knee pain due to over stressing the joint. Gotta slow down at my age and listen to one’s body.:):)

  9. Cindy M. Black
    Seattle, WA

    I have asked this before and (to my knowledge) never gotten any clarification. WHY THE HECK IS IT 9 RAISINS??! I mean, 10 is a nice round number… would 10 raisins (or 12 or 15) really be a dealbreaker? Yes they are delicious… so I do eat about 15 per day. As far as I know, they do work. Just found out recently that my kneecap is severely off to one side and has been that way for 2-3 years. Still, I ski the double-diamonds hard, at 68, and have just a little pain. I was just told I should have a LOT of pain doing that, but I don’t. Probably it’s because of those raisins. Cheers!

  10. Peggy
    Greensboro NC

    I have been taking gin & raisins since the early 1990’s. As a matter of fact, a part of a letter I wrote to you about my experience is in your book on (pg 39) printed in 1999.

    I still find that I am one of the ones it helps. If I fail to take it for a few days, I find that the pain in my knees flares up and I have more difficulty in climbing stairs. It also helps with pain I get in other joints and hips. I still recommend it to friends and people I come across that are having that type of pain.

  11. Sandra
    Lewisville, TX

    I tried the Gin and golden raisin remedy for my arthritic back. I have degenerative disk disease and cannot stand for more than 10-15 minutes until the pain becomes unbearable! Used an entire box of raisins, covered them with gin and let the whole thing set for a couple days. Then I put them in an air-tight container and ate exactly 9 each day until they were gone. Result: Nothing. Nada. Hurt just as much as ever! For me it was a waste of time and money!

  12. Mary

    I tried the gin & raisins without much of a noticeable effect for about two months.
    Plus, have you tried to eat only 9 raisins? I love them and it was hard.

  13. Ken

    Some thoughts:
    Sun-Maid Golden Raisins
    California Golden Raisins, SULFUR Dioxide Added as a Preservative.

    Nature Made Triple Flex;
    Contains glucosamine hydrochloride (1500 mg), chondroitin SULFATE (800 mg) and MSM (750 mg)
    Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organoSULFUR compound with the formula (CH3)2SO2.

    It would appear that the active ingredient in Golden Raisins is Sulfur Dioxide.

    Those who find the raisin/gin combo to be helpful might try dried apricots as well as they also have Sulfur Dioxide as a preservative.

    Note: Sulphur and sulfur are alternate spellings of the same element.

  14. Nick
    Glyndon, MD

    About knee pain. I was taking the gin-raisin thing for months for nightly incontinence, and it was somewhat effective. Had no effect on my arthritic knee pain. Finally I got a cortisone shot from my doc. No pain for about 4 weeks, and then the pain came back. Since then, I’ve been walking every morning–about 4 miles or more. Magically, over the weeks, my knee pain has disappeared. I wore a copper sleeve for a while and found that somewhat effective, but since a month of walking regularly, I don’t even need that. So if your knee pain is from arthritis, I recommend walking. Many other benefits come from it too. I use a wrist monitor to track my steps and make sure I do at least 10k a day. When my knee was painful, I simply avoided hills and took it easy.

  15. Barbara
    Edenton NC

    would this remendy have too much sugar for a type2 diabectic? I am speaking of the raisins and gin for arthritis.

  16. Linda
    Madison, WI

    I am now on my second bottle of Gordon’s gin, however long that is, and this home remedy is working for me. I’m fortunate in that my only noticeable arthritis is in 2 fingers on my left hand but the right forefinger was quite sore before starting the remedy and now it’s not. I get the organic raisins from the local co-op and the Golden & Thompson raisins are packaged alike so time before last I inadvertently grabbed the Thompsons. I thought they would work the same but after a week or two my knuckles were sore and growing larger again, the skin around them was taught, and I couldn’t make a tight fist. I junked them, got the golden raisins and the knuckles improved quickly.
    I have benefited from several People’s Pharmacy home remedies and have passed them on to others who have also benefited. I am so grateful for your website, newsletter and program–where else would I get so much practical information and timely medical news? THANK YOU!

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