The People's Perspective on Medicine

Arthritis Remedy Does Double Duty Overcoming Constipation

We love it when a remedy for one thing works really well for something else. And it's great when there is science to support it for overcoming constipation!

We first heard about the grape juice and Certo treatment for arthritis over 20 years ago. We wrote about it in our syndicated newspaper column on March 2, 1998. Here is that very first letter: “My wife and I tried your 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 warfarin (Coumadin) so I can’t take anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve.” Since then, hundreds of people have told us how well it works for arthritis, but here’s a new use: overcoming constipation!

A New Approach for Overcoming Constipation:

Q. My husband and I are taking a combination of grape juice and pectin for arthritis pain and it is definitely helping my hips. But my husband has found another reason for using it. He has been able to stop using all his other aids for constipation!

For years he has had to use Citrucel and recently added milk of magnesia to his regimen. But the grape/pectin combo just twice a day has eliminated the need for anything else. (He takes two teaspoons in three ounces of grape juice twice daily.) He’s sold on it.

A. A reader who was disappointed with gin-soaked raisins for arthritis pain wrote to us to report that Certo in purple grape juice worked wonders for his sore joints. Liquid pectin (Certo) is soluble fiber extracted from plants. It can be found in the home canning section of grocery stores. That’s because it helps thicken jams and jellies.

Is There Any Science to Support Certo for Overcoming Constipation?

Chinese researchers have confirmed your observation about overcoming constipation. They performed a randomized clinical trial testing plant pectin against placebo (Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi, Dec. 30, 2014).

The scientists reported that soluble dietary fiber accelerated the time food residue passed through the colon and reduced symptoms of constipation. There was also an improvement in the bacterial ecology of the digestive tract. That’s a good thing because it promotes a healthy microbiome in the colon.

Another Natural Way for Overcoming Constipation:

We have been collecting constipation remedies for decades. One of our favorites is flaxseed. Ground flaxseed is another good source of soluble fiber. Not only is it helpful against constipation, it can aid in lowering cholesterol and may help reduce hot flashes of menopause. Flaxseed is an excellent plant source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Flaxseed is great until it is ground. Over time it is susceptible to going rancid. If you want to be absolutely sure yours is fresh, buy the flaxseeds and grind them in a coffee grinder or a similar device. Then use what you need and put the rest in the refrigerator. The powder should last well for 10 days to two weeks.

If that is too much trouble, flaxseed can be found in an old-fashioned cold cereal, Uncle Sam Cereal. This product was once marketed as a natural laxative. It is now being offered as a low-glycemic-index or low-carb food. The primary ingredients are wheat berries and flaxseed.

Stories from Readers:

Audrey  says:

“I am always constipated. I have tried everything. I drink a lot of water, eat veggies and fruits and take a lot of fiber.

“What works for me is Uncle Sam fiber cereal. I buy it in a big chain store.”

Sheila L in Chico, California shared this remedy for overcoming constipation:

CONSTIPATION REMEDY: I learned this remedy from another’s comment on this site. It has worked for me over two years!

“Simmer 1 tablespoon whole flax seed for 3mins in small amount of water; let stand 7 mins more. Pour into 1 qt container and add water to equal one full quart of amber liquid. Drink 4ozs. morning and evening. Adjust strength or dose accordingly.”

Do You Love Simple, Safe & Natural Remedies?

You can learn more about these and many other natural remedies in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. There are details about the gin and raisin remedy for arthritis along with stories about Certo and grape juice. There are lots more constipation remedies as well as suggestions for allergies, flatulence, headaches, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insomnia and muscle cramps, to name just a few.

Read the reviews to decide if it is a good investment. Here is Ann’s comment:

“So far, I have tried 6 of the remedies in this book. You have not let me down. A win every time. Every family should own this book.”

The book may be purchased for $16.95 plus $3 shipping and handling from:

  • The People’s Pharmacy; Dept. Q&H
  • PO Box 52027;
  • Durham, NC 27717

or you can order

online at

While you are there, please check out all our other books at this link.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I only know that the grape juice and Certo work for the arthritis…the constipation is still a problem…but will keep this in mind should I have a break through…no pun intended

I believe that I read in one of your columns that Pomegranate juice also works. It has fewer calories than grape juice and is very tasty. I had already been drinking it as a natural way to lower blood pressure; I’m not sure it has worked for that, but it is good for you. I intend to add the Certo as soon as I go to the store.

Sounds good, but what is there for people who have chronic constipation and are diabetics and gluten intolerant?

Does the Certo and grape juice have a lot of sugar?

I have very recently started purple Grape juice and pectin for arthritis, and it is helping my hands, hips, and knees. I’m taking 1/2 tablespoon in 8 ounces of juice. I’m using SureJell as my regular grocery did not have Certo. The first ingredient is dextrose, so I’m waiting for an order of Pomona Pectine and hoping it isn’t loaded with sugar. I don’t know about the sugar content of Certo. It has also eliminated my elimination problem. I wondered if that was it, and the today’s email came in. Thank you to the Graedons and People’s Pharmacy!

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