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Gin Soaked Raisins for Arthritis

Many people find that eating nine gin soaked raisins a day helps ease the aches and pains of arthritic joints. Why? We don't know.

We have received more mail about this “raisin remedy” than any other home remedy we have written about. Many people are incredulous that eating nine gin soaked raisins daily could do anything for persistent pain, but others have tried it and swear that it helps to relieve arthritis pain and other chronic inflammation such as bursitis, plantar fasciitis or tendinitis.

We don’t know how it got started or why it works, but many readers would like to know how to make gin soaked raisins for their use at home. There are a few situations in which this remedy would not be appropriate: having gin (even gin soaked raisins) in the home would be a problem for a person with alcohol dependency. Also, people with sulfite allergies must avoid golden raisins, as they always have sulfites in them.

How to Make Gin Soaked Raisins:

  • Ingredients: golden raisins and gin.
  • Empty the raisins into a bowl and pour in just enough gin to cover the raisins. Allow the gin to evaporate (about one week) and then place the moist raisins in a jar with a lid.
  • Eat nine raisins a day. They go well on cereal!

Some Questions about Gin Soaked Raisins:

There are some questions that people frequently ask.

For example, does it matter what gin is used to soak the raisins? The answer is yes. The cheapest gin does not appear to work very well. The gin should be one that is flavored with actual juniper berries (the quintessential flavoring for gin). Other botanicals may also be used, but the juniper berries appear to be important. Usually the label will give you this information, but if you are unsure, someone staffing the liquor store may be able to help.

Should the raisins be stored in the refrigerator after soaking? If someone is consuming them on a regular basis, they need not be refrigerated. Raisins generally do pretty well unrefrigerated in the cupboard; adding alcohol, which is sometimes used as a preservative for other foodstuffs, does not seem to make them more susceptible to mold or other problems.

People also wonder whether the raisins must be golden, or whether dark raisins also work. Some readers have reported using dark raisins to good effect. Usually, though, the remedy as people have learned it specifies golden (or “white”) raisins. Unless the sulfites used to preserve the raisins’ beautiful light color is a critical component of the remedy (which is possible), we can’t imagine why it would matter. Unfortunately, there have been no studies to compare the two, so we have no data for answering this question.

A number of people have inquired about the amount of alcohol in this remedy. We had it analyzed, and found that in nine raisins (the daily dose) there is one drop of alcohol. For most people, that would not pose a problem.

We answer this and other frequently asked questions about the gin soaked raisin remedy in our Guide to Alternative Treatments for Arthritis. You can also learn more by searching this website for “raisins.”

What Readers Say about Gin Soaked Raisins:

Here are some reader experiences with gin soaked raisins.

“I suffered from hip pain for almost 6 years. The pain was worse when standing, not so bad when walking/moving around. During this time, I went to two different chiropractors, had three different injections with three different doctors (pain doctors and sports medicine), went through some acupuncture sessions with two different acupunturists.

“My regular doctor commented about two of his patients who had pain relief from the raisin/gin treatment, so I tried it. A few days after I started the treatment I was standing in line to pickup some prescriptions at Wal-Mart and suddenly realized I had not pain when standing. I’ve been pain free for a little over a year now.”

“My sister e-mailed me about your site & about the gin soaked raisins. After trying it I’ve been pain free in my fingers for the first time in three years.”

“I read several articles for the gin soaked raisins and decided, even though I am a breast cancer survivor, that they were worth a try. The arthritis in my back was so severe that I could hardly turn over in bed or even get out of bed in the a.m. The pain was so bad that I thought my cancer had returned and was in my back, but tests showed it was arthritis.

“After the first several days I actually got out of bed and noticed that I didn’t have to walk to the bathroom all bent over. I could stand straight and had no back pain. I don’t always take them on a daily basis – just when I remember – and the pain still has not returned even after several months.

“I finally convinced my husband to try it for his arthritis. He noticed relief after only a few days and also had more energy. I don’t know if that goes along with it, but he did mention the extra energy. He’s on heart medication so we were concerned about the amount of alcohol but were convinced there wasn’t much alcohol left in the raisins after we drained the remainder of the gin off. Make sure you purchase a gin that specifically states that they make it with juniper berries and use only the golden raisins. Don’t leave the raisins set in the gin or you are getting more alcohol in your system. They need to be drained.”

“I first heard about the gin and raisins a couple of years ago on The Peoples Pharmacy. Later, as I developed pain and swelling in my hands after hard use, which is now constant, I tried the golden raisins and the best gin. I ate nine every day for three months and did not find relief of pain. While I enjoyed the tender and tasty raisins, the remedy did not work for me.”

It is worth noting that gin soaked raisins are not a panacea that work for everyone with joint pain (and should NEVER be given to pets). So far as we know, however, even anti-inflammatory medications do not work equally well for all arthritis sufferers. We think that this remedy is worth a try. If it doesn’t help within three months, a person is well justified in discontinuing it and seeking another approach.

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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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