The People's Perspective on Medicine

Golden Raisins in Gin: Placebo or Powerful Arthritis Remedy?

People with arthritis are caught in a terrible bind. OTC and prescription drugs have some serious side effects. What about golden raisins in gin?
Golden raisins in box and Gordon’s gin bottle gin-soaked raisins arthritis

Are you a skeptic? Do you think all home remedies are nothing more than old wives’ tales? Snake oil? Silliness? Or do you keep an open mind and wonder why such approaches are handed down from generation to generation? Does experience count for anything? Why do some people believe golden raisins in gin can help ease the pain of arthritis?

A Reader Doesn’t Care If Golden Raisins in Gin Are Placebos

Q. Some people have told you that they think gin-soaked raisins only work through a placebo effect. I don’t care!

Arthritis runs in my family; I and my five siblings have it. We are all in our 80s.

I started on a drug many years ago and then switched to raisins as soon as I heard about them. Since that time, I haven’t needed any drugs for my joint pain.

I live in a retirement community now and am one of the few who can still go up and down the stairs from my second-floor apartment. I boycott the elevator and I still do fine hand sewing, get in and out of my car easily and take long pain-free walks.

My siblings, all unwilling to give the raisins a try, are on many different drugs and are very limited in what they can do. I couldn’t care less if the raisin remedy is all in my head. What’s more, raisins, even with gin, are much less expensive than the drugs my sibs have taken over these many years.

The People’s Pharmacy Shares Golden Raisin in Gin:

A. We first heard about gin-soaked raisins for arthritis more than 25 years ago. Since then, hundreds of people have told us that this home remedy is surprisingly effective against joint pain.

As far as we can tell, researchers have shown no interest in this approach. There have been no clinical trials to test the effectiveness of golden raisins in gin.

A Few More Readers Share Stories:

Danita relates this story about her husband:

“My husband has been wracked with arthritis for years. We came across the golden raisins in gin on the People’s Pharmacy website and decided to try the remedy. It took a few weeks, but it works for him. He’s been taking them for quite a few years now, and even his doctor agreed that if it works for him, keep doing it, as the medicine is far more expensive and worse for your body. It may not work for everyone, just as medications aren’t a one-pill-fits-all; but it’s worth a try.”

Danita is absolutely right that not everyone benefits from gin-soaked raisins. We hear from people who say this home remedy is not helpful. But as Danita points out, the same can be said about FDA-approved pricey prescription medicines.

Terry P. is supportive of our efforts to share remedies that might help, won’t hurt and aren’t very expensive.

“My personal experience with gin-soaked golden raisins (1/2 Tanqueray gin (not Gordon’s) and 1/2 Sloe gin) was to treat persistent radiating left hip pain. I ate my ‘slightly’ well-rounded teaspoon each evening before retiring. Within two weeks, no pain… and better mobility!

“To both Terry and Joe, I say PLEASE continue your work. Objective success is objective success. Thank you for your contribution to not only our health, but also to the sheer confidence to be our own health care advocates.

“To those who insist on degrading others’ sincere, well-educated efforts, I suggest a relaxing gin and tonic while soaking in a decadent tub of epsom salt, and actually ‘objectively listening’ to an enlightening, informative ‘People’s Pharmacy’ Podcast!’”

Thank you Terry P. Google has made it much harder for us to share such remedies. Anything that suggests alternative or integrative medicine has become much harder to find during a Google search. We may have also been punished for providing objective information about drug side effects. Here is an article we wrote about this several weeks ago: 

Is Google Censoring Drug Side Effect Information?

If you would like to learn more about golden raisins in gin and other nondrug approaches for aching joints, you may wish to consult our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. This online resource contains instructions and a video on how to make gin-soaked raisins. It is available in our Health eGuide section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Share your own experience with gin-soaked raisins or any other home remedy in the comment section below.

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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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    Regarding the Gin-soaked raisins: Would there be a problem if you are sober for 37-years? Would there be any affects with the Gin?

    There might be. We recommend other remedies for alcoholics, no matter how long they’ve been sober.

    I’ll try the gin-soaked raisin remedy. Delicious, whether it works or not.

    Regarding Google, I left them years ago due to privacy concerns. There are fine alternatives that give great results, including duckduckgo.

    I’m only 59 years old and was diagnosed with arthritis in my left hand and osteoarthritis in my knees. I heard about the gin-soaked golden raisins and tried them 2 years ago. Definitely, YES, they worked for me. I ate only 9 raisins a day and soon felt much better. I’m glad that I have more mobility and can enjoy doing the things I love, and not trying to keep the drug companies in business!

    Tried the raisins and gin many times. Did not work for my mother.

    I gave her Rhus Toxtcodendron for her arthritis. Five to eight grains under her tongue and the discomfort is gone in 10 minutes. About $7.00 a vial. Oddly enough it is a derivative of poison ivy. I highly recommend it

    So how does one prepare this solution? I understand purchasing the raisins and gin, but how long do they need to soak? How big can a batch be? Should it be made at one time? How much do you consume and at what interval?

    Being a non-drinker, I substitute the gin with juniper berry extract with significant success!

    The white raisins are expensive, and I tried this for several months. It has done absolutely nothing for me. Perhaps it had to do with the gin, and the people who found it successful did not let the raisins soak long enough? I let mine soak for at least a month. I can’t stand alcohol.

    I have been taking the golden raisins soaked in gin, religiously, for over five years. I eat a tablespoon (app. 9 raisins) every morning. Those who take them on and off do not get the same benefit. It’s the juniper berries (not flavoring) in the gin and the raisins, which are dried white grapes, that produce the healing factor. I buy the least expensive gin. You do not taste the gin. And, do not substitute. However, I stress that I take the tablespoon of raisins every morning of every day of every month, all year long.

    It’s like taking a prescription drug – you need to be consistent and persistent.

    I’ve found this remedy to be very effective. I’ve been using it for the past couple of years except for a period of about a month when I ran out of raisins and kept forgetting to ask my husband to buy more. My joint aches & pains came back so I restocked and soaked more raisins. After another week or two I was relatively pain-free again and have remained so, although there are random days when I don’t eat any.

    The mason jar that I make and store them in is kept on my counter, to remind me to take them. I’ve found that the thick leftover syrup that forms is yummy on vanilla ice cream.

    I don’t know the science of it, but it does work. Unfortunately, since big Pharma companies can’t make beau coup bucks off of it, no one’s ever going to research it to confirm its efficacy.

    Change your search engine if it is going to censor good information. I don’t use google, it tracks you too, but DuckDuckGo.com does not track you and I found no censorship on the raisin remedy. Hope that helps.

    There is actually a reason for the medicinal effect of the gin/golden raisin tonic. Golden raisins are treated with sulfur (to prevent browning) and this reacts with the juniper berries that the gin is made with. That’s why it’s important to read the label of the gin you buy- you need to get gin that has juniper berries as an ingredient in the distilling process, not just “juniper-flavoring”. I always buy the cheapest gin I can find.

    No need to let the gin evaporate when soaking the raisins, In My Humble Opinion. I soak mine in a lovely small blue crock with a seal and clamp- on lid. After about 24 hours, the raisins have plumped up with gin and are ready to consume. Some of the gin does evaporate when the jar is opened each day. When all that is left is a raisiny gin syrup, I add more raisins and more gin. Eventually I find a way to consume the syrup. It’s tasty !

    I started doing this when I had painful swelling in two of my knuckles. When I heard about the raisins, I thought, what harm can nine drunken raisins do? The pain and hotness have gone, though I didn’t start the raisins soon enough to prevent both knuckles from being enlarged, with one unevenly so and the finger at an angle starting at that joint. I consume the raisins almost daily, but am not compulsive about it, and don’t take them when I travel. The painful swelling has not returned.

    Nothing works for me like Turmeric. I am on warfarin so my nurse practitioner adjusted my warfarin dosage so that I may use turmeric for the arthritis in my spine. It knocks the inflammation right out every time.

    I’d like to have the recipe for gin-soaked raisins.

    Could someone share brands, amounts of raisins, and gin they used. Please. And dosage.
    I am in recovery for an another Brain/eye surgery, and when deemed well I want to try the raisins.
    So want them all ready to consume in a few weeks.
    I have Osteo Arthritis.
    Thank you.

    I tried this faithfully for two months. It did absolutely nothing.

    Gin soaked raisins take 12- 36 hours to have full effect. I did not appreciate their help until I had to discontinue them for three days for a colonoscopy prep. I asked my doctor if they make synovial fluid thicker. The lag time means the pain relief is not an effect of the alcohol in the gin. The doctor asked how I prepare them and told me that ten raisins morning and evening contain 1/4 jigger of gin each.

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