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What Is the Alternative to Grape Juice and Pectin?

Some people need an alternative to grape juice and pectin for joint pain, because grape juice is high in sugar. There are many options.

Arthritis, joint pain and inflammation and rheumatism have plagued human beings since prehistoric times. Possibly as a result, there are more home remedies for arthritis than you could count easily. This is fortunate, for not every remedy works for each person with pain. We frequently write about some of our (and your) favorite remedies, such as purple pectin. Consequently, we get questions like this one from people who would like an alternative to grape juice and pectin.

Is There an Alternative to Grape Juice and Pectin:

Q. I’ve read in your column that grape juice and pectin may help relieve arthritis pain. I would like to try it, but I have diabetes. Grape juice has a lot of sugar. Does any lower-sugar liquid seem to work?

Looking for Less Sugar:

A. Other readers have also shared your concern about the sugar in grape juice. One recommended low-sugar grape juice. Others have suggested pomegranate juice or tart cherry juice as alternatives. Neither is low in sugar, but they do have fewer calories than Concord grape juice.

You may be interested in other arthritis remedies that are less likely to affect your blood sugar. Unflavored Knox gelatin dissolved in the low-sugar beverage you prefer could be an alternative to grape juice and pectin. So could a supplement such as bromelain, boswellia, curcumin, ginger, ashwagandha or stinging nettle.

Powdered Pectin in Boiling Water:

Another reader has been experimenting with an alternative to grape juice and liquid pectin, such as Certo. This approach would certainly be worth a try.

Q. I read in your column about mixing powdered fruit pectin with boiling water for aching joint relief. I mix one teaspoon with 1/3 cup of boiling water. Then I put it in the fridge and use one teaspoon in the morning in my coffee (along with a scoop of CocoaVia) and one teaspoon in a cup of cold water before I go to bed.

This seems to do the trick. Am I missing out by not using the grape juice? Or is the fruit pectin the trick? Is tart cherry juice as good as grape juice? I can’t find any research on this.

A. We haven’t seen research on this specific remedy ourselves.

But 25 years ago, we received this letter regarding arthritis remedies:

“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.”

Certo is liquid plant pectin. We appreciate the experiment with powdered pectin. Like Certo, this product is sold in the canning section of the supermarket to thicken homemade jams and jellies. The powder does not dissolve easily in cold liquid. Your solution takes care of that problem.

If you are getting relief from pectin in your coffee and bedtime water, you may not need juice, though both grape and cherry juice have anti-inflammatory activity (Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, Jan. 25, 2023).

We are fascinated that you take CocoaVia in your coffee. CocoaVia supplies cocoa flavanols. A large controlled trial showed that these compounds promote cardiovascular health (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2022).  [CocoaVia underwrites our radio show.]

Learn More:

You can learn more about an alternative to grape juice and pectin in our book, Alternatives for Arthritis. This information is also available in an online resource, our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. Our interview with Dr. Beth Jonas, the Reeves Foundation Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, covered more conventional treatments, such as prescribed and over-the-counter medications as well as lifestyle approaches to help you manage arthritis. It is Show 1140.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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