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Which Gin for Gin-Soaked Raisins?

Q. I have been using gin-soaked raisins for joint pain. However, the clerk at the store said that if I want benefits from gin-raisins, I must buy higher-quality, more expensive brands. I have been buying the lowest-price distilled gin. He said that I am wasting my money with the less expensive gin.

Does the price of the gin makes any difference in getting benefits from gin-soaked raisins–or does this clerk want to increase his profits?

A. The very cheapest gin uses juniper flavoring added to neutral grain alcohol. You want gin distilled with real juniper berries.

No one knows exactly why gin-soaked raisins may ease joint pain, but we think that juniper berries are an essential component of the remedy. One reader sent this comment:

“Gin traditionally was flavored with juniper berries, orris root, cardamom, and coriander. Gin was originally considered a medicine, a new way to deliver the benefits of juniper berries, which had been used for centuries as a remedy for arthritis and rheumatism.

“Modern gin manufacturers, particularly the cheaper brands, don’t flavor with any actual natural flavorings at all. So someone who simply soaks their raisins in the cheapest grocery store brand of gin is going to be missing out on the whole point of soaking the raisins in something–the anti-inflammatory benefits of juniper berries.”

If you are indeed buying distilled gin–not simply the cheapest gin in the liquor store–you probably are getting the benefit. Another reader made this suggestion:

“A ‘bottom shelf’ gin containing juniper berries is Gordon’s London Dry Gin – about $9-10 bucks for 750 ml here in the Pacific NW.

“From Wikipedia: ‘Gordon’s London Dry Gin was developed by Alexander Gordon, a Londoner of Scottish descent. He opened a distillery in the Southwark area in 1769, later moving in 1786 to Clerkenwell. The Special London Dry Gin he developed proved successful, and its recipe remains unchanged to this day. Triple-distilled, the gin contains juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, liquorice, orris root, orange and lemon peel.’

“I tried my gin-soaked raisins last night for the first time and woke up this morning feeling strange – ie without any pain. Gives fresh new meaning to the term ‘feeling no pain.'”

You can find detailed directions and FAQs on gin-soaked raisins and other home remedies for arthritis in our Guide to Alternatives for Arthritis.

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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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