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Why Are Gin-Steeped Raisins in the New York Times?

We never thought we would see one of our favorite home remedies in the NYT. We've been writing about gin-steeped raisins for decades!
Why Are Gin-Steeped Raisins in the New York Times?
Gin-steeped raisins

We were astonished to see a home remedy we have been writing about for 27 years show up in the New York Times (Feb. 23, 2021).  Most people laugh at the gin-steeped raisin remedy. Many dismiss this arthritis treatment out of hand. Others swear it works better than any drug. Now, a 105-year-old lady named Lucia DeClerck says she survived COVID 19 in part thanks to: “the nine gin-soaked golden raisins she has eaten each morning for most of her life.” 

Lucia DeClerck’s Secrets to Long Life:

According to the article in the New York Times, “Grandma Lucia” attributes her longevity to prayer, the absence of junk food in her diet and a morning ritual of eating nine golden raisins soaked in gin. Now we would be the first people to tell you that there is 1) no scientific evidence that gin-steeped raisins relieve arthritis pain or 2) such a remedy could prevent or treat the coronavirus.

COVID-19 is far too dangerous to rely on any home remedy for either prevention or treatment. We have been encouraging our readers to follow the CDC guidelines and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

What’s the Back Story on Gin-Steeped Raisins?

We published the first letter about the “raisin remedy” on May 16, 1994 in our nationally syndicated newspaper column:

“A neighbor gave my wife a recipe for ‘arthritis relief’ that involves soaking golden raisins in gin. When the gin has completely evaporated, she is to eat nine raisins a day.

“She’s just starting to eat these raisins, so we don’t know yet whether it will make any difference. Our neighbor says it has helped his shoulder pain. What do you think?”

We didn’t know what to think. The best we could come up with was:

“We think this is the most original home remedy for aches and pains that we have seen in a long time. Since the alcohol evaporates with the gin, we doubt that any effect is due to ethanol.

“Gin is flavored with juniper berries, but the concentration is not very high. Juniper has been used historically for treating stomach problems, as an inhalant for bronchitis, and even for arthritis.

“We could find no research confirming that juniper is helpful in arthritis, let alone gin-soaked raisins. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem likely to do much damage. Let us know if it helps your wife.”

Fast Forward 27 Years:

Since that initial letter we have heard from hundreds, if not thousands, of people who wanted to share their experiences. We still cannot tell you why some people get relief from arthritis by eating nine gin-steeped raisins daily. Many people do not get benefit. But those that do, absolutely swear that this home remedy is responsible. Here is a link to some powerful stories.

 Virginia has a recent story to share about adding boswellia to her nine gin-steeped raisins:

“I am 76, and I have been using gin-soaked raisins for many years now, since first reading about it on this website. I had wonderful relief from my arthritic pain and stiffness as a result. That is UNTIL about 6 months ago. At some point during pandemic shutdown I needed to make a new batch of gin-soaked raisins, but I was low on gin.

“Since I was afraid to venture out in public unnecessarily just then, I decided to make do with the gin I had on hand, about half the amount I would usually use. After about a week my arthritic pain and stiffness returned, especially in my right hand. I could no longer enjoy many of the activities I was used to.

“I eventually went out to get more gin and make a new batch, but the pain and stiffness in one finger didn’t go away. When I read about boswellia for arthritis in one of your articles, I decided to try it (while continuing the gin-soaked raisins). After a couple of weeks my hand was back to normal!

“I have continued both the boswellia and the gin-soaked raisins ever since. I have long been convinced that the dose of 9 raisins on a daily basis provides me with necessary nutrients, so I am inclined to continue taking them. The boswellia seems to have helped me when I needed something extra.”

The Raisin Remedy Gets Noticed:

The New York Times article about Lucia DeClerck’s experience with the Raisin Remedy got tremendous traction:

“This 105-Year-Old Beat Covid. She Credits Gin-Soaked Raisins.
Lucia DeClerck, the oldest resident of her New Jersey nursing home, tested positive for the virus on her 105th birthday, one day after her second vaccine shot.”

It didn’t take long for people to start searching for instructions on how to create gin-steeped raisins. Not surprisingly, one of our articles received a lot of traffic. Here is a link

How to Make Gin-Soaked Raisins for Joint Pain
Step-by-step instructions for preparing and using gin-soaked raisins

We must warn you that not everyone gets benefit from gin-steeped raisins. That’s why we have included lots of other home and herbal approaches in our eGuide to Alternatives for Arthritis. In addition to the Gin-Raisin Remedy there is Certo and Grape Juice, Knox Gelatin, Vinegar and Juice, Pineapple, Tart Cherries, Ashwagandha, Boswellia, Turmeric, Ginger, Stinging Nettle, Apitherapy, MSM, SAMe and the inside story on medications.

You will also find a video embedded in this eGuide with us preparing the gin-steeped raisins. There are also frequently asked questions (FAQs) about timing, storing, alcohol content and which type of gin to use. You will also learn about alternative beverages in case you are worried about the alcohol in gin.

If you prefer a printed book rather than an electronic guide you can order the paperback version of Alternatives for Arthritis in the bookstore at this link.

Please share your own experience with gin-steeped raisins in the comment section below. If you think someone would like to read about this approach, please send them a link. You can do this easily by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the icons for email, Facebook or Twitter. Thank you for supporting our work. 

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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.” .
  • Tully, T. "This 105-Year-Old Beat Covid. She Credits Gin-Soaked Raisins," New York, Times, Feb. 23, 2021.
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