Gin Soaked Raisins for Arthritis

The Remedy: Daily, eat 9 golden raisins that have been soaked in gin for the relief of chronic arthritis.

The Story: This folk remedy for arthritis or chronic aches and pains has been around for many years. It seems to get media attention every few years and although the origin is unknown, the late and great commetator Paul Harvey is credited with giving the remedy notoriety in the 1990’s when he mentioned it on his radio show. It caught the media’s attention again during the 2004 presidential campaign when Teresa Heinz Kerry (wife of presidential candidate John Kerry) mentioned it during a campaign stop in Nevada. The media basically rolled their collective eyes as further proof that Mrs. Kerry was a bit goofy. Natural health bloggers and regular people online, however, disagreed and gave testimony to what they believed was a very effective remedy for aches and pains.

The Evidence:

As with most folk remedies, there isn’t any clinical evidence as to the efficacy of gin soaked raisins. Of course critics of main stream medicine would say that since there is apparently no money in it, Big Pharma is not interested even if it is effective. So we are left to theorize as to why some people seem to get positive and even amazing results. Here’s what we know:

  • Raisins contain many pain relieving and anti-arthritic chemicals. The list of compounds that occur naturally in grapes include: pain relievers such as ferulic acid, gentisic acid, kaempferol-glycosides and aspirin-like salicylic acid. Grapes and raisins also contain several anti-inflammatory compounds: ascorbic acid, cinnamic acid, coumarone, myricetin, quercetin and quercetrin. The fact that raisins are dehydrated may enhance the intensity of the compounds.
  • Golden raisins are made from Green Thompson grapes. In the processsing of these grapes, they are treated with sulfur dioxide gas to slow down enzymtic activity so that they maintain a nice golden color. Sulfur is the third most common mineral in the body. Research is now showing that sulfur is important to a healthy diet. Traditionally sulfur has long been used for arthritis pain. Epsom salts, for example, contain both sulfur and magnesium and seem to reduce joint pain when used as a body soak. One study, conducted in Israel in 1990, showed that soaking in the sulfur rich waters of the Dead Sea gave some relief to arthritis symptoms. There are no studies, however, which examine whether there are any residual sulfur from sulfur dioxide treated raisins has any pain relief effect.
  • Gin is made with juniper berries. They are rich in vitamin C and terpenes, the essential oil which, in large quantities is manufactured into turpentine. Historically juniper berries have been used in ‘natural’ anti-inflammatory prescriptions. Jethro Kloss, in his folk remedy classic “Back to Eden”, first published in 1939, mentions juniper berries as being good for “gout, sciatica, rheumatism or pain in any part of the body”. He makes no mention of the benefits of gin, however.
  • Alcohol can mask symptoms but upon analysis of 9 gin soaked raisins it was found that there was the equivalent of only one drop of alcohol.

The Recipe:

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 moist raisins in a jar with a lid. Eat nine raisins per day.


Make mine a ‘Gin and Raisins’

Cheers!! (and be sure to tell your Doc about this to confirm her opinion that you are a nut!!)

If you decide to try this remedy, we’d be interested in knowing your response. Drop us a line – thanks!

James Rodowca, LLC