Can This Folk Remedy Help Treat Arthritis Pain?

Folk remedies contain generations worth of healing and restorative recipes intended to provide a natural alternative to traditional medicine. Our grandparents likely told stories of different recipes used to cure everything from the common cold to arthritis. Some of these natural folk remedies are backed with science, while others are more legendary than they are medicinal. Drunken, or gin-soaked, raisins are one of those folk remedies that our grandparents may have whipped up as a remedy for the painful inflammation caused by arthritis.

Gin-soaked raisins made national attention during the long-running radio show by Paul Harvey, who regularly spoke of the restorative properties found in drunken raisins. The recipe calls for a box of golden (white) raisins placed into a shallow dish and covered with gin. Once all of the gin has evaporated, the grapes are transferred into a resealable container and consumed daily for arthritis relief.


There is no scientific backing to support the healing properties found in gin-soaked raisins. Juniper berries and the oil they produce are used to make gin; juniper is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, while the raisins themselves are a source of antioxidants. The combination of the two is what many believe to be the source of remedy for those that suffer from arthritis. Despite the healthy properties found in both of these sources, there is no science to validate the claim that together these two have the ability to offer pain relief for those who suffer from arthritis.


While your grandfather or great aunt may have sworn by the healing properties of gin-soaked raisins, it is likely more the placebo effect that was the source of relief. A better “remedy” would be to eat a diet rich in antioxidants and other foods that offer anti-inflammatory qualities. And, of course, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider, as gin-soaked raisins may interfere with current medications, therefore having a negative rather than restorative effect. Arthritis is a painful condition and one that, if treated, can be managed.

While natural remedies are effective in treating certain health conditions, and as much as we love our folk remedies for nostalgia and in some cases for true healing, it’s important to choose your treatments wisely in order to make sure you’re truly able to enjoy good health.

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