MEDICAL MYTH MONDAYS- ARTHRITIS AND GIN SOAKED RAISINS

Folk remedies about many ailments abound but one of the most enduring ones is that raisins soaked in gin can help alleviate arthritis pain.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease that affects approximately 27 million Americans. It comes from the loss of cartilage-that part of a joint that cushions the bones and allows for easy movement. With less cartilage between the bones, the bones begin to rub together. This creates stiffness and pain and over time can limit mobility of the sufferer. Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.

Common treatments include non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, steroids, narcotics and physical therapy. For some people, the pain persists.

No one is really sure where the recipe for gin and raisins began, but in the 1990′s Paul Harvey, the radio superstar, mentioned it during one of his broadcasts. Then in 2004, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, spoke in Nevada about health care. During her talk she brought up a ” highly effective” remedy for arthritis that drew laughter and skepticism from the audience. The remedy she mentioned was raisins soaked in gin.

But, those that use it and get relief, praise the concotion.

Why would it work?                                       

1.    Golden raisins- the ONLY type of raisins worthy of the recipe- require sulfur or sulfides in their processing to make them golden. Sulfur is an active ingredient in 2 effective natural arthritis supplenents: glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate. Golden raisins come from sultana grapes and are cultivated under the name Thompson seedless grapes in the U.S.

2.      Sultana grapes contain proanthocyanidins which are thought to help fight infections and reduce inflammation. Grapes also contain resveratrol, a powerfrul  anti oxidant that is being studied for many of it’s disease fighting properties.

3.       Gin is flavored with juniper berries and juniper berries contain Terpinen. Terpinen has anti inflammatory properties. The essential oil that is in juniper berries contains more than 100 compounds including myrcene (an anti oxidant), catechins (anti oxidant),  and flavanoids (anti oxidant). Test tube studies have shown that juniper berries can inhibit prostaglandin synthesis.  Prostaglandins help mediate an inflammatory response and increase the sensitivity of nerve endings to pain. By inhibiting their production, a reduction in pain can occur. Aspirin and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs work because of this same principle.

So what is the recipe for this gin and raisin mixture?

Take 1 box of golden raisins, place them in a bowl and cover them with gin. Let the mixture sit until the gin evaporates. This could take a week or more. Then place the raisins in a clean jar and cover with a tight lid. Eat 9 gin soaked raisins per day. Give it time and see if it helps.

Why 9 raisins and not 8 or 10? Do other alcohols offer the same benefits? I dont’know the answers to these questions but alot of people think this  works. So unless you are allergic to gin or raisins, it might be worth a try.

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