Q:

Is there evidence that gin-soaked raisins can relieve arthritis pain?

A:

Quick Answer

Although gin-soaked raisins are a folk remedy for arthritis popularized during the 1990s, as of 2015, there are no placebo-controlled double-blind scientific studies that support its rumored effect on arthritis pain, explains Carol Eustice for About.com. However, there are multiple untested theories on why this remedy might work.

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Full Answer

The specific type of grape used in gin-soaked raisins is known as the sultana grape, which is treated with sulfur dioxide to make golden raisins. One theory suggests gin-soaked raisins' positive effects come from the sulfides, reports Eustice, while another theory attributes them to the juniper berries used to make gin. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory compounds in grapes, raisins and juniper berries may play a role. However, it is also possible that arthritis pain is mitigated by natural pain mediators and endorphins stimulated by the placebo effect.

Gin-soaked raisins are believed to have first entered the American consciousness during the 1990s when Paul Harvey, a well-known radio host, referenced the folk remedy during a broadcast, states Eustice. From there, the recipe spread and testimonials began to spring up attesting to its efficacy. In 2004, presidential candidate John Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz Kerry brought up gin-soaked raisins during a discussion about health care. Variations on the recipe exist but unanimously agree that the raisins must be golden raisins, sometimes referred to as white raisins.

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