Recipe for Gin-Soaked Raisins for Arthritis Pain
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a catch-all phrase for over 100 diseases and conditions that cause joint inflammation or damage to the tissues that surround joints. It is estimated that 53.5 million people in the United States may have some form of arthritis.
What are the two main types of arthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. About 27 million people in the United States have OA. Many people have this form or arthritis without realizing it.
OA is a chronic condition in which the cartilage that surrounds and cushions the joints breaks down causing the bones to rub against each other. The symptoms include stiffness, and sometimes difficulty moving the joint, as well as pain upon awakening, after a period of inactivity, or after overuse. The symptoms will usually subside within about 30 minutes or after physical activity.
OA may affect the knee, neck, finger joints, ankle, and big toe. In the early stages, the pain will be only light to moderate and will come and go, without affecting the ability to perform daily tasks. If the OA progresses, it may become difficult to walk, climb stairs, engage in normal activities, and even, sleep.
OA is related to aging, but can also be caused by joint injury. People usually notice the first symptoms in their 40’s or 50’s. By the age of 80, almost everyone has some degree of arthritis.
Due to increased longevity and the aging of the population, by 2030 an estimated 67 million Americans will have arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) Rheumatoid arthritis is a more serious condition. It is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system, which is designed to attack foreign substances in the body like bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attacks the joints. About 1.5 million people in the United States have RA.
Women with RA typically first notice symptoms between the ages of 30 and 60. Among men with RA, the onset is usually experienced at older ages.
A flare-up can last for days and months and is often accompanied by swelling of the joints and general fatigue.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment is essential to prevent joint destruction and organ damage. A person with RA needs to regularly see a rheumatologist so that the disease can be monitored and treated. The goal of treatment is remission, a state in which inflammation is very low or entirely gone.
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What causes arthritis?
For many forms of arthritis, the cause is unknown. Scientists are studying the role of factors such as genetics, infection, lifestyle, and environment in the various types of arthritis.
Unavoidable risk factors for arthritis are:
- Age: The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age. However, younger people, even children, can have OA.
- Gender: Most types of arthritis are more common in women-- 60% of the people with arthritis are women.
- Genetic predisposition: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Other risk factors are related to lifestyle.
- Overweight and obesity: Excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis.
- Joint injuries: Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.
- Repetitive motion: Occupations and activities (like sports) involving repetitive bending of the joints (bending and squatting.)
Is there a cure or treatment for osteoarthritis?
There is no cure for arthritis, but there are some drugs that can reduce pain and improve function. Your doctor can prescribe them for you.
Treatment includes weight loss for overweight individuals--every pound exerts four pounds of pressure on the knee joints, exercise to improve flexibility, and in severe cases, joint replacement surgery.
An OA management plan also involves eating a nutritious diet, managing stress and depression, and getting a good balance of rest and activity each day.
Are gin-soaked raisins an effective home-remedy for osteoarthritis?
There are many home-remedies for arthritis. Some people swear by a daily dose of cider vinegar or honey. Others feel that wearing a copper or magnetic bracelet brings relief.
One of the most popular home remedies is gin-soaked raisins. Many people with arthritis swear that a daily dose of gin-soaked raisins is effective in relieving the pain associated with arthritis.
References to gin soaked raisins in print go back to at least 1981, but this remedy was likely in use long before that. Interest in this concoction spiked when it was recommend by Doctor Oz, a well –known TV personality, on his show in November 2010. Dr. Oz said, “It works.”
Perhaps, gin-soaked raisins are only an old wives tale. However, it is worth a try since there is little to no downside risk. Most of the alcohol evaporates off so you will not get drunk from gin-soaked raisins. Gin is widely used as a solvent in traditional medicine—it helps extract the active ingredients from herbs, leaves, roots, and barks.
If you wish to try this home remedy, you should consult with your doctor first to make sure that none of the ingredients will adversely interact with any other medications you may be taking or affect any other conditions you may have.
Be sure to use gin with real juniper berries.
Note: Some brands of gin use juniper flavoring added to neutral grain alcohol. You want gin distilled with real juniper berries. The juniper berries are an essential component of the remedy. The People’s Pharmacy recommends Gordon’s London Dry gin as one of the least expensive brands made with real juniper berries.
Why do gin-soaked raisins work?
Gin is used because it is made from juniper berries. These berries have many medicinal properties. The yellow sultana raisins used in the recipe are also known for their medicinal properties.
Why is the gin effective? Gin is flavored with juniper berries. Juniper berries have a long history of medicinal use dating back to the Greeks and Romans, who appeared to use them for medicine long before they were used to flavor food.
Juniper berries contain many natural anti-inflammatory compounds such as catechins, alpha-terpineol, alpha-pinene, betulin caryophyllene, limonene, menthol, rutin, terpinen and delta-3-carene. They also have anti-bacterial properties.
Juniper berries also contain the flavonoid amentoflavone which has antiviral properties.
Why are the raisins effective? Golden raisins, also known as sultana raisins, are made from sultana grapes, which hail from Turkey. These grapes are loaded with beneficial compounds.
Sultanas contain several anti-inflammatory chemicals includinge ascorbic acid, cinnamic acid, and myricetin. They also contain known pain relievers such as ferulic acid, gentisic acid and salicylic acid. In addition, they contain potassium and calcium, both of which help protect against bone demineralization. Plus, sultanas are loaded with antioxidants such as resveratrol and vitamin C.
Moreover, prior to drying the grapes to transform them into raisins, the grapes are treated with sulfur to retard the tendency of the raisins to turn brown. The sulfides that remain on the raisins provide additional anti-inflammatory benefits.
Recipe for Gin-Soaked Raisins
- Golden Sultana raisins
- Good quality gin
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- Place sultana raisins in a shallow bowl. Add enough gin to just barely cover the raisins.
- Allow the raisins to stand uncovered (or lightly covered with a towel to keep the dust out) until the gin has just about completely evaporated. This will take anywhere from 2 days to a week or more depending on environmental conditions.
- When the raisins are ready, transfer them to a jar with a lid or other tightly closed container.
- Refrigeration is not necessary.
- Take 9 raisins daily. Eat them alone or add them to food. However, do not put them into anything that will be cooked.
- You can add them to oatmeal or dry cereal, sprinkle them into a fruit salad, serve over ice cream, add to prepared pudding, etc. Be creative.
These organic sultana raisins are from Turkey. One pound will make a one-month supply of gin-soaked raisins.
Some important facts about cinnamon and honey
Did you know that not all cinnamon is the same? The cinnamon that you buy in the grocery store is probably Cassia (or Saigon) cinnamon. This cinnamon contains coumarin, a chemical associated with health problems (toxic to the liver) that may also be carcinogenic. You want Ceylon cinnamon which is higher quality, has a more delicate flavor, and does not contain coumarin.
Also, when you buy honey, beware of fake honey. Make sure the honey you buy is 100% pure honey, preferably organic honey.
Can I buy gin-soaked raisins ready-made?
Perhaps don’t want to take the time and trouble to make your own gin-soaked raisins? Perhaps you are worried that children or pets (or other friends and family) might get into them while you are waiting for the recipe to be ready for use. Maybe you want to make sure the raisins stay sanitary.
If so, you are in luck. You can buy gin-soaked raisins ready-made. My source is www.DrunkenRaisins.com. No fuss, no muss, and I am sure of the highest quality.
The folks at Drunken Raisin use a better quality sultana raisin than you will find in your supermarket. For one thing, they are super large. Additionally, they add special honey and imported cinnamon for better taste and because these two ingredients also have powerful medicinal properties.
Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It helps control blood sugar and the scent can even help boost brain function. Honey is an antioxidant and has antibacterial properties.
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Some additional food-as-medicine remedies for arthritis pain
For more Information about arthritis
You will find extensive information about arthritis at The Arthritis Foundation
© 2015 Catherine Giordano