Thursday, March 27, 2008

Do Gin-Soaked White Raisins Really Work?

Radio news commentator Paul Harvey is said to have recommended gin-soaked white raisins to relieve joint pain. Mr. Harvey is said to have recommended taking seven gin-soaked raisins at one time.

Some kinds of pain that have claimed to have been relieved or eliminated after taking the gin-soaked raisins include migraine headaches, gout and arthritic pain in joints.

If it works, the raisins probably do more good than the gin. Grapes and raisins contain many pain relieving, anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Looking over the long list of compounds that occur naturally in grapes, I see such pain relievers as ferulic acid, gentisic acid, kaempferol-glucosides and aspirin-like salicylic acid.

Grapes and raisins also contain several anti-inflammatory compounds: ascorbic acid, cinnamic acid, coumarin, myricetin, quercetin and quercitrin.

And in 1997, there was a flurry of interest in resveratrol, yet another anti-inflammatory compound of which grapes are the best source. Ounce for ounce, raisins contain more of all of these compounds than grapes because they contain less water.

All of these pain relievers occur at low levels in raisins, so how would a mere seven gin-soaked raisins (that Paul Harvey touted) contain significant doses.

The user may have benefited from a placebo effect: Believing enough in a remedy really can help it work. But a large quantity of raisins might well provide significant pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory benefits.

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