Arthritis and Gin
Almost everyone gets some degree of arthritis with aging. People with disabilities often get it earlier because the joints in non-paralyzed parts of the body are carrying the load that should be shared by the whole body. Lack of exercise and stretching, as well as genetics and poor diet, also set us up for early onset.

There are several well-advertised prescription meds for arthritis that work for many. But for those wanting to avoid the cost and side effects, there are several inexpensive natural and/or alternative remedies worth trying.

My favorite, which I found on, always makes people snicker --- until they try it: gin and raisins. The well-known recipe is fun, cheap, tasty and really works, but you need to follow the recipe.

Empty a box of golden raisins (not dark ones) into a glass jar (not plastic or crystal.) Pour gin over the raisins until just covered. Stir every day or two. Leave jar uncovered for 10 days until gin evaporates. Eat nine raisins a day for relief. The original directions say "just nine, no more, no less," although I don't know why a few more would matter. One mixture lasts several months and keeps me pain-free.

For years I kept my arthritis under control with apple cider vinegar, not white vinegar. I poured a blip-blip into every glass of water I drank. After a short adjustment, regular water tasted boring. Apple cider vinegar with "the mother" (cloudiness) is more potent than regular. Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with the mother has been the subject of many studies, which show just one or two tablespoons a day may help regulate insulin levels, control hunger, alkalize the body and provide many other health benefits. Braggs or other brands can be found in many grocery or health food stores.

Additionally, many combinations of glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) are available over-the-counter. MSM is a necessary building block for proteins, especially those found in the hair, muscles and connective tissue of the joints and skin. MSM proponents claim it lubricates joints and reduces pain. Judging by the high volumes sold daily, apparently millions of people agree.

MSM has been the subject of many clinical studies, most notably by Dr. Stanley Jacobs of Oregon Health Sciences University, who treated over 18,000 people with it. He concluded that it functions as an analgesic, relieving pain, reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow. Dr. Jacobs also claims that topical applications of MSM help stop muscle spasms and have been verified by electromyography readings of spastic muscles before and after application. MSM is recommended by mainstream publications such as "Arthritis Today."

Since arthritis, like other inflammatory diseases, is thought by many to be an acidic condition, you may be able to strike at the root of it by alkalizing your body through changing your diet. Cutting back on acidic foods such as beef, pork and shellfish in favor of venison and coldwater fish is a beginning. Eating more fruits and vegetables like asparagus, onions, garlic, raw spinach and broccoli is essential, although a few vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, beans (pinto, navy, lima and soy) are in the high acid category. Coffee, beer and soft drinks are also aggravating to arthritis. Details can be found in several books, including The Arthritis Cure by Theodosakis, Adderly and Fox.

--- Sharon Gardner
New Mobility Magazine
June 2011
(Sharon Gardner has been spinal cord injured for over 50 years,
and is a frequently published writer on
disability and health issues.
She is pictured above
with husband Charles.)

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