105-Year-Old Recovered From Covid-19, Her Tip? Eating Gin-Soaked Raisins


How do you survive Covid-19? How about getting vaccinated against Covid-19? Yeah, that could make a big difference. How about pursuing a healthy lifestyle such as avoiding junk food? Sure, that may help, since chronic medical conditions may put you at higher risk for worse Covid-19. How about eating nine gin-soaked raisins every day then? Umm, that’s a new one.

Tracey Tully recently relayed for the New York Times the story of Lucia DeClerck, a 105-year-old New Jersey woman who had found out on January 25 that she had tested positive for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). This was just a day after getting the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, which meant that she had probably been infected sometime prior to this second dose. Despite those over 80 years of age being at substantially higher risk of death (8.29% based on a study published in Nature) when they are infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus, fortunately DeClerck got through the infection with only mild symptoms.

January 25 was also her 105th birthday. Thus, she has been through a whole lot in her life ranging from the 1918 influenza pandemic to The Great Depression to World War II to Justin Timberlake leaving *NSYNC and now to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. So what’s been her secret? Well, she credited her longevity to prayer, taking things one step at a time, avoiding junk food, and, let’s see, what else? Oh, eating each day nine raisins that have been soaking in gin for nine days, as the following tweet from The New York Times indicated:

There’s a good chance that the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine helped protect her against having a worse case of Covid-19. According to a publication in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Phase 3 clinical trial has so far measured the efficacy of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine between the first and second doses to be 52% with protection beginning as soon as 12 days after the first dose. As a resident of a South jersey nursing home, DeClerck falls into the top priority group (Phase 1a) for the Covid-19 vaccine, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

By contrast, the CDC does not mention gin-soaked raisins as a way of preventing or treating Covid-19. In fact, searching for the term “gin-soaked raisins” in PubMed returns the following message: The following term was not found in PubMed: gin-soaked. That suggests that no real placebo-controlled randomized controlled trials (RCT) have been used to evaluate the possible health effects of gin-soaked raisins. The same probably applies to “gin-soaked tuxedo” or a “gin-soaked bar room queen in Memphis.”

Nevertheless, there are claims on the Internet and in books like “The People’s Pharmacy Guide to Home and Herbal Remedies by Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon that gin-soaked raisins can help ease joint pain in those suffering from arthritis. Interestingly, some recommendations out there specify eating nine gin-soaked raisins each day. Not eight. Not ten. Not 9.5. But nine. That’s oddly specific. It’s not clear what’s so special about the number nine, except when it comes before the words “inch nails.” Could it just be an arbitrarily chosen low number so that the alcohol content isn’t high enough to cause major problems compared to say 1,417,837 gin-soaked raisins a day. Note, do not try to eat 1,417,837 raisins a day, even without the gin and even with the toilet nearby.

One theory is that sulfur from the sulfur dioxide utilized in making golden raisins can relieve arthritis pain. Another theory is that the juniper berries used in gin have anti-inflammatory properties. But a search for real scientific evidence to support the use of gin-soaked raisins only ends up “raisin” more questions. So it’s unclear whether gin-soaked raisins actually have any real effect beyond possibly a placebo effect and tasting like candy.

Moreover, just because DeClerck happened to eat nine gin-soaked raisins a day doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the reason for her longevity. That could be crediting something that may have been coincidental, sort of like crediting the Jersey Shore reality show for bringing the U.S. out of the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Sounds like DeClerck is made out of some tough stuff, lived a fairly healthy lifestyle, and may have gotten an assist from the Covid-19 vaccine.



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