While celebrating her 105th birthday this year, New Jersey nursing home resident Lucia DeClerck received the one the gift no one wants: a positive Covid-19 test. Thankfully, she was able to recover quickly without any severe symptoms — and credits a daily regimen of gin-soaked raisins for helping her bounce back.
DeClerk has started her mornings with the boozy dried grapes for most of her life, she told the New York Times, “Fill a jar [with gin],” she explained. “[Then eat] nine raisins a day after it sits for nine days.”
If you think it sounds odd, you’re not alone. Her granddaughter, Shawn Laws O’Neil, told NYT, “We would just think, ‘Grandma, what are you doing? You’re crazy!’ Now the laugh is on us. She has beaten everything that’s come her way.”
The family was understandably concerned after the diagnosis, but DeClerck’s symptoms stayed mild and she was able to make a full recovery within two weeks. She also shared a few more tips for living a long, healthy life: “Prayer. Prayer. Prayer. One step at a time. No junk food.” Plus, the centenarian managed to avoid cavities until age 99 by brushing her teeth with baking soda and enjoys drinking immune-boosting aloe juice “straight from the container.”
O’Neil says that’s all added up to her grandma being the “epitome of perseverance.” She added, “Her mind is so sharp. She will remember things [from] when I was a kid that I don’t even remember.”
Gin-soaked raisins are a home remedy typically used to help soothe arthritis pain. There may not be much actual scientific research into how it works, but tons of people like DeClerck swear by it. The most popular method specifies using golden raisins and following her technique of eating nine each day.
Even Dr. Oz claims it can work wonders and cites the anti-inflammatory properties of juniper berries (which are used to make gin). He adds that raisins contain natural pain relievers, too, like ferulic acid, gentisic acid, and salicylic acid.
DeClerck also happened to receive her second dose of the Covid vaccine the day before she tested positive, which was probably the bigger factor in her speedy recovery. Like any other vaccination, it doesn’t offer immediate protection but (as this case shows) can still minimize the severity of symptoms.
That said, we would certainly never argue with Ms. DeClerck’s tips — and we’re absolutely considering picking up some golden raisins and gin on our next errand run!