Apple Cider Vinegar, a folk-remedy super star, can quite possibly treat and cure more ailments than any other substance. Vinegar has a very long history, going back to Babylonia in 5,000 BC. It is one of the oldest medicines known to man. Hypocrites treated patients with vinegar dating back to 400BC. Based on the writings of US medical practitioners dating to the late 18th century, many ailments, from dropsy to poison ivy, croup, and stomachache, were treated with vinegar. And, before the production and marketing of hypoglycemic agents, vinegar “teas” were commonly consumed by diabetics to help manage their chronic ailment .
Apple cider vinegar has strong anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. This is a result of the malic and acetic acid in the vinegar. It is the acetic acid that gives apple cider vinegar its characteristic tart taste. It also has the capability to neutralize toxins in the body, binding and subsequently converting the toxins into acetate, which is less harmful than the toxin in its original form.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Vinegar, in general, can be made from almost any fermentable source of carbohydrates. Apple cider vinegar is made from crushed apples that are usually stored in wooden barrels. Liquid is squeezed out of the apples. Bacteria and yeast are then added to the liquid, which begins a fermentation and decomposition process. During this process, the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second round of fermentation, the alcohol is then turned into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria.
To reap all the benefits, you want to use raw, unpasteurized, unheated, organic apple cider vinegar, with the mother in it. The mother is a substance made of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria that develops on the fermenting alcoholic liquids. It turns alcohol into acetic acid, as it is exposed to oxygen. The mother is harmless.
In the United States, vinegar products must contain a minimum of 4% acidity . White distilled vinegars are generally 4% to 7% acetic acid, whereas cider and wine vinegars are 5% to 6% acetic acid . There may also be variations while using the same kinds of vinegar, but switching brands.
As a drink, consider starting at a dose of 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of water, or even less. For serious conditions, the recommended dose is 2 tablespoons in 8 ounces of water. Although many “old timers” drink it without dilution, or “straight” – do so at your own risk. Right out of the bottle, it is very acidic. This acidity could damage the enamel on your teeth, or the lining in your throat. If you choose no dilution, drinking it through a straw saves your teeth from some exposure. However, be prepared for the possible heartburn.
I once recommended apple cider vinegar to a co-worker with digestive problems. I clearly explained that she should add water, but she forgot this information. The next day, she came into work angry, because she had been up all night with heartburn.
If you struggle with the taste, even mixed in water, you could also try mixing it with juice or tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
Apple Cider Vinegar is an acid, and should be used with care. It can erode tooth enamel. Consider using a straw when drinking it. Also, after drinking apple cider vinegar – don’t brush your teeth immediately. Swish with water to remove it, and then brush a half-hour later.
If not diluted, it can also greatly reduce the protective mucous lining in your throat and can burn your esophagus. In these cases, the simple solution would be adding it to water before drinking it.
Also, since your body must neutralize the acidity before putting Apple Cider Vinegar to use – it can cause you to become more acidic if you don’t have the appropriate buffers readily available. Some people add baking soda to the apple cider vinegar, before adding water. This raises the pH level and makes it less harmful to tooth enamel and makes neutralizing it with bicarbonates unnecessary. However, there can be side effects when ingesting baking soda regularly. Some have had success doing so, and some have not.
Prolonged use of apple cider vinegar may also be associated with low potassium levels. This is quite interesting, because Apple Cider Vinegar is generally highest in potassium. Also, because of its ability to bind and neutralize toxins, it could interfere with the bioavailability of medicines. If you cannot, under any circumstances, tolerate the taste –then you could consider using pills. However, be aware that they are concentrated – meaning you should drink a lot of water when using pills- and also may have fillers added. It is also hard to gage how much ACV is actually in the pills. If a pill containing pure apple cider vinegar gets lodged in your throat, it could cause burns.
A solution to the questionable concentration of ACV in pills is to make your own. You can do this by purchasing empty gelatin capsules and adding Drinking it in the raw form is preferable.
As with any other substance, it is possible to have an allergy to ACV or apples, or an enzyme deficiency that makes it hard for you to digest it. It is prudent to start at low doses, and build your way up. Some users report hives, trouble breathing, or a worsening of symptoms.
1 Johnston C, Gaas C. Vinegar: Medincial Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. Medscape General Medicine. 2006: 8(2): 61.