Apple cider vinegar is in almost every homestead and herbalist’s kitchen for many reasons.
It’s what you might call a Jack of all Trades, from cooking to preserving to health and skin/hair care, it’s quite literally useful in every aspect of a household.
What is Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples. Acetic acid, created from the fermentation process, is where the benefits we’ve all heard about come from.
And apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties too.
Now that you know what it is, let me tell you what it can do.
In ancient times apple cider vinegar was used to clean wounds. In more recent times, studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can increase the feeling of fullness which can lead to eating less calories. Thus it’s been claimed to help with weight loss.
There’s also been studies done on its effects on blood glucose levels. They’ve found that taking 20 gms of apple cider vinegar after eating a meal can reduce blood glucose levels.
In unfiltered apple cider vinegar you find something called the Mother. It’s the cloudy stuff at the bottom of the bottle. This is actually strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria. This acts as a probiotic which helps strengthen your immune system and your gut health.
Due to apple cider vinegar’s slight acidic level (approximately 5%) using it topically, in a diluted solution, on the skin can rebalance the natural pH of the skin improving the natural protective barrier. Historically it was used for dry skin and eczema.
Here’s a few recipes I ran across on the Braggs website. They are the most popular organic apple cider vinegar you’ll find on most grocery shelves today. If you’re going to use anything on your face, if you can, make it organic.
Dilute ACV with water based on your skin type. This is a vinegar:water mixture.
- For sensitive skin 1:4
- For dry skin 1:3
- For normal skin 1:2
- For oily skin 1:1
Apply with a cotton ball or pad and follow up with your favorite moisturizer.
This toner not only acts as an exfoliant by removing dead skin cells it balances the pH levels of your skin as well as preventing bacterial growth.
Mix together 1 tablespoon of ACV and 1 tablespoon of facial clay.
Spread thinly over our face & let sit for 10-20 min or until dry, then rinse with a warm washcloth.
This mask helps balance the pH level of your skin, makes you pores small & has antibacterial properties.
By the same token apple cider vinegar can balance the pH levels of your scalp and hair. Most shampoos tend to be alkaline which can cause dryness & frizziness and make your hair prone to break. Apple cider vinegar lowers the pH level, smoothing the hair follicles which can make your hair softer and smoother. And its antimicrobial properties can help fight scalp issues.
As a hair rinse, use only a few tablespoons in a quart of water a few times a week. Pour over your hair and massage it in a few minutes, then rinse.
Because of its antimicrobial properties it can be good for fighting fungus and bacterial issues of the feet, those things that can cause athlete’s feet and foot odor. Here’s a recipe for a foot soak I found on the Braggs website as well.
- ⅓ cup of ACV
- 2 Cups hot water
- ⅓ cup of Epsom salt
Not only can this foot soak help balance the pH levels of the skin, but because of the added epsom salt it can help soften the skin as well.
Apple cider vinegar also has a nice tangy flavor that is great in foods. We use it for pickling for its flavor and because of its food preservation properties. I use it in the crockpot with meats to help break down the fibers, creating a more tender meat. This is a great way to save money. You can buy a cheaper cut of meat, add a tablespoon or 2 to the crock pot or InstantPot along with your other herbs and spices and cook as usual.
Apple cider vinegar inhibits bacterial growth including things like E Coli. With all the recalls of salad greens over the last several years, using a vinaigrette dressing is not only tasty but a great idea.
Use a vinaigrette dressing to marinade your meat before grilling. Put your meat cuts into a gallon freezer baggie. Use chicken, beef or pork. Pour a 1/2 to 1 cup of dressing, plus anything else you might like into the bag. When you seal the bag squeeze out as much air as you can and massage the meat around in the bag. Every 20 min or so turn the bag over to ensure all parts of the meat are evenly covered. Do this until the meat comes to at least room temperature. Then grill as usual.
You can add it to teas for its flavor or for its benefits, depending on your tastes. As a kid mom gave me a drink made with vinegar, honey and warm water when I couldn’t sleep or when didn’t feel well. To me it tasted like warm cider and I liked it.
A doctor had told her years before this was used as a kind of sedative to help you sleep.
I don’t have a name for it, but to make it, heat 1 cup of water and add 3 teaspoons of ACV and 3 teaspoons of honey. Then sip slowly.
To this day, if I want to make sure I sleep well or if I’m not feeling well and can’t sleep, I’ll mix this up and drink it just before bed. It still works every time.
Some things to be cautious about
With all of its benefits there are some things you need to be aware of. First and foremost remember that apple cider vinegar is acidic. That means you’ll want to use small amounts and dilute it. A little can go a long way.
The acidity can erode the enamel on your teeth if you use too much. This erosion was found in a study with folks who were using 2 tablespoons in a cup of water twice a day for weight loss. That’s something to keep in mind. Sometimes more is NOT better.
Apple cider vinegar can lower potassium levels. So if you have issues with low potassium, you may want to limit your use to culinary amounts.
It can also interact with prescription drugs. So if you are taking prescription drugs you may want to check with your doctor if you plan on using apple cider vinegar in more than culinary amounts.
The studies that show medicinal benefits all stressed that the folks in the studies were also following healthy diets and exercise. Apple cider vinegar alone will not cure any of what ails you. It’s something you use in addition to other healthy protocols.
Now you know the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Well, there you have it. The lowdown on the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. Imagine something that tastes good, being good for you at the same time.
Do you use apple cider vinegar? If so, how do you use it? I’d love to hear how you put apple cider vinegar to use in your home.