Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a fermented product made from crushed and aged apples. The healthiest versions contain “the mother” which is a colony of beneficial bacteria with many health benefits.
ACV is naturally high in phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, calcium and others. It has been rumored to help with weight loss and digestive uses. It was even used in the time of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, as a remedy for many ailments.
If you are going to use ACV for a health remedy, look for organic, unpasteurized vinegars with “the Mother,” which are available at most grocery stores. Bragg’s is one popular brand (I get mine here).
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses & Benefits
There are many health related uses for apple cider vinegar. It has been used as a natural remedy for many things, and while science is yet to prove many of the health claims associated with ACV, it is generally considered harmless to try. If you suffer from any of the health concerns below, consider trying ACV as an inexpensive natural remedy. Of course, with any medical condition, consult your doctor before changing any part of your lifestyle.
1. Reduce Acid Reflux and Heartburn
ACV mimics the acidic environment of the stomach and helps food to break down. Many people report reduced symptoms of reflux or heartburn after using Apple Cider Vinegar, which is logical, since many times these conditions are caused by too little stomach acid, rather than too much. Whenever I’ve had heartburn or reflux, a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in water takes care of it!
2. Fight Candida (yeast) in the Body
If you suffer from yeast overgrowth in the body, and many people do, ACV might help. Some research shows that the acid and enzymes in Apple Cider Vinegar help kill excess yeast in the body. For those with severe yeast problems, the symptoms may get worse initially when they begin taking ACV. This is caused by the die off of the yeast, called a Herxheimer reaction, when the body can’t remove the toxins from the yeast fast enough. It is actually a good sign, though an uncomfortable one. If you suspect you have yeast overgrowth, consider taking 1 tsp- 1 TBSP of ACV in water before each meal or twice a day, preferably on an empty stomach.
3. Relieve Sunburns and Bug Bites
I can vouch for this one personally! If you suffer from a sunburn or insect bite, Apple Cider Vinegar can help alleviate the pain. For sunburns, apply ACV and water (25/75 mix) with a cotton cloth or washcloth directly to the skin to cool and relieve pain. You can also soak in a bath of warm water with 1 cup ACV. For bug bites, apply a 50/50 mixture directly to the bite, or soak the area in vinegar water.
4. Lower Blood Pressure
Some studies suggest that the acetic acid in Apple Cider Vinegar may help power blood pressure. ACV may help increase production of the blood vessel relaxing compound nitric oxide. It may also help inhibit enzymes that cause blood vessels to constrict. One person I know who used this with success took 2-6 TBSP a day in water for several months.
5. Kill Foot or Skin Fungus
Just as ACV can help kill Candida in the body, it is often useful against yeast and fungus on the skin and nails. If you have foot or toe fungus, soak the feet in 1 cup of ACV in water or apply directly to the affected area. For skin fungus or yeast, apply a 25/75 mixture of ACV and water. It will burn but will help clear up even the worst cases of fungus. Especially in children or those with sensitive skin, it is best to dilute the ACV with water before applying to the skin.
6. Natural Skin Toner
When mixed with equal parts of water (and a few drops of essential oil for fragrance) ACV makes an excellent firming toner for the skin. It has also been shown to be effective against acne without drying the skin. To use as a toner, keep the mixture in the fridge, and apply with a cotton ball after showering. The vinegar smell disappears completely when dry. Some people do better with a 24% vinegar/75% water mixture.
If you’d like to take your apple cider toner up a notch, try this DIY recipe.
7. Treat Dandruff
Apple Cider Vinegar can be very effective against dandruff. Mix with equal parts water and apply to scalp with spray bottle or cloth. Leave on for 1-2 hours with a shower cap and rinse. This can be done 1-2 times a week for best results.
Note: Apple Cider Vinegar should not be swallowed undiluted or applied to the skin undiluted, especially in children or those with sensitive skin. Be careful not to get ACV in the eyes. Plain white vinegar and other types of vinegar should not be used for these purposes.
Have you ever used Apple Cider Vinegar as a natural remedy? Tell me about it!