Apple Cider Vinegar is one of nature’s most perfect creations (plus a little involvement from people!). I have been amazed at how many times it has helped me to heal from sicknesses, helped my digestion, even improved my eczema and skin.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well it certainly does, especially in the form of vinegar! I knew when the nice UPS man delivered a heavy box to my front door two years ago containing Bragg’s Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (where to buy) that it was something special, but I didn’t know quite how it much it was going to help my family. It is quite a bit more expensive to get the raw, undistilled, organic kind, containing brown cob-web like substances, or the “mother” as it’s called, but it’s worth it. I’ve been using it for everything from a conditioner on my hair, to help with eczema and to kick colds before they even start.
I have now been using ACV for two years and am excited to share with you all of its wonders!
So, what exactly is Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)?
According to WebMD, vinegar is the “product of fermentation…in which sugars in a food are broken down into bacteria and yeast” and ACV comes from pulverized apples.
The Health Benefits of ACV (proven in medical research)
You can find claims all over the internet of people saying ACV can kill head lice, remove warts, cure cancer, lower cholesterol, increase energy and lots lots more. According to WebMD, it does have several benefits that are proven by scientific evidence and they are:
- Diabetes – ACV helps to lower glucose levels (2 tbs. a day)
- High Cholesterol – in a study done with rats, it did lower cholesterol. This has not been proven in people yet.
- Blood Pressure – in another study done with rats, it lowered blood pressure. Other studies found that people who ate consumed salad dressing containing ACV five times a week or more had lower risk of heart disease.
- Cancer – some lab studies have shown that ACV can slow the growth of cancer cells.
- Weight Loss – apparently, ACV has been used as a weight loss agent for thousands of years! Recent studies help prove this theory, but aren’t conclusive.
The Health Benefits (not proven in medical research, but claimed by many)
I used to put little stock in natural remedies, thinking medical science was way more advanced than the old-fashioned stuff. Good old-fashioned remedies that have been used for thousands of years should also be respected and considered. So, here are some claims of others – click here to see a complete list. (These are just a few of the claims – the list on the site is really long!)
- Can reduce acne and dry out blemishes
- Helps to lessen arthritis
- Relief from mild asthma
- Cure athlete’s foot
- Lower blood pressure
- Helps fight osteoporosis
- Heal sunburns & other skin burns more quickly
- Help prevent cancer with powerful antioxidants
- Lower cholesterol
- Shorten cold duration by making the balancing the body’s acid levels
- Reduce constipation
- Heal diaper rash
- Cure dandruff
- Control blood glucose levels and help with diabetes
- Heal ear infections
- Help heal eczema
- Flush out gallstones
- Get rid of a headache
- Aid in weight loss
- Relieve itching & swelling due to poison ivy and poison oak
- Relieve occasional heartburn
How to Use ACV
ACV is highly acidic (containing acetic acid), so it must be used with caution, even though it is highly beneficial for us. My mom recently told me that she read ACV is a natural way to treat constipation, so she tried it straight up, just drinking it out of a teaspoon. She told me she was immediately coughing and had trouble breathing from the acidic gases! It really irritated her mouth and throat as well, so she learned that it MUST be diluted with water before ingesting.
To use it, dilute 2-3 teaspoons to a tablespoon of ACV in 8 ounces of water and drink, and rinse your mouth out afterwards to protect your teeth from enamel erosion from the vinegar. For a long time, I had to add honey to mine to make it palatable, but for the past 6 months or so, I’ve been able to drink it without sweetener because I’m so used to the taste. The Bragg’s ACV bottle suggests adding sugar, honey or molasses to make it tasty and to drink it up to three times a day to increase energy, alertness and treat ailments.
More info on ACV: http://bragg.com/books/acv_excerpt.html – The Bragg website is FULL of information on health and how ACV can help.
Here’s How I Use It
In my no-poo post, I explain how I use diluted apple cider vinegar as a very effective conditioner for my hair. I’ve been doing this for well over a year with great results! I also use baking soda as my shampoo (the no poo method), which is explained in detail in the same post.
Skin Itch Relief
I also use it on the whole family when we get bug bites and poison ivy, and wrote about it here. I’ve found it’s really effective on mosquito bites, but it can sting a little.
Daily Health Tonic
Since I switched our family over to real food, I have been doing things daily to detox, as it has helped my eczema immensely. ACV is one of those things – every night I drink 1 tablespoon of it diluted in water.
Drink at the First Sign of Any Sickness – Colds, Viruses, Even Bladder Infections
As soon as I feel a cold coming on (which isn’t often now that I’m loaded up on probiotics, cod liver fish oil, vitamin D and eat real food!), I drink the tonic I mentioned above 2 or 3 times that day and the next, and it knocks it out EVERY time. I’m not exaggerating, EVERY TIME! It’s amazing, ya’ll!
A few months ago I could tell I was getting a bladder infection. I was feeling achy, tired, having cramps, and my urine was dark red (sorry for the TMI!). I drank 2 tonic drinks before bedtime and when I woke up the next morning, my urine was normal! Then, later that morning, it started changing color again, so I did the same tonic again. It cleared up and stayed clear after that. Wowee. I felt another one coming on a few weeks later and did the the same regimen and knock it out again. Bam. Like Super Woman.
To Help With Eczema
My nightly tonic helps with my eczema (read here about all the other things I do to cope with eczema). I will get an outbreak on my hands (it used to break out all over my body before I switch to the GAPS/Paleo diet) when I’ve eaten grains, dairy or sugar (either because I’ve cheated or accidentally gotten it). So, then I bump it up and take several drinks that day and it really helps to calm it down, along with oil pulling.
I Also Give It to My Kids!
Yes, my kids will drink it! I dilute it in apple juice and they don’t even notice! I give it to them when they have colds or any kind of sickness coming on. It doesn’t knock their sickness out quite as fast as it does mine – I’m guessing because their immune systems aren’t as strong, but I really don’t know. However, they still get better more quickly than doing nothing (which is all the pediatrician will advise you to do!).
To Soak My Grains
This is a foreign concept to most of us, but I soak my grains to break down the hard to digest enzymes and phytic acid. It makes them much easier to digest – it’s how our ancestors prepared grains before the mass industrialization of food in the 1950’s and I think they were very wise to do so. Read all about that here.
Top image courtesy of Naito8 of Free Digital Downloads.
Another way I keep my family healthy is with an all real food diet, and essential oils. We haven’t had to go to the doctor since incorporating all of these methods!