Apple cider vinegar, a common item in the pantry, has been in use since the ancient times not only in cooking but also in various other areas. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, was the first one to realize the potency of apple cider vinegar in medicine, beyond its uses in the kitchen. He announced the vinegar to be an active healing agent. To made a medicinal concoction of apple cider vinegar and honey which he found to improve the overall health of his patients.
How is Apple Cider Vinegar Made?
Apple cider vinegar is made from apple juice through the process of fermentation. For the purpose, apple juice is first aged and then fermented. The method uses the natural breakdown process where the natural sugars contained in the fruit are converted into alcohol. The initial phase of fermentation produces hard apple cider. When this cider is left undisturbed, it undergoes through the second phase of fermentation. The second fermentation causes the microorganisms to convert and trigger the breakdown of alcohol. The alcohol forms acid, and this resulting liquid is called apple cider vinegar. The best part is that the acids and the enzymes which are created during the process of fermentation fortify the original nutrient value of the fruit. And, this what makes the vinegar more unique regarding its value in medicine and general health.
Types of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is of different kinds, and much of these differences are owed to the process on how is it processed.
Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
When an apple is crushed along with its skin, stem, and seeds, what forms are known as apple must. The must is then converted into vinegar. The must undergo oxygenation and fermentation which breaks down the sugar in the apples and alcohol is formed. The alcohol, in turn, undergoes oxygenation and the second stage of fermentation to convert into an acetic acid. It is this acetic acid which makes apples cider vinegar a priced substance in the world of natural medicine. This correctly processed cider vinegar is called the “mother” of vinegar.
The “Mother” is in its most natural form as has a particularly rich amber color with a cloudy appearance. The mother of vinegar is believed to contain all the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that are so popularly associated with the apple cider vinegar. However, while people are advocating the goodness of an organic, pure apple cider vinegar, there is much debate with regards to the fact that since the vinegar remains unpasteurized, it could contain bacteria as it lacks any pasteurization or distillation.
Non-organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Non-organic apple cider vinegar is the type which has been pasteurized. It does not have the characteristic cloudiness of raw apple cider vinegar and is brightly colored in appearance. One of the drawbacks of pasteurization of apple cider vinegar is that it destroys the health benefits of the vinegar as it loses its enzymes. Besides, it is also believed that the pasteurized version is not well tolerated by the body. Furthermore, the process of pasteurization causes the non-organic ACV to lose the “mother of vinegar.”
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw vinegar is not to be confused with organic vinegar. Organic vinegar is usually raw, but a raw ACV is not necessarily organic. Raw apple cider vinegar is only different from regular ACV in the fact that it has not been subjected to any filtration or chemical process, which gives ACV its characteristic crystal clear red color. The raw version does not even contain any artificial chemicals or flavoring agents which are otherwise used for making the sharp acidic taste of ACV more palatable. This way raw ACV reserves its natural macro and micro-nutrients.
Apple Cider Vinegar in Other Forms
Apple cider vinegar is now also being sold in the form of pills, tablets, and capsules. Some people do not like the taste of the pungent liquid and at the same time wish to reap its benefits. While this is a good alternative to draw nutrition from an otherwise disagreeable drink, it is not much recommended as of yet in the case of apple cider vinegar. This is because; in the process of conversion of liquid vinegar into a tablet or a pill much of its nutrient value is diminished. Moreover, recently the Department of Human Environmental Science (Human Nutrition) at the University of Arkansas analyzed several apple cider vinegar tablets and many were found to be inaccurately labeled which also makes one question about the quality of these products.
Which is the Best Apple Cider Vinegar?
Organic apple cider vinegar is the thought to be the best type both for its use in food as well as in health. Organic apple cider vinegar is produced from whole organically grown apples. The vinegar too remains unfiltered and is not pasteurized thus, helping it maintain its purity. Organic apple cider vinegar has 5 percent of acid. You can find it in most health food stores, organic food stores and also, in specialty products shelves in the big grocery chains.
How to Buy Best Quality Apple Cider Vinegar?
As mentioned before, Apple Cider Vinegar doesn’t exist in a unique form, and each variety is of different grade. There is one variety which is raw, organic and unfiltered. Then, there is pasteurized and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Furthermore, there is an apple cider vinegar which is processed, heated and non-organic. It is not recommended to buy the kind of ACV which appears to be a brightly colored, clear liquid.
The ACV that sits on the shelves of the supermarkets is a sparkling liquid which appears crystal clear since it is highly refined. Often, the ones sold in the supermarkets are also processed and artificially flavored. They could also possibly be overheated and pasteurized. These ACVs are stripped off their nutritional benefits and are not recommended for buying.
On the other hand, also do not buy Apple Cider Vinegar that is sold in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are toxic and do more harm than good when liquids are contained in them. Go for Apple Cider Vinegar sold in glass containers instead and also, look for a clear label that certifies the product to be organic. The organic apple cider vinegar with its “mother enzyme” goes a long way in detoxifying the body. It is not only in its purest form but also devoid of any artificial flavors as it is unfiltered, unheated and unpasteurized.
Uses and Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar finds its use not only in the kitchen in various recipes but also in the home, in areas of cleaning, in health, in beauty as well as for addressing several health issues in pets. Apple cider vinegar has compounds that bind with enzymes to easily metabolize fats and carbohydrates, an important reason why it is so popular for weight loss. Plus, the vinegar is loaded with antibacterial and antifungal properties and happens to be an immune-stimulant too. This helps in boosting skin health as well as promotes digestion.
This vinegar is touted to be effective in a wide range of health disorders like heartburn, acid reflux, vomiting, shingles, diarrhea, food poisoning, bladder infections, nail fungus, high blood pressure, varicose veins, eczema, constipation, diabetes, allergies, sore throat, PMS, fever, flu, cold, sprains, arthritis and more. The uses and benefits of ACV are in fact too many to count. So, let’s have a look at some of the more popular use of this wonder ingredient.
For Eye Issues
Apple cider vinegar finds use in the treatment of eye problems as well. Conjunctivitis or pink eye and Pterygium or surfer’s eye find effective healing with ACV. Take a teaspoon of the vinegar and mix it with a cup of distilled water. Use this solution as an eye drop twice to thrice a day until the condition is healed.
For Ear Problems
You can even treat ear aches with apple cider vinegar. However, refrain from this natural remedy if your eardrum has ruptured. Dilute the vinegar to 50 percent by mixing it with distilled water. Use this solution twice to thrice every day for faster recovery. For fungal issues in the ear like the swimmer’s ear, you can use a part of apple cider vinegar mixed with a part of rubbing alcohol. Apply this mixture on the ear to kill the fungus and get relief from the infection.
For Skin Problems
Apple cider vinegar is enriched with many benefits and finds many topical applications in medicine. It is used diluted or undiluted as per the needs. It is usually recommended to be used diluted for use on sensitive skin. Undiluted apple cider vinegar is used for naturally treating toenail fungus, bug bites and sprains. For people with sensitive skin or for children’s skin, 1 part of apple cider vinegar can be diluted with 1 part of water for healing these conditions. Apple Cider Vinegar is also greatly useful in treating skin issues such as acne, perioral dermatitis, eczema, and molluscum contagiosum. In treating these conditions, however, the vinegar must be diluted to at least 50 percent. On the other hand for sensitive skin, a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar can be mixed in a cup of water for the same useful results although the healing may take a bit longer.
As a Body Detoxifier
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar goes a long way in detoxing the body, being a natural lymphatic and liver tonic. It balances the body’s pH and stimulates the cardiovascular system. It also boosts bowel movement and accelerates lymphatic drainage.
For Weight Loss
Raw, organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a great option for weight loss and increasing overall health in the process. Looking forward to a promising weight loss, you can follow the probiotic apple cider vinegar diet which helps shed weight gradually. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of the vinegar mixed with 8 ounces of water thrice before your meal times every day. The pectin contained in the raw, organic and unfiltered ACV gives you a feeling of fullness and curbs hunger. In fact, taking the vinegar is even more recommended than eating apples because the acids contained in ACV boosts the digestion of protein, which increases the synthesis of the growth hormone which is instrumental in the breakdown of fat cells. ACV also enhances the absorption of iron, a nutrient which fuels the body by carrying oxygen to the cells and offering all the support during weight loss. It also replenishes the body’s sodium balance with the required amount of potassium.
For Sinus Conditions
Apple cider vinegar is also a useful remedy in the treatment of congestion and sinus infections. You can add it to the distilled water to dilute it before using. Take a Neti pot and fill it with a mixture of half a teaspoon of vinegar in 6 ounces of water. Now, use it to clean out the blocked nasal passages. Alternately, you mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a cup or two of water; drape a towel overhead to make a tent and lean over to breathe in the steam of this mixture.
For Hair Problems
Apple cider vinegar comes to your rescue if your hair becomes infected with lice. Make a solution of a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water and apply this mixture on your hair. Leave it on for a few hours to until it dries out. Rinse afterward. This will kill all the lice in the hair. The same solution can also be used to treat dandruff ridden scalp. The acid of ACV has antifungal properties. You can also use this solution as an after-shampoo rinse for your hair. Use this as a conditioner to clean off the build-up of synthetic minerals and chemicals of hair products. It also leaves your hair soft and shiny and much more manageable.
For Healing Pet Issues
Good news for pet owners! Apple cider vinegar doesn’t limit its goodness to humans but also extends its healing properties to the animals. Apple cider vinegar is often prescribed as a homemade remedy for bladder infections and stones in pets. It can cure health issues like certain dermatological problems, parasites and also fleas. Organic, raw, unfiltered vinegar is an excellent itch-reliever, soothing the rashes triggered by poison ivy and yeast.
Make a 50 percent diluted solution of ACV in water and spray it on your dog’s itchy spots (taking care not to spray on open wounds). However, if applying topically is challenging, and the infection is yeast related, you can consider mixing some vinegar in your pet’s food or water, feeding 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon twice every day. You can also use diluted ACV solution to clean your pet’s itchy, infected ears. Use this solution on your pet’s skin before taking him out to prevent as well as treat ticks and fleas.
You can also give your beloved pet an indulgent aromatherapy treatment with this wonder ingredient. Brew a half a cup of green tea and cool it. Mix in it half a cup of apple cider vinegar and a cup of distilled water. This makes you the perfect body rinse to restore the pH of your pet’s skin, sooth rashes, and itchiness and prevent fleas, gnats, and flies. After giving your pet a bath, massage on this liquid on your pet’s skin. Rinse it well and then pat dry. If your pet has bugs, you can allow the mix to air-dry.
Uses in Home
Make a 1:1 solution of apple cider vinegar and water to clean your house and make it bacteria-free. You can use the same solution to clean microwaves, stove tops, kitchen countertops, and dishwasher. A cup of ACV can utilize in the washing machine as a laundry cleaner for each load to make clothes odor and germ-free. In the garden, apple cider vinegar eradicates unwanted weed growth. Mix 10 ounces of vinegar and 10 gallons of water to make the best homemade fertilizer for your soil.
Not One Size Fits All
Even though the benefits and uses of apple cider vinegar are countless and unparalleled to certain medicinal remedies, it is not suitable or adequate for everyone. While most of us can benefit greatly from its use, there are some who also experience side-effects on using it. Thus, for this reason, apple cider vinegar should be utilized with caution, beginning only with a little at a time and increasing gradually as and how needed.
Apple Cider Vinegar Trivia
- Apple cider vinegar is a healthy and a delicious dressing for vegetable salads and is taste enhancer in poultry and seafood recipes. The vinegar itself is a great base for making vinegar infusions with different spices, fruits, and herbs.
- The various benefits of apple cider vinegar had become well-established by as early as 400 BC when Hippocrates used it for medicinal purposes.
- Around 36 pieces of apple are needed to make a gallon of apple cider.
- The apple cider vinegar which has at least 5 percent acidity lasts on the shelf for five years and doesn’t need to be stored in the refrigerator.
- November 18th was observed as the National Apple Cider Day as on the same day back in 1307; the legendary William Tell shot an apple placed on his son’s head.
- It was in the 19th Century that the apple cider vinegar was first advertised as a cure for gout and other illnesses.
- Back in the 14th Century children would be baptized in cider. This is because apple cider is purer than even the water.