Vinegar: Overview

Vinegar is perhaps one of the most trusted and yet misunderstood remedies of all time.  Vinegar has health benefits, it's a neutralizer, a cleaner, and a medicine, among other things.  It is used in many different ways by many different people.

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Although other types of vinegar – such as white vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar and rice wine vinegar – are used mainly in cooking, apple cider vinegar is often used for health reasons.

History; Source

Hippocrates was said to have used apple cider vinegar as a health tonic and American soldiers used it to combat indigestion, pneumonia and scurvy.

(Apple) cider vinegar is produced when bacteria naturally present in the air converts the small amount of alcohol in apple juice to acetic acid, which gives vinegar its tangy taste.  All types of natural vinegar are made this way, but cider vinegar is preferred for medicinal uses because it is less acidic than wine vinegar so is easier to digest.

Unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is sold in health food stores, online, and in some grocery stores.

Function; Why it is Recommended

Apple cider vinegar breaks down the body's fatty, mucous and phlegm therefore improving the health and function of your liver, bladder, and kidneys.  It also helps thin the blood, which prevents high blood pressure.  It promotes digestion, the assimilation and the elimination processes.  Cider vinegar is a germicide and thus be able to help fight infection and inflammation when administered internally or externally.  It helps prevent blood clots and stimulates the excretory organs.

Cider vinegar is high in potassium, which is needed for the proper functioning of the heart and muscles, and in pectin (a type of fiber).  Cider vinegar contains many key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes, as well as valuable fruit acids.  Its unique properties make cider vinegar superior to other kinds of vinegar.

Cider vinegar contains many other nutrients, such as beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium, riboflavin and thiamin; vitamins B6, C and E; and fruit acids and pectin.  Of these, beta-carotene, potassium and pectin are especially important for the heart, skin and digestion.

The vitamin C and beta-carotene in cider vinegar destroy free radicals that weaken the immune system and increase the risk of various diseases.  The acids in cider vinegar control the proliferation of yeast in the intestine.

Vinegar has over time been found to be useful for many complaints.

One intriguing aspect of apple cider vinegar is its effect on blood glucose levels.  Several small studies suggest that various types of vinegar may help to lower glucose levels.

A preliminary study by researchers at Arizona State University, published in the journal Diabetes Care, examined people with Type 2 Diabetes.  A statistically significant reduction in fasting blood glucose level was found in the group that took two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at bedtime for 2 days.  Amongst those with a fasting glucose level above 130mg/dL prior to the study, vinegar reduced glucose levels by as much as 6%.

The study was small, and of short duration, so more research is needed.  However, other studies have found that vinegar can lower the post-meal rise in glucose.  The acetic acid in vinegar is thought to slow starch digestion and reduce the glycemic index of starchy foods.

Weight Loss
It's an ongoing debate as to whether vinegar can help you lose weight, but the ones who say it will, say to drink a glass of water before each meal in which you've added a tablespoon of vinegar and a tablespoon of honey.

Apple cider vinegar has become popular as a "fat burner" and as a natural appetite suppressant.  Although some say that the pectin, enzymes, vitamins or potassium may help with weight loss, there is no reliable research that apple cider vinegar can influence metabolic rate or "burn fat" faster than normal.  Again, more research is needed.

Other Uses
Here are some other uses for vinegar, some more proven than others:

  • 1 tsp cider vinegar with one tsp honey three times daily helps with arthritis.  It dissolves the crystal deposits of uric acid that form between joints, and also in muscles in cases of muscular rheumatism.
  • A few tablespoons of cider vinegar a day help clear the body of toxins.  It can also be used in a compress to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Vinegar in drinking water is effective in eliminating the low-grade fevers that are present in Chronic Fatigue sufferers.
  • It helps eliminate thrush in the mouth.  Mix four tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of drinking water.  Drink up to one gallon each day.
  • By changing the pH of the skin, Vinegar can create a hostile environment for Athlete's Foot.
  • Use one part vinegar to one part warm water and soak your feet to treat toenail fungus.  It may take 2 months for the fungus to disappear.
  • For burning urination caused by bladder infection, drink 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water in a juice glass 3 times a day.  Burning and infection will cease.
  • Vinegar soothes the itching and burning of hemorrhoids.  Just take a cotton ball and dab the affected area with full strength apple cider vinegar!  Caution: some people find the full strength solution stings.  If this happens to you, just dilute the vinegar half and half with water.
  • Vinegar is effective against yeast infections.  Mix with water in a douche or a bath.
  • Treating ear infections.
  • For restless leg syndrome, put full strength apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle and saturate legs.  It takes itching and jerking away completely so you can sleep.
  • For indigestion, gastric reflux, IBS, bad breath, diverticulitis, fatty liver, lactose intolerance, allergies, fatigue... one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water drunk before meals helps digestion.
  • Corn and callus remover – soak stale bread (a cloth would probably do as well) in vinegar, and tape over the callus or corn overnight.
  • Age spot fader – Mix equal parts of onion juice and vinegar and use it daily on age spots.  It will take a few weeks to work, just like its expensive relative from the store.
  • Splash vinegar on your varicose veins.  The vinegar is supposed to reduce the veins and relieve the pain and swelling.
  • Try white vinegar on underarms and other areas of the body as a natural deodorant.  Will not stop perspiration (which is not healthy anyway) but will neutralize odor.
  • Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a quart of drinking water to deal with heat stress and repel mosquitos.
  • For head lice, put warm vinegar on the hair, dip a nit comb in vinegar to help remove nits.  It is supposed to be able to break down the glue the nits use to stay attached.
  • Preliminary studies suggest that the acetic acid in vinegar may help to lower blood pressure, although the mechanism is unclear.


Note: Only apple cider vinegar should be used for anything personal, both inside and outside the body.  Do not use white distilled vinegar as it can rob your body of essential minerals.

Side-Effects; Counter-Indicators and Warnings

Theoretically, prolonged consumption of apple cider vinegar could lead to lower potassium levels, which could increase the risk of toxicity of cardiac glycoside drugs such as Lanoxin (digoxin), insulin, laxatives and diuretics such as Lasix (furosemide).

Because apple cider vinegar may affect blood glucose and insulin levels, it may have an additive effect if combined with diabetes medications and high blood pressure medications.

Any time you take vinegar internally, be sure to rinse your mouth with plain water.  Acid remaining on teeth will, over time, dissolve your teeth, as it does with calcium deposits around the sink.

Undiluted vinegar, in liquid or pill form, may damage the esophagus and other parts of the digestive tract over time.

One case report linked excessive apple cider vinegar consumption to low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia) and low bone mineral density.  People with osteoporosis, low potassium levels and those taking potassium-lowering medications should use caution.

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Vinegar can help with the following:


Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency

Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice taken with meals mildly stimulates hydrochloric acid production.


Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome

May be an effective aid in the destruction of lipid-enveloped viruses, such as HIV, HHV-6 (strains A and B), EBV, CMV, and herpes.


Athletes Foot

Soak your feet in a 5050 mixture of apple cider vinegar and water for ten minutes daily up to ten days or until symptoms disappear.  This will relieve the itching and peeling of athlete's foot.  Or, soak a cotton ball in vinegar, coat the fungus and let dry.  Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties.

Or, try rubbing it on the affected area with cotton balls.  Let dry for 30 minutes.  Rinse off.  It's very effective.

Another apple cider remedy is similar to the white vinegar one mentioned below: put a cup of vinegar in several quarts of very warm water and soak the foot for 15-20 minutes; repeat twice a day.  This remedy will also kill fungus that has gotten under the toenails.  Vinegar is effective because it makes the pH slightly more acidic.

White Vinegar: If you don't like the idea of bleach, try adding half a cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water, and soak for 10-15 minutes twice a day.  Let your feet air dry.  The acidity of the vinegar will kill the fungus.

Fungal Skin / Nail Infection

Fungal infections of both fingernails and toenails can sometimes be resolved by using vinegar and honey.  Place one tablespoon of each in a glass of water and drink once per day.



Apple cider vinegar used as a hair rinse after a shampoo has a reputation for balancing scalp pH levels, removing soap residue and controlling dandruff.

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