Apple cider vinegar has so many great uses that one could almost say, "when in doubt, use ACV". I use it daily for everything from cooking, detoxing, keeping my pets healthy to relieving skin issues and eliminating body odours.
In this article I’ll highlight the top benefits of apple cider vinegar and share with you my 5 favourite hacks for this multi-purpose natural remedy.
What is apple cider vinegar and how does it work?
Unpasteurized or raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) is made by fermenting the juice of crushed apples. The natural sugars in the apple juice turn into ethanol. Bacteria then turn this alcohol into acetic acid which is the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar.
Homemade apple cider vinegar is easy to make from apple scraps, water and sugar. I follow this recipe for making batches of ACV in the fall when there's an abundance of local organic apples.
Heat will destroy the beneficial enzyme action of apple cider vinegar so always look for unpasteurized apple cider vinegar containing the “mother”. This is a cloudy, stringy substance made up for yeast and bacteria that will settle to the bottom of the bottle.
What are the benefits of raw apple cider vinegar?
There are many reported benefits of raw apple cider vinegar. Dr Jensen in his book "Dr. Jensen's Guide to Better Bowel Care" includes apple cider vinegar in his seven-day cleansing program and suggests that ACV:
- helps to relieve mucous-related issues affecting nose, throat or sinuses
- helps to create an alkaline pH in your body
- provides nutrients for muscle tissue
- helps to prevent electrolyte depletion
The authors of "Complete Wellness" by Neal's Yard Remedies list apple cider vinegar as a remedy for gut issues and headaches. The book suggests that ACV can:
- help to neutralize excess stomach acid and can help to ease headaches related to gut issues
- be made into a headache tonic by adding 2 tsp ACV plus 2 tsp honey to a glass of lukewarm water
The acetic acid content of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar has been reported as having benefits for:
- appetite control and weight management
- maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
- maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
Remember, in order to be effective, apple cider vinegar has to be raw/unpasteurized. This means that the naturally-occurring enzymes are alive and active. Look for ACV made from organic apples and with the “mother” intact.
My top 5 apple cider vinegar hacks
1. Support digestion and healthy blood sugar levels: add 1-2 tsp of ACV to a glass of lukewarm water and sip with a meal. Note that ACV like all vinegars could irritate the esophagus if consumed undiluted, so always mix it with water.
2. To help with general detox, liver/gallbadder support and pH balance: you can add 1-2 tbsp of ACV to 1 quart/1 litre of water and drink throughout the day. Repeat daily for 7-10 days or as recommended by your health care practitioner.
3. Add to soups/stocks: ACV is THE secret ingredient to making tasty soups and stocks. It also helps to draw the nutrients out of the bones to make it more bioavailable in the broth.
- Broth/Stocks: Add a splash of ACV to the cold water in your stock pot and let the bones sit in the water for about an hour before starting to cook the broth. For the ultimate bone broth recipe, click here.
- Soups: add a splash during the last few minutes of cooking to give a delicious tangy flavour — I make a great vegetarian borscht this way.
4. Hair rinse: apple cider vinegar helps to balance out your hair and scalp’s pH levels which can help with dry, frizzy hair or dry/itchy scalp issues.
- Simply mix 2 tbsp of ACV with 2 cups of water, add to a squeeze bottle or old shampoo bottle and apply it to your hair after shampooing (avoid eyes!)
- No need to rinse with water afterwards
- You can also do an ACV rinse between shampoo’s to prevent dry hair from over-shampooing
- For an extra boost, add 2-3 drops rosemary essential oil to your ACV rinse
5. Stop underarm body odour naturally: Apple cider vinegar kills odour-causing bacteria. Just add a bit of ACV to a cotton ball and wipe your underarms (warning: don’t apply right after shaving). If you’re going through a detox or weaning yourself off anti-perspirant, ACV will help neutralize underarm odours as built-up toxins are being expelled through your armpits. And don’t worry - the vinegar smell goes away quickly too.
6. Bonus (and you thought there were only 5 hacks!): Healthy nail/toe support: Apply ACV between toes and around toenails to help your body fight fungal or bacterial issues. Simply dip a clean Q-tip or cotton ball in ACV and swab the affected area 1-2 times daily until resolved.
Recipe: Lemon & ACV Tonic Smoothie
1 cup water
2 cups spinach or baby kale (if you have low thyroid issues, use romaine lettuce instead)
1 apple, cored and quartered
juice of one lemon
1 tsp unpasteurized ACV
2 tsp liquid raw honey or maple syrup
Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth
There you have it, my favourite ACV uses. And it doesn't stop there...from cleaning to supplementing my chickens, ACV is definitely a staple in my world.
Do you have a favourite ACV hack or recipe? I'd love to hear about it -- just post in the comments below.
All my best,
Live/Dried Blood Analysis - Homeopathy - Essential Oils Specialist
Health & Life Coaching
P.S. While apple cider vinegar is a great digestive support, chronic bloating or other gut issues could be due to one or more underlying issues. Click here to download your free copy of "The 5 Ways to Eliminate Belly Bloat".