Traditional Food: Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil and raw apple cider vinegar

Raw apple cider has had a rich history of use for thousands of years.  Besides it’s culinary benefits,  it’s  one of those folk remedies that a lot of people swear by. And like many folk remedies, there are many claims made. I don’t know if all of the claims are true, but this traditional vinegar certainly has benefits. I suspect that like many folk remedies, some of the claims will be proven true after more scientific study.

Apple Cider Vinegar can be Delicious

However, regardless of whether apple cider vinegar is really the cure all that it’s claimed to be, I do think that it’s a smart choice to use in salad dressings as it’s unprocessed and a purer product than many vinegars. That’s why I choose to use it so much in my cookbook, Fresh: Nourishing Salads for all Seasons. I knew that this natural vinegar, still raw with active enzymes and trace minerals was a common sense choice. When I first started making salad dressings with apple cider vinegar, I was definitely afraid that my salad dressings wouldn’t taste good. Some of my friends will drizzle apple cider vinegar and olive oil on lettuce as a simple dressing……’s not my favorite. And I was imagining all of my salads using raw apple cider vinegar tasting similar. But I soon had a favorite dressing using it, and when I created  more recipes for my cookbook, I was even more surprised at how versatile it was. I made all of my dressings in the book with apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice.

Apple Cider Vinegar is Frugal

What I also love about using raw apple cider vinegar is that it’s much cheaper than most vinegars per ounce. This has helped with my budget, especially since we are eating salads all the time right now. Organic vinegars can definitely add up.  I also use it when soaking grains overnight. And you can also often buy it in bulk through co-ops and such.

History of Apple Cider Vinegar

“The best known of the vinegars in natural health circles is the kind made from apples. Apple cider vinegar is cheap and easy to use, and it really benefits our health in numerous ways. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, thought of it as a powerful elixir and a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used it. And apple cider vinegar is mentioned in the Bible as an antiseptic and healing agent.Even Columbus had barrels of vinegar on his ships for the prevention of scurvy. Indeed, apple cider vinegar has been used for thousands of years, as both health and a cleansing agent.”

The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth, by Jonny Bowden

Blood Sugar and Digestion

I don’t find it surprising that some studies are finding benefit to apple cider vinegar. For example, one study published in 2004 found that when apple cider vinegar (drank in some water before a high glycemic meal) improved “postprandial insulin sensitivity in insulin-resistant subjects.” A follow up study showed that it also helped weight loss! A salad at the beginning of the meal with vinegar, may be helpful in managing blood sugar!

I had mentioned in my last post that the Body Ecology website had mentioned apple cider vinegar  being helpful for aiding digestion. I further found in another article this comment by them. ” Apple cider vinegar helps stimulate your stomach acid, aiding the digestion of protein and fats. Good digestion is essential for staying healthy and naturally slim.” So the claim is that it helps digestion by actually stimulating stomach acid, something many of us are low in which may prevent us from properly digesting protein. I have read references to a study that supposedly shows that apple cider vinegar aids in digestion, but as of today, have not been able to find it.

Regardless, this traditional vinegar is full of trace minerals, enzymes, and a great addition to a healthy diet. What I don’t recommend is drinking a lot of it  in water if it gives you stomachaches, as some people experience. And never drink it straight.

What to Buy

Raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar. I also always buy it in glass jars.

But I am curious about my readers. Have you used raw apple cider vinegar for blood sugar control, weight loss, digestion, or any of the 101 other ways it can be used? What was your result?

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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  1. says

    I use a mixture of raw apple cider vinegar and olive oil (with a couple of drops of lavender essential oil) as my moisturiser for my face. It works great and smells great too, and I benefit from knowing theres no chemical or other nasties in there for my skin to absorb.

    • KimiHarris says

      It’s too hard on the stomach straight and could damage your stomach lining. It’s bad for your teeth too. 🙂

  2. says

    I usually drink a very small amount of ACV with a glass of water, sipping it through a straw to avoid damaging the enamel of my teeth. It’s really good to ward off flu, coughs, colds, etc. It tends to cut my appetite too! Also good for animals if they suffer from upper respiratory problems.

  3. Dani says

    Just curious, is raw vinegar shelf stable? And you say it’s economical…do you have a good local (Multnomah County) source?

  4. Tammy says

    Whenever anyone in our family gets a sore throat we gargle Braggs, raw apple cider vinegar, we alternate this through out the day with a mild salt water gargle. This remedy really works and seems to stop sore throat bugs. I PROMISE try it.

  5. Micaela Marques says

    I have used it as a hair rinse and it is very good for drawing out pimples :). My favorite is to have it in salad dressings.

  6. Mary says

    I toss back 3Tbl of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar a day..then rinse my mouth with water. I have been doing this the last 2 months. It stopped my intense addiction to sugar cold in its tracks. I have now lost 12 pounds.

  7. says

    I’ve used it as a hair rinse and for blood sugar control. It works quite well, but I’ve found that you get the best results by having 1 – 2 tbsp before dinner (I usually eat at around 7) and then drinking 1 tbsp acv mixed with water before going to sleep every few days. It can be difficult on digestion to begin with but if you reduce your dose then you build up a tolerance
    And like katherine says; another bonus is that it’s anti-candida diet friendly

  8. Dee says

    I use a Tblspn of ACV in warm water to start my day, not only does it make me feel great but I have also lost 12 kilos in combination with changing my diet. I think in my case the ACV has been a huge part of my weight loss, it makes me feel that my insides are cleansed and charged ready for all the good stuff I now put in my body. I swear by the stuff!!

  9. Kedesh says

    Kimi, I am a great fan of raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar “with the mother” in it. I buy it through my organic co-op for about $5 NZD per litre in 2 L bottles. I put about a teaspoon of it per 1 1/2 cups distilled water (not ideal I know, but better than drinking chlorinated, floridated, chemical rich tap water!) which I sip on through a straw (to protect my teeth from the acid) throughout the day between meals (so as not to dilute stomach acids while eating meals). It’s delicious to me and encourages me to drink water because it’s so yummy and refreshing! It wasn’t tasty at first and I first started having it with raw honey mixed in to to counteract the sour taste, but now my taste buds have adjusted, it is not very sour at all. I also put it in my glass drinking bottle which I constantly carry in my hand bag whenever I’m out. I use it in dressings too (yummy!) and certain dip recipes (like Shrek Cream- a favourite basil and cashew based dip). I find it helpful for weight loss, cleansing, all-round feel fantastic remedy, refreshing and it helps to curb the appetite. I own a book which I have yet to read that is totally based on it. I can’t remember what it’s called (just ask if you want to know) but it’s by Paul Braggs, health pioneer from the US. God bless you with good health! Kedesh from New Zealand. x

  10. Paula says

    There was once emphasis placed on a “Master Cleanser” that contained ACV, cayenne and honey in hot water. I don’t remember now when it was to be taken but it might have been during a fast.
    I will try using this for blood sugar control. I will also consider it for a hair rinse if I need it.
    To Dani – yes APV is shelf stable. Beware that it forms a mother – a glutinous mass. (I don’t know if the mother has a use.) I pour the vinegar through a small hole strainer and either throw out the mother or put it back into the bottle.

  11. Kelsey says

    I’ve used Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar for a hair rinse, a facial toner, and I have used it for heartburn and to aid digestion (mixed with water before a meal) – and I’ve used it to make some of your yummy salad dressings. 🙂 I have loved it for all of these purposes – it was especially exciting to find that it helps me combat heartburn. My naturopath had recommended aloe vera juice, but that seemed to only work for a few minutes and then the heartburn would come back. But usually when I’ve used raw ACV it seems to ward it off for the rest of the evening. I know my brother drinks some in water every morning for general health and swears by it.

  12. jamie says

    I buy Amish made raw acv. My favorite use for it is as a gargle. When a cold is coming on and my throat is sore I put acv/water/garlic//Celtic salt in a cup and set the cup by the bathroom sink. All day long I gargle each time my throat hurts. Long strands of brown mucus is released from my throat and by 2:00 my throat is fine and the cold usually gone.

    • Lynda says

      Jamie, if you happen to return, could you give more specifics about your gargle. How much? What form of garlic? Thanks!

  13. Rebecca Allen says

    My favorite use: WARTS!
    I started GAPS in March. After a couple months in I broke out in warts. I had one on my foot, two on my hand and two on each forearm. I put a little ACV on gauze, place the gauze on the wart cover it with a little pice of plastic to prevent the gauze from drying out and then a bandaid. If it is a small wart by the next day it will be gone. If it’s a big wart it might take a couple rounds. I must warn anyone who tries this it really hurts with big warts, but it works.

  14. says

    Excellent post!

    We use ACV for many things. But…the most certain use, the use that I have shared with many and they all agree, the use that is greatest… Repelling mosquitoes! The children take 1t daily from about May to September (we live in the southeast and have a large pond) and my Husband and I (and the 5’6″ 12 year old) take 1T each day. We don’t go sans mosquito bites…but we have VERY few while our friends and visitors often have many. Hope it works for you!

    Again, great post!

  15. Katie says

    Has anyone had success making their own ACV? I’d like to learn how. We make our own raw apple cider, so I wonder if I put a jug out on the counter with some “mother” in it from a previous batch, would it turn into vinegar in a few days?

    • Jessie says

      If you look in the book Wild Fermentation, there are instructions. I have lent mine out now, so can’t really summarize it for you – but it’s there. I do think it takes more than a few days, though.

    • says

      I’m making some right now. In the spring I threw some apple cores and peels in a gallon sized glass jar with some water and a 1/4 cup of ACV with the mother. Whenever I used apples I just threw more cores in. I haven’t been brave enough to try it. Maybe I should….

    • says

      I use it for lots of things. I drink a TBS mixed with water for heartburn. I’ll eat a clove of raw garlic, then wash it down with 1 TBS mixed with 1 TBS of raw honey and a little water for a sore throat. I mix 1/4 of a cup pf ACV with 2 cups of water for a conditioner a couple times a week. I also use an ACV and platain tincture as a facial toner when I have bimishes, it pulls the impurites out of the skin. I make an alergy tincture with ACV.

  16. Ruth Turner says

    Pink Eye Cure: Mix these eye drops and use for 3 days or until symptoms clear. I used these a few month ago, and it worked like a charm. Below is the recipe…

    5 parts distilled water, 2 parts raw Honey, 1 part AC vinegar, mix and store in a bottle(dark if possible), do not refrigerate
    If too sticky, add a little more distilled water, recomend warm paper towel for each use, to wipe, to prevent spreading
    1 drop several times daily until cleared up!! (IT WILL STING A LITTLE, BUT IT IS GOOD FOR YOU)
    (these drops have been succesful in helping glaucoma, cateracs, spots, film and many growths!!!

    • says

      I will try that. I get pink eye/eye infections frequently and have an allergy to the neomicin used the standard Rx. This sounds natural and cheap. And no trip to the doc!

      • Karen B. says

        I have never added the AC vinegar, but I can tell you that diluting raw honey in water will get rid of pink eye. I’ve been using that for years.

  17. Deb says

    My husband has a new issue (~1 yr old) with tinea versicolor (a skin fungus that worsens in humid climates – we’re in Seattle) and vinegar directly on the skin works great to get rid of the skin blemish part. Haven’t done it long enough to determine if it will completely eradicate the fungus but see very quick results when his skin looks angry.

  18. Sarah says

    If something’s ailing me or my kids (or a friend or relative) I often ask, “Have you tried Raw Apple Cider Vinegar?” I have found it helpful for stomach/digestive problems, Nausea (pregnancy, too!), bug bites (helps relieve the itch), thrush (combined with Made-On’s Hard Lotion), boils, plantar warts (similar method as mentioned above – I just used a cotton ball and band-aid), sore throats, acne, dandruff/itchy scalp, disinfecting and general household cleaning. Yes, I love this stuff.

  19. Meg says

    My husband drinks and ACV tonic of 1 tbl. vinegar, 1 tbl. maple syrup and 1 cup of water. It really helps his environmental allergies to things such as mold & mildew!

  20. says

    I have read so many times how good raw ACV is and I bought two bottles last time I went to the local healthfood store, but then didn’t really know what to do with it. Now I have several ideas, thank you to everyone for sharing. I can’t wait to start drinking a little each day in water to see how it helps me.

  21. says

    I used it when I had mastitis. I couldn’t handle it with warm water and honey as suggested, so I just put a lot of it on my salad each day. Worked like a charm both times and no need for antibiotics.

  22. Netty says

    I gargle it for a sore throat too! If you do it AS SOON as you start to have symptoms it can prevent an infection. My husband jokes that our kids will hate me some day…. 🙂 “No mom……my throat feels great!”

  23. Beverly says

    I, like so many, also have put about 1-2 tbls in 2 cups water with a small amount of stevia. Tastes almost like lemonade. I was doing this daily due to my acid reflux. I tried to tell my doctor that the vinegar was a better idea than Prevacid, but she didn’t believe me. It really tamed the pain I was in and I believe was the best thing for my digestion issues. This has been a good reminder for me to get back to this regimen. Thanks, everyone!

  24. says

    I used ACV for years as part of the ‘no-poo’ hair care method. (Instead of shampoo I washed with a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 cup water, and then I rinsed with a solution of 1 tablespoon ACV to 1 cup water.)

    I have since gone back to shampoo, but I still use the ACV as a rinse once in a while. It’s a great detangler and conditioner.

  25. Amy Floyd says

    I put a dash in with my chicken carcass and water to sit for 30 minutes before making chicken broth — I think it’s supposed to draw the nutrients out of the bones?

    When my daughter was in cancer treatment, she had reflux from the steroids she was on. They prescribed her Zantac, which did not help. Then Previcid, which did not help. THEN, Zantac AND Previcid, which did not help. She had gone several months into treatment and this was becoming a problem. I did a little reading and started giving her ACV (straight-up because I apparantly didn’t read enough! LOL!), and within 2 days her reflux was gone and never came back. She only took it for a couple of weeks, yet her reflux never came back.

  26. sillyhippiechick says

    ACV also makes a wonderful natural deodorant! I apply it to my underarms with a cottonball and it works all day, even in the south in this horrendous heatwave (over 60 days of 100+ degree weather)! Also, it is far more economical than store-bought deodorant. It took me about 3 days to get used to it as a deodorant but after that I was sold and will never go back to using store-bought!

  27. says

    I use ACV in salad dressings, for soaking grains & beans, and as my no ‘poo conditioner. I also take a bit diluted in water every morning – I started because I was getting intestinal distress from trying take 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil before breakfast after reading Eat Fat, Lose Fat. The ACV completely took care of any issues. I just eyeball the amount of ACV in water, but I think they recommend 1/4 tsp.

  28. Cindy says

    I got off of Prilosec using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. Test – you only need to do this once. To tell if you suffer from too much acid or too little acid: When heartburn flares, take “1 TBSP of vinegar diluted with a little water to taste”. Repeat when heartburn flares again. Keep doing this until you either get much better or you get much worse. If you get much better, you have too little stomach acid. Take the diluted vinegar mix 1 to 3 times per day before meals as needed. I add a little raw honey and use warm water to improve the taste. If you get much worse, you suffer from too much acid. 90% of people have too little stomach acid.

  29. becca g says

    After giving birth to my first child I had such horrible hemorrhoids that stuck around for over a year. When I was pregnant with my second my midwife suggested using ACV. I soaked a cotton ball in ACV and put it over the hemorrhoids for ~30 seconds. I did this 2x/day for a week and within a week they were gone! We also use ACV for sore throats.

  30. NicoleMT says

    I have a question maybe someone here can help with?
    I started drinking ACV (about 2 tbsp mixed w/ 1 tsp of raw honey in a 16 oz glass of water) 2x/day. I originally had to force myself to get over the smell, but within a few days I seemed to crave it. I usually only drink water, so it’s not a replacement for another drink. But I can literally drink glasses of it throughout the day – with no effects like burning or stomach aches, etc. I usually make 32 oz of it at a time & drink when I am thirsty. I also sometimes leave a cinnamon stick in it to stir in the mother. I also feel like it has cut my sweet tooth out.
    Do you think drinking this much can cause any adverse effects in the long run or I can continue? (I do use a straw in case there is an issue with it affecting the enamel of my teeth.)


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