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Pucker up! The tangy taste of apple cider vinegar is better for your body than you know. Long used as a probiotic-filled wellness tonic and all-purpose cleaner, apple cider vinegar is surging in popularity as a natural alternative to other, chemical laden products on the market today. If you’ve been noticing that apple cider vinegar is becoming a hot item but are a little are unclear what exactly you’re supposed to do with it, this article is for you.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

The natural health and cleaning legacy of apple cider vinegar (ACV) usually precedes people’s first contact with it, leaving many confused about what it actually is. In truth, ACV is as simple as it name implies. As a form of vinegar made from apples, ACV can be put to almost the same uses of white vinegar, but with better benefits like preventing hiccups, treating diabetes and cancer and even aiding weight loss.

History of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar may seem like a new natural living trend, but the truth is it’s nowhere near a modern invention. Instead, apple juice has been fermented into vinegar for at least seven thousand years. Vinegar has long been an ingredient put to a wide variety of uses, including medical purposes throughout history and was originally used for cleaning and sanitizing wounds as well as preserving food, stimulating circulation and aiding the detoxification of the liver. Even Hippocrates (long considered the father of medicine) recommended that his patients take a blend of apple cider vinegar and honey to treat their colds.

apple cider vinegar in bowl with mother

How Is It Made?

Vinegar can be made from a wide variety of substances, including molasses, honey, grains and apples. The methods may vary, but the process of brewing vinegar occurs through fermentation. For ACV, natural yeasts ferment the sugars found in apples and turn them into an alcohol that is converted by bacteria into acetic acid.

This fermentation process leaves a trace in the form of complex blend of friendly bacteria, enzymes, protein and fiber. This blend clouds the vinegar with wispy strands and is named the “mother” and contains the majority of beneficial ingredients you seek to gain from vinegar.

It may look gross at first, but the truth is that any apple cider vinegar without a mother is best avoided. Clear vinegar is devoid of beneficial microbes to digest the sugar content and is a sign of pasteurization- meaning that the mixture is biologically dead. Not only does this prevent you from getting a healthy boost of probiotics, it’s also almost entirely unnecessary because the natural acid content in ACV is enough to kill dangerous pathogens like E. coli.

What Are The Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar?

Looking at the purported health benefits of apple cider vinegar, it’s easy to believe this potent drink can do almost anything. Full of polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other compounds, this drink is essentially a concentrated wellness tonic full of a wide variety of the nutrients that your body needs most. This provides a host of benefits for your skin, digestive system and even immune system by preventing the buildup of oxidative stress through free radicals and environmental toxins.

Likewise, the benefits of apple cider vinegar extend even farther to the world of cardiovascular health. Recent studies have shown that animals given regular doses of apple cider vinegar weighed significantly less than those that didn’t, and also had significantly lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

variety of spray bottles for household cleaning

15 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar

There are plenty of ways that ACV can be used to improve both the wellbeing of you and your home. Below are some of the top suggestions for incorporating this powerful product into your life.

1. Detox Your Home

The natural antimicrobial properties of ACV make it a perfect natural alternative to traditional chemical cleaners. Simply mix one cup of water with half a cup of apple cider vinegar in order to create an all-purpose natural cleaner that can be used throughout the home.

2. Cleanse Your Hair

Tired of your hair still looking greasy immediately after you wash it? Try incorporating ACV into your routine to get the cleanse you crave. Not only will an apple cider vinegar rinse boost your hair’s natural shine, it also cleanses your scalp and even slows the growth of the fungus that causes dandruff. Simply fill a cup with one half tablespoon vinegar and one cup cold water, and carefully pour it over your head after shampooing. Massage it into your scalp for several seconds before washing out. For best results, follow this routine at least once a week.

3. Regulate Your Skin pH Levels

Struggling with a stubborn wart or unsightly acne? ACV can ease your problems by restoring your skin’s acidity to optimal levels. Simply mix one part vinegar with two parts water and lightly dab the blend on your face with a cotton ball. Leave the treatment on your face overnight if your goal is to fade acne scars or other age spots. Your skin should clear in no time.

4. Remove the Weeds From Your Garden

If weeds are the bane of your garden’s existence, you can get them out of the way fast by utilizing the power of an infusion of apple cider vinegar. All you need to do is mix ten ounces of ACV into ten gallons of water and then spray it over the plants you want to disappear. Plants that love acid (like blueberries) will benefit from a dose of this spray, though it can also be used to banish weeds in just a few treatments.

5. Remove Stains From Teeth

Sick of unsightly stains on your teeth? You can cleanse them quick by rubbing them directly with apple cider vinegar for several minutes or using it as a mouthwash every morning. Your stains will soon be diminished and your mouth and gums will be in better health than before.

6. Soothe Sunburned Skin

When your day in the sun gets the best of you, it’s easy to find relief from an ACV bath. You can add a cup of vinegar to your bathwater and soak your skin for ten minutes to ease your suffering. For an extra beneficial soak, add in a quarter cup apple cider vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oils.

7. Natural Deodorant

The main cause of foul body odor is yeast and unwanted bacteria, but a dose of microbial-fighting apple cider vinegar can stop the bad smells in their tracks. All you need to do is put a small amount of ACV on your fingers and dab it in your armpits in order to kill the yeast that’s causing you problems.

8. Natural Aftershave

To keep your newly shaven face looking fresh without relying on chemicals, you can fill a bottle with equal parts water and apple cider vinegar and dab it on your face after shaving.

9. Balance Out Your Inner Body

The body works best when it remains in a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar makes it easy for your body to maintain a state of equilibrium, which keeps your energy levels up while keeping you regular, much like a gentle laxative. Some people even find that a daily dose of ACV even aids their digestion.

10. Aid Your Lymph Nodes

Despite being largely unappreciated, lymph nodes are an incredibly important part of your body and essential for keeping you healthy. Apple cider vinegar helps cleanse your nodes and breaks down mucus throughout your body so that you don’t feel the effects of a cold or allergies as severely while staying off future sinus infections in the process.

11. Banish Candida

Vinegar is naturally full of enzymes that are equipped to battle candida, a fungus that is a leading cause of yeast infections. By removing sugar from your diet and taking a three times daily tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, you’ll kill of the fungus and restore your energy levels in a matter of weeks.

12. Preserve Food

Like any other form of vinegar, ACV is great for keeping your canned goods preserved and has been used as a pickling agent for thousands of years. If you want to create a different taste for your homemade pickles this year, try using apple cider vinegar in a few batches.

13. Reduce Heartburn

When your stomach is filled with too much acid for comfort, the paradoxical solution of drinking some acidic apple cider vinegar can actually make a difference. Simply take a tablespoon of ACV and chase it with a glass of water to sooth your stomach fast.

14. Treat Fleas on Pets

If you’re seeking a natural alternative to traditional flea medications, apple cider vinegar can be the solution you are looking for. All it takes is mixing equal parts water and vinegar together and spraying it on your pet’s fur, taking care to rub it into their skin. Daily treatments for a week or two will get rid of an infection in no time.

15. Freshen Your Bathroom

Make your bathroom smell fresh and inviting by pouring some ACV into the toilet and allowing it to sit overnight. The smell of apples will add a lingering scent for days. You can also mix one part vinegar with two parts water and use the solution to clean counter tops and mirrors to kill off bacteria before it can start to grow.

Tips For Buying the Best

The vast benefits of using apple cider vinegar can all be yours, so long as you choose the right kind of vinegar to use. A pasteurized, big box brand won’t do you much good compared to a raw, organic bottle with an intact mother. Look into the bottle itself to see if it appears somewhat cloudy and stringy. Contrary to what your instincts are telling you, this is a good sign! Three of the best brands you can get are Braggs, Kevala and Thrive Market.

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About Author

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Lydia Noyes is an Appalachian homesteader and writer that lives on a land trust deep in the mountains of West Virginia.