Apple cider – the virtuous vinegar


VINEGAR has a long history, dating as far back as 3000 BC when vinegar residues were found in ancient Egyptian urns although the earliest record of vinegar use was by the Babylonians around 5000 BC reportedly as a flavor enhancer and as a preservative.

Hippocrates, also known as the Father of Modern Medicine, applied vinegar as an antibiotic to his patients in 400 BC.

During the American Civil War, vinegar was rationed to soldiers and used to prevent scurvy, consumed as an energising tonic and used to polish their brass. Vinegar was also used as an antiseptic to treat wounds during World War I.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is produced through the fermentation of crushed ripe apples.

Bacteria called “the mother” is added to activate the fermentation process during which the sugars are turned into alcohol and further fermentation converts the alcohol into vinegar.

The main ingredients of apple cider vinegar are acetic acid and malic acid, both of which give vinegar its sour taste.

Acetic acid can increase your body’s absorption of important minerals from the foods you eat.

A 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, reported that subjects who consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides.

The best apple cider vinegars are organic, unfiltered, and unpasteurised. ‘The mother’ should be present, to indicate

that the vinegar is of good quality.

Alkaline vs acid

Measuring the pH of a food as it exists outside of the body is irrelevant. After a food is consumed, digested, and absorbed, the final residue or “ash” is either alkaline, acidic

or neutral depending on the mineral mix in the food. – Graci, S (1997).

Apple cider vinegar is naturally acidic with a pH of 4.25-5 but once digested, is actually alkaline forming. Other alkaline forming foods include lemon, limes, green leafy vegetables, raw fruits, grains, and legumes.

Contributed by modern diets and with the consumption of animal products, caffeine and highly processed fast foods, our bloodstream tends towards acidic, encouraging diseases to flourish.

Acid-forming foods can cause minerals to be leached from your bones. Even a small drop in the body’s pH can cause a dramatic increase in bone loss.

Root, L (2005).

To avoid diseases and premature aging, the body should remain in a slightly alkaline state. By consuming alkaline-forming drinks like apple cider vinegar, the acidity in our body is regulated and a more balanced pH is restored.

A balanced body’s pH does not necessarily cure diseases. However, by maintaining a normal pH, the body is able to heal itself by ridding it of toxins and increasing the body’s absorption of minerals and other nutrients, making us less susceptible to diseases.

The Many Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

Health & Beauty

– cough and cold remedy

– facial toner

– treats and prevents scurvy

– hair rinse/ hair conditioner

– gets rid of warts

– tooth whitener

– arthritis5

– weight loss aid

– kidney stones

– astringent and antiseptic for skin

– nausea and indigestion

– insect bites

– diabetes 6,7

– relieves sunburns

– stopspoison oak itch

– antifungal and antibacterial



– cleans kitchen surfaces, windows, glass, mirrors & shower mildew

– polishes brass& removes

– repels insects

– kills weeds in the garden, improves soil acidity, and removes garden lime



– flavour enhancer

– condiments

– salad dressings

– marinates

– preservatives/ pickling

– acidic medium for soaking


Latest Research Findings on Vinegar and Diabetes

One of the most researched of apple cider vinegar’s benefits is in the area of type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that vinegar helps lower blood glucose levels.

In 2004, researchers concluded that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals.

A follow-up study in 2007 showed that consuming two tablespoons of vinegar at bedtime reducednext-morning fasting glucose concentration in individuals with type 2 diabetes.7


Vinegar and cholesterol

Laboratory studies done on animals have shown the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, however further research on humans is needed to establish these findings.


Your Beauty Arsenal

My current practice of including an apple cider vinegar hair rinse in my daily routine has shown some remarkable differences in the texture of my hair and the condition of my scalp.

Even without the use of a hair conditioner, the hair has more body, and feels noticeably softer, smoother and stronger.

I used to suffer from greasy scalp as a result of overactive sebaceous glands but now, the scalp feels healthier and does not produce as much oil.

The reason for this is that alkaline shampoos strip the hair of its natural oils and disrupt the pH of the scalp, causing the scalp to compensate and produce even more oil. The acid in apple cider vinegar helps to restore and correct this imbalance.

The addition of herbs gives the hair rinse a lovely scent, and with rosemary, it has the added benefit of combating hair loss. To make your own all-natural hair rinse-conditioner:

1. Simmer two cups of water

and throw in a small bunch of fresh herbs, or a tablespoon of dried herbs, and allow the herbs to infuse for 30 minutes.

2. Strain and discard the herbs.

3. Mix in two tablespoons of organic, raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar.

4. When the mixture has cooled, pour into a bottle using a funnel.

Use this as a final hair rinse. This concoction is equally effective as a skin toner, keeping the skin soft and looking matt throughout the day.

There are so many reasons to love the virtuous apple cider vinegar from being a health tonic and beauty aid, to being an important ingredient in culinary and household uses.

As with anything, moderation is always key when it comes to food or drink consumption. If you have existing health issues, it is advisable to consult your doctor before embarking on any regime.