Raw apple cider vinegar has been touted as a health tonic for many years. Its use for health is documented back to the time of Hippocrates in 400 B.C.
Raw apple cider vinegar is known particularly for helping with digestion and for weight loss. The “raw” component is essential because the vinegar needs to be alive with active enzymes and cultures. This live component tends to make the vinegar cloudy which sometimes results in strands of what is called the “mother” which is the live culture starter, much like a sourdough starter.
The most common practice is to drink a small amount of raw apple cider vinegar (from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon) in water 20 to 30 minutes prior to a meal. The famous digestive and weight loss tonic also includes raw honey. The apple cider vinegar tonic acidifies the stomach making digestion much more efficient since the average person does not make enough stomach acid. The raw apple cider vinegar is approximately the same pH as stomach acid – so when taken, it helps digestion. Note that if you have ulcers, the extra acid will actually hurt rather than help.
What is important about having enough acid for proper digestion is that the acid helps us digest meat and other complex foods. Stomach acid is also anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic. Either having enough stomach acid or drinking apple cider vinegar before meals helps bathe our food in acid, killing parasites and bacteria that could be in improperly prepared food. This makes raw apple cider vinegar effective for preventing traveler’s diarrhea and food poisoning.
A proper level of acid in the stomach triggers the pancreas to release digestive enzymes and the liver to release bile, further aiding digestion. Many of the healing claims of raw apple cider vinegar are due to its regulation of the digestive tract in that it improves assimilation of nutrients and elimination of waste. Over time, this can significantly boost overall health.
In addition to making digestion more effective, a raw apple cider vinegar tonic will help detoxify the body. It contains lots of potassium, trace mineral and enzymes. Potassium is very alkalizing to the tissues of the body. Alkaline minerals are necessary for the body to effectively detoxify. Plus, potassium is very good for cardiovascular health.
Raw apple cider vinegar has been known to lower blood pressure and to clean plaque from the arteries. Apple cider vinegar helps relieve arthritis pain and dissolve bone spurs. Raw apple cider vinegar is also effective for burns – including sunburn.
Raw apple cider vinegar is also good for animals, and they love it. It aids in circulation, helps with arthritis and will help dissolve kidney stones.
There are many books on raw apple cider vinegar. There are so many recipes and claims for the health benefits of raw apple cider vinegar including relief from chronic conditions such as headaches, allergies, asthma, eczema, warts, high blood pressure, constipation and so on. Check it out. I am always surprised by how many people try it and love it – in spite of the vinegary taste.
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.