If you only use apple cider vinegar on your salad, you’re seriously underestimating its potential. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (often abbreviated as ACV) can be used in so many ways that by the end of this article you may start keeping a bottle in every room of your house, not just the fridge! You can use apple cider vinegar for hair and skin care, household cleaning, healing and cooking.
What kind of apple cider vinegar?
Get the good stuff. By “the good stuff,” I mean raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. We’re big fans of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar (pictured at the top).
If you’ve got a good bottle of apple cider vinegar, you should see some strand-like sediment floating at the bottom. No, your vinegar hasn’t gone bad—that gunky-looking stuff at the bottom is the most important part! It’s called “the mother,” and it contains raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria that promote healing. In the animated GIF below, you can see what the mother looks like floating around at the bottom of the bottle (I gave it a vigorous shake first so you can see it better).
1. Eat and/or drink it, of course!
Since apple cider vinegar is, first and foremost, a food product, I would be remiss if I didn’t first fill you in on its nutritional value and health benefits.
Apple cider vinegar lowers glucose levels, and may be helpful for diabetics. It has also been touted as a weight-loss aid, as it is said to help you feel fuller and eat less. The enzymes in apple cider vinegar also promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, and can help regulate candida issues.
How to take apple cider vinegar orally: Mix 1 tablespoon with a cup of water or herbal tea. (Apple cider vinegar is quite strong, and when taken straight can be harsh on the esophagus, so you’ll want to dilute it).
And, of course, apple cider vinegar is a classic salad dressing ingredient, which you can definitely get a little creative with! While olive oil, the most commonly used oil for salad dressing, is not permitted on the therapy, you can mix your ACV with flax oil and lemon or orange juice, and perhaps even whirl it all together in a blender with a clove of garlic and a bit of onion. I even like to just drizzle it on my salad plain!
(Here’s one of our favorite go-to salad dressing recipes with ACV: Triple Citrus Dill Vinaigrette.)
2. Relieve gas, bloating and heartburn
Apple cider vinegar can also be very helpful in reducing gas and bloating. Just take a tablespoon of ACV diluted in water or tea before a meal. It can also help ameliorate symptoms of heartburn. Take a dose as soon as you feel heartburn symptoms coming on.
3. Promote alkalinity
Despite its acidic taste, apple cider vinegar actually promotes alkalinity in the body. As Charlotte Gerson says, “cancer cannot live in an alkaline body,” and one of the primary ways the Gerson Therapy battles cancer and other diseases is by bringing the body into an alkaline state which makes it an inhospitable environment for cancer.
4. Non-toxic cleaning spray
Most cleaning supplies are full of harsh chemicals, so apple cider vinegar can surprisingly provide an excellent, cheap alternative to many cleaning products. It absorbs odors and has antibacterial properties.
Simply mix one part apple cider vinegar to one part water, and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on hard surfaces such as hardwood floors, bathroom tiles, cabinets and countertops, then wipe it off with a rag.
5. Hair care
Apple cider vinegar, when used as a rinse, will make your hair feel smooth and shiny, and provide a bit of extra clarification to remove oil and dirt. It balances your hair’s pH, which helps seal the cuticle and make the hair smoother. It can also help with dandruff, clear away greasy build-up, and soothe itchiness and irritation of the scalp.
Simply mix a tablespoon or two in a glass of water, and rinse your hair with it at the end of your bath. Make sure to rinse it out well afterwards, or your hair might feel a little crunchy.
Don’t worry, the vinegar smell will dissipate once your hair dries, so you don’t have to go around smelling like salad all day (not that that’s a bad thing!).
6. Skin care
While one of the promised benefits of detoxification is clear skin, anyone who has done the Gerson Therapy or another type of intensive detox can probably agree that the road to clear skin can be fraught with blemishes. As your body releases toxins from your blood and tissue, some toxins make their exits through the skin in the form of pimples, rashes and other angry red eruptions.
You can use apple cider vinegar as an astringent, by soaking a washcloth/cotton pad in diluted ACV and applying it to your face. Or, you can simply dab it right onto blemishes to dry them out and heal them.
It’s amazing how smooth your skin feels after applying ACV, it tightens and plumps it a bit, and can help reduce or minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
7. Sunburn relief
While you should always strive to avoid skin damage by not staying out in the sun uncovered for more than 15 minutes, if you do accidentally find yourself burnt to a crisp, you can use apple cider vinegar to neutralize the burn. Dilute it in water and pat on the sore skin, or add a cupful to your bath.
Most commercial deodorants are antiperspirants, which block your ability to sweat. Since sweat is one of your body’s natural means of detoxification, blocking your ability to sweat can block your ability to detoxify. Plus, most drugstore deodorants and antiperspirants contain aluminum and a host of unpronounceable chemicals and synthetic fragrances, so you want to avoid them anyway.
So, it might sound a little crazy, but you can actually use apple cider vinegar as a natural deodorant! Apple cider vinegar absorbs and neutralizes stinky scents. Simply rub a bit of ACV in your underarms and it will absorb and minimize body odors. The vinegary smell dissipates once it dries.
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This article was originally published on April 24, 2013.