The word vinegar is from the French vin aigre, meaning sour or acid wine. It is a dilute acetic obtained from the fermentation process. When fresh apples are pressed into cider and are fermented organically, they make vinegar that contains natural sediment with enzymes, pectin, and good bacteria.

Please note: When I say vinegar, I mean only pure, natural, unrefined, unfiltered, raw, organic apple cider vinegar. You can tell it is the genuine article if when you hold it up to the light, it has the “mother” floating in it, a sediment and web-like substance. I always thought it looked like a jellyfish in the bottom of the jug. It is best purchased at a health food store or a farm market where the grower makes his own naturally.

My personal connection with vinegar

As mentioned previously, I have a personal affinity with apples, both as part of my history as well as that of my family. Not only did I grow up working on the family apple orchard, but my family has been composed of apple growers for zoo years.

My dad used to make his own vinegar, which he used heavily in cooking. He put it in coleslaw. He pickled eggs and beets together with it, turning the eggs purple as well as preserving them. All were delicious.

I remember Dad speaking of the “mother,” the cloudy substance in the vinegar, as the giver of its life. He used to speak of the energetic old farmer who drank a shot of vinegar daily just like people do shots of tequila or whiskey. He said that the vinegar gave the farmer the substance and power to keep up with his hard work.

Vinegar elixirs

I make several different, perfectly wonderful vinegar elixirs, which I drink daily. In one of them, I soak garlic, horseradish, and onion in vinegar for a month and then I add about 20% of a tincture of elethro ginseng, dong quai, and vitex. This is a consummate health drink for women. I have not been sick in the last two years since I began taking it daily, not even with a cold. It gives me the strength and energy to keep up and stay on target with my ever-so-many activities. I highly recommend this formula for everyone. Men can just do the vinegar mixture without the herbs.

Versatile vinegar

Vinegar must be one of the most useful things on earth for humankind. Just to name a few things, vinegar is used to clean windows, disinfect, in the laundry to brighten colors, on the carpet to absorb odors and remove stains, polish furniture, remove ink stains, absorb cat box odors, dissolve chewing gum, remove perspiration stains, make an air freshener, and clean the entire household for “pennies on the dollar” without any harm to the environment.

As a medicine, it kills infection, soothes coughs, eases the pain of a sore throat, and calms nausea. Taken with honey before bed, it instills sleep.

A few of the skin remedies vinegar has been used for are to treat burns, soothe sunburn, help aching feet, and relieve the itch of welts, hives, and bee stings. It also fades age spots. Vinegar helps control appetite and aids in digestion, and therefore can aid in weight reduction.

Vinegar’s history and importance

Vinegar has a long history. It is literally a key player in the overall destiny of mankind. Vinegar may have been a major ingredient in getting rid of the black plague in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Vinegar is so important in folk medicine because it associates minerals with potassium. Vinegar contains phosphorus, chlorine, sodium, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, iron, fluorine, silica, and many trace minerals. Folk medicine holds potassium to be the most important mineral, in fact, the key mineral in the constellation of minerals. Potassium is found with acids. P. C. Bragg, in the book Apple Cider Vinegar Health System, refers to it as the “mineral of youthfulness.” [Paul C. Bragg and Patricia Bragg, Apple Cider Vinegar Health System, Santa Barbara, CA: Health Science, 1987.]

Vinegar’s role in skin care

Apple cider vinegar is helpful to both dry and oily skin. It acts to refine the skin pores, and reestablishes a natural acid balance while softening the skin. When the skin is acidic, it seems to attract blood. The presence of the needed amount of blood in the skin gives it a wonderful glow. Soap is often needed to remove dirt and makeup, but following the cleansing process with a rinse of an herbal astringent or apple cider vinegar is beneficial to restore acid balance.

If your skin has a reaction to soap, such as itching, you may want to stop using soap and use apple cider vinegar instead, particularly in the bath. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer and acid balance restorer. Just add one cup of vinegar to your bath water and let it soak into the pores for at least twenty minutes.

If you have an itchy scalp, try dipping your hairbrush in a glass of water with one-teaspoon vinegar enough times to get your hair wet. This will not only help reduce itching but it will make your hair soft and easy to manage. One caution: Vinegar may straighten perms.

For skin blemishes

Vinegar helps soften skin and restore the skin’s natural acid mantle. It is a great rinse for blemished skin. Steam the face with lavender to cleanse the skin. Bring a pan of water to a boil, put a small handful of lavender flowers in the water, and remove from the heat. Hold your head over the pan and drape a towel over your head to allow the lavender-enhanced steam to loosen the grease and dirt. Then, take a cotton ball drenched in vinegar and lightly pat on the skin. Repeat this twice. Then pat on vinegar that has been chilled in the refrigerator, to close the pores and tone the skin.

For tired muscles and joints, take a vinegar bath. Soak in warm water to which one and a half cups of vinegar have been added.