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Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” For years I can remember my dear old grandma starting off the day with a cup of hot water mixed with apple cider vinegar. She called it her “tonic” and said it was good for “whatever ailed you.” My grandmother remained vigorous until her death at age 95.

The use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) was used throughout Biblical times to treat infections and wounds. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, prescribed vinegar for his patients back in 400B.C., believing it to be effective in relieving conditions of acidosis, such as gout, arthritis, digestive problems and liver disorders—as well as germ fighting.

Modern research has shown that a single dose of ACV contains 93 different compounds all considered vital to good health and a balanced metabolism. These include powerful enzymes, a rich source of potassium, vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and pectin.

DeForest Jarvis M.D., author of Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health, writes: “Cider vinegar is conducive to the proper oxidation of blood and is one of nature’s most perfect foods, especially if made from organically grown apples.” Of all the home remedies Dr. Jarvis studied, none matched apple cider vinegar in treating such a wide variety of ills.

Uses of apple cider vinegar include:

  • helps aid digestion and assimilation
  • relieves sore throat and laryngitis
  • acts as natural appetite suppressant and diuretic
  • aids arthritis by flushing harmful toxins and crystals from joints, tissues and organs
  • helps sinus, asthma and flu sufferers breathe easier
  • soothes sunburn and maintains healthy skin
  • helps maintain a youthful, vibrant body while slowing the natural aging process
  • fights fatigue and insomnia
  • maintains cardiovascular health

Old wives’ tale? Medicinal folk lore, you ask? Countless people over the years have sworn ACV to be their “cure all” and “fountain of youth” without the benefit of empirical data or double-blind studies to prove its merit. Yet, recent findings by researchers from Arizona State University suggest the old folk remedy may very well be a powerful tool in the treatment of insulin resistance. When they tested volunteers with insulin resistance (a compromised ability of the cells to respond to signals from insulin and an underlying factor of Type II Diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and blood lipid abnormalities) who had ingested 2 tablespoons of ACV prior to a high-glycemic meal, designed to quickly drive the blood sugar up, they found the blood sugar and insulin levels of those receiving the vinegar to be significantly lower than the placebo group. Overall, there was a 37% improvement in insulin sensitivity. Interestingly, a control group without insulin resistance also demonstrated an improvement in insulin sensitivity, suggesting that ACV in some way slows down the quick blood sugar/insulin response to high-glycemic foods.

The standard recipe is 1-2 teaspoons ACV to one 8-oz. glass water daily. One can increase or decrease the amount of vinegar used and the number of cups per day, depending on taste and tolerance. For sweetness, 1-2 teaspoons of honey or stevia to taste can be added to the mixture. I add a little bit of lemon juice to my drink and prefer the water to be warm. Try it in lieu of coffee in the morning. I can hear my Granny now saying, “Try it! What have you got to lose?”

—Cheri Bianchini, RN, PHN
© 2012, Cheri Bianchini. All rights reserved.