Apple Cider Vinegar, aka ACV, is one of the powerful Herbal Foods that rises and falls in popularity among Herbalists, Nutritionists, Health Coaches, and Health Gurus of all sorts. It’s touted as being an anti-aging, anti-cancer, detoxification tool, and digestion-supporting wonder. Folks use it on and in their bodies, through the home, and even for use in pet care and animal husbandry. It’s been around for centuries. Most of us have tasted it, used it, and loved or hated it at some point or another along the way, but have you ever thought of it as an Herb?
Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s true, Apple Cider Vinegar is a potent tool in the Herbalist’s pantry. It’s the main ingredient in properly made Fire Cider, in part because it has an affinity for helping the body digest and absorb nutrients as well as detoxify or remove wastes. When you’re aiming to head off simple illness, like colds and flus, or trying to get through them as quickly as possible, the digestive support ACV offers is the perfect foundation for the anti-microbial and spicy herbs in the Fire Cider blend. For folks who are sensitive to alcohol, Apple Cider Vinegar makes a good acetyl extract, which is basically a vinegar-based tincture.
Apple Cider Vinegar is also a terrific way to slip a little digestive support into your daily diet. Salads are the obvious choice for a dash of Apple Cider Vinegar. Hot and Sour soups and stews benefit from a dash of ACV as do pestos, tapenades, and spreads. Shrubs made with herb-infused Apple Cider Vinegar are a true treat, too. As a daily supplement, as little as a tablespoon or two a day is all you need to help your body stay balanced and enhance your ability to absorb nutrients.
What to Look for when Buying Apple Cider Vinegar
Now that you’re sold on adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your daily diet or Herbal Practice, you may be wondering which one to use. Apple Cider Vinegar is basically apple cider that’s been fermented and vinegarized. The best stuff includes the Mother, which really means it was naturally fermented and has not been pasteurized or distilled. The natural fermentation process creates a rich soup of probiotics and enzymes that are the key to the healing prowess of Apple Cider Vinegar. When you heat it, you kill the living cultures present in the ACV and you alter the natural enzymes of that culture, leaving very little of the healing properties inherent in raw Apple Cider Vinegar behind.
If you’re looking to purchase ACV, look for words like Organic, Mother-in, Raw, and Unfiltered on the label. It should be naturally fermented from freshly pressed Apple Cider or raw apples. In sourcing your own Apple Cider Vinegar, you want the least amount of processing possible to preserve the cultures present. Avoid buying distilled ACV or ACV that contains “Natural Flavorings.” Better yet, make your own!
Making Apple Cider Vinegar
There are two primary ways to make Apple Cider Vinegar at home. My favorite begins with raw, unpasteurized apple cider. You can find the directions Here. Another method that’s popular is the Apple Scrap Cider Vinegar method using water and whole apples or skins and cores of apples. This Video demonstrates this method. Both methods produce good, healthy ACV, so it’s really up to you to decide what works best in your environment.
Herbal Nerd Society Members…Look for more articles on Apple Cider Vinegar as Herbal Medicine this month.