If you don’t have a bottle of apple cider vinegar (ACV) in your kitchen, stop reading this and go out and get one

Not the “distilled” version from the baking aisle, you’ll need the one from the peripheral “natural” or “organic” part of the grocery store, the one with the “mother” enzyme – a trip to the Co-op might be necessary. It’ll be quite a bit darker than what you might be used to, and slightly hazy when you look at it in the light – this haziness is the “mother” enzyme, which gives ACV much of its natural antimicrobial and health promoting effects. Natural ACV also contains potassium, phosphorus, natural organic sodium, magnesium, sulphur, iron, copper, natural organic fluorine, silicon, trace minerals, and certain essential amino acids. It’s a homesteader cornerstone, as it can be used for so many various things, from cleaning to soup making, treating fungal infections to easing indigestion, and especially preventing many chronic ailments by keeping the digestive system functioning optimally.

So, now you’re back from the store with your bottle of ACV

Here are 12 ideas to put it to use – you may just need a bigger bottle

1. All purpose cleaning solution– mix in a 1:1 ratio with water and add essential oils for the fragrance of your choice. Also, other natural cleaning agents can be added to this mixture: lemon, salt, alcohol (don’t add baking soda as this will kill the natural antimicrobial enzymes in the ACV).

2. Silver polish– mix  ½ cup vinegar and 2 tbsp baking soda. Allow silver to sit in mixture for a while then rinse clean.

3. Wood polish– mix ¼ cup vinegar with 2 cups water and 2 tbsp of olive oil to give your wood that beautiful shine you remember.

4. Shower soap scum remover– use full strength to remove soap scum from bathtub or shower. Spray and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes.

5. Stain remover –the next time you have a stain on anything – furniture, carpet, walls, clothes, skin –  think of ACV. The dilution ratios differ from surface to surface (12:1 warm water:ACV for clothes, to straight ACV for wood furniture water stains).

6. Diabetes prevention – taking 1-2 teaspoons before meals drastically reduces insulin and glucose spikes in the blood.

7. Improve digestion – ⅓ teaspoon before meals; this promotes enzymes and saliva and enhances digestion.

8. Constipation– to help ease constipation and get the bowels moving try this recipe:

Boil 2 cups distilled water with 4 Tbsps whole flax seeds for 15 minutes or soak overnight (this mixture will become a jelly-like consistency)
Stir 2 Tbsps of this mixture, plus 1 tsp ACV in 8 ounces of distilled water (hot or cold) Add maple syrup or honey to taste
Drink after waking up in the morning and 1 hour before bed. Store the mixture in the refrigerator *from the Bragg: Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System

9. Sore throats– to help ease sore throats try this recipe:

ACV gargle (also great for clearing up mucus):
1 tsp. In ½ glass water – gargle three mouthfuls every hour – DON’T SWALLOW because the ACV acts sort of like a sponge which absorbs bacteria and toxins which are in the back of the throat and mouth

10. Clear mucus and congestion– try using the above recipe.

11. Skin conditions– ACV has been used to help ease the pain, itchiness, and discomfort from various skin infections, burns, or contact dermatitis with great success. Simply soak a bandage in ACV and wrap, then cover with clean dry covering. ACV is antimicrobial, and can keep cuts, scrapes and stings from becoming infected.

12. Fungal infections (foot, mouth, genitals) – try soaking affected part in a 50/50 mixture of ACV/distilled water, 3-4 times daily. It may be time-consuming, but certainly a great place to start before ingesting commonly used antifungal medications.

Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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