Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Apple Cider Vinegar - Good for What Ails You


Years ago we had a neighbor (he was rather old and crotchety) who was a master farrier.  He took a shine to Maid Elizabeth and offered to trim and shoe her horse's hooves in exchange for her doing odd jobs around his homestead.

One day, as Elizabeth was filling feed bunks with hay I watched as the farrier filled buckets with grain. Into the feeder he dumped a scoop of steamed oats, followed by a half a scoop sweet feed.  On top of that he poured a ladle full of amber colored liquid.  Never having seen anyone feed their horses quite like that before, I asked what he had poured over the feed.  He looked up at me, one eyebrow raised and said "its apple cider vinegar".  He might as well have added "you dummy", but he just shook his head instead.

I didn't want to seem foolish, but I just couldn't let it go.  I had to know why he fed his horses vinegar.  And I was REALLY interested to see if they ate it!  Well, I didn't have to wait long to find out if vinegar was offensive to the horse palate - they ate it right up, just like it was a bucket full of molasses grain.  I hesitated a moment and then blurted "why did you feed them vinegar?"  Master Farrier rolled his eyes, sighed and said "it's a dewormer, of course".

I wasn't about to ask him any more questions, but I did tuck that nugget of information away for further research.  Although I have never come across any "scientific" evidence that ACV (apple cider vinegar) works for deworming, the web is full of anecdotal evidence which goes far beyond treating animals for worms and includes fly control, skin/coat problems and anti-bacterial solutions.

I became even more intrigued with the amazing properties of ACV when I read about spraying it on weeds to eradicate them.  We have a problem with thistles and hawk weed and although commercial weed killer will kill them, the hawk weed especially, always seems to come back the next year.  Eager to put the vinegar to the test, I poured some (full strength) into a spray bottle and sprayed both hawk weed and thistle plants and waited to see what would happen.  It took about 4 hours to notice any difference.  At first, the plants just looked a little poorly.  After 4 hours they looked positively droopy.  The next day....both the thistle and the hawk weed were shriveled up masses.  Some of the larger plants required another spraying the next day before they succumbed to the ACV, however, everything I sprayed the vinegar on gave up the ghost - eventually.  I didn't do a mass spraying of all of the invasive plants in my 30 acre yard simply because I didn't have enough vinegar, however, it really does keep the weeds down in my little garden areas.  And I would prefer to use ACV over commercially produced weed killer any day.

Ready to strain and rebottle
As if I wasn't sold on ACV already, I came across a little book called "Folk Medicine".  It was written by an old country Doc in Vermont back in the '50's by the name of D.C. Jarvis, M.D.  Dr. Jarvis spent a lifetime treating rural Vermonters and, being equipped with an inquisitive mind, began to notice a connection between the use of ACV in his patients and their overall health.  His book is chock full of both anecdotal and scientific evidence as to the efficacy of ACV in not only promoting good health but also treating sickness and disease.

Just for the record, I do not believe that Apple Cider Vinegar (or anything else, for that matter) is a cure-all or a miracle drug.  I think it works great for some things and not for others.  I think it works differently with different physiological make-ups.  That being said, I think ACV is an absolute requirement for any homesteader/prepper/survivalist.  I think the list of its benefits it too long for one small blog post and its potential uses are beyond measure.  The fact that you can make it in your kitchen, in sufficient quantities to keep your animals healthy, your family healthy and your weeds unhealthy is merit enough to make it worth your while.

Here is the best part of all.  Apple Cider Vinegar is a snap to make.  There are numerous methods of making vinegar - simply Google it and find the method that is most convenient for you.  I made ACV last fall, after partaking in a friends apple cider pressing.  My method of ACV is possibly the most simple and the most effective.  I started with 6 gallons of fresh apple cider.  Although we originally put all of the cider into a 6 gallon carboy, to make ACV we poured it into 7 (1) gallon jars (leaving room to stir).  We did strain the cider as we poured it into the gallon jars to get most of the big apple chunks out, so that the ACV would be a little clearer.  After putting the cider in the jars, we put a bit of "mother" into each jar of cider.  The "mother" is the icky looking stuff that floats at the bottom of the apple cider vinegar that you buy at the health food store (Bragg's).  It almost looks like a human organ, a big flat matt of a thing - but, this is the good stuff!  My "mother" came from a friend who had made her own vinegar the year before.  She just separated a big clump from her "mother", put it into a pint jar and sent it home to become my "mother".  There is no measurement required for your "mother".  I just divided the "mother" that I had (it turned out to be about 2 T per jar) between the 7 jars of cider and called it good.

Gallons of ACV at the ready
Apple cider vinegar needs all of the good stuff floating around in the air (yeast) to get good and frothy and strong.  Rather than putting lids on my cider I cut pieces of cheesecloth, placed them on the jars and secured them with big rubber bands.  I set the jars on the shelf in my kitchen and let the "mother" and the yeast do their thing.  Every so often, I would take the cloth off the tops of my jars and give them a stir.  I should have done this every week, however, I got to it about every three weeks.  It didn't really seem to effect the vinegar.  The jars sat on my shelf for about 3 months when I noticed that the liquid was starting to evaporate.  At this point I taste tested it (wow! - it was super strong vinegar).  I strained the vinegar out of the 1 gallon jars (making sure to save the "mother) and bottled it in more manageable bottles.  The "mother" I put in a liter jar and covered with apple cider vinegar and put in a cool place.  It will wait there until next fall when I make another batch or until someone needs a bit of "mother" for themselves.

At this point we have no large animals to feed ACV to, however, we do have children.  Every morning, the kids and I line up for our glass of apple cider vinegar (just a bit of vinegar in the bottom of a glass filled with water).  It is an invigorating way to start the day!  Although not a miracle cure, ACV comes pretty close!


28 comments:

  1. Hi Enola, I have MS and am in a wheel chair. Its not something I chose but it is what it is. I am almost tempted to try the ACV with some prayer and see if miracles can happen for a 56 year old man in MN. I know God answers prayer but this is where I am for now until he comes soon. And its looking like he will be here very soon. God Bless, Rex Peterson

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    1. Dear Ray-
      I will be praying for you too. I'm not sure if ACV will help, but it certainly won't hurt. Have you heard of Bee Venum Therapy? I used it after I had back surgery and it was incredible! I have read a number of accounts of it working wonders for people suffering with MS. God is the great physician and His plans for you are perfect.
      Yours,
      Enola

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    2. I'm so sorry - I meant Rex!
      Enola

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  2. Enola,

    Your question to Rex if he had heard about Bee Venum Therapy, can you explain a little more about it. This had intrigued my interest.

    Thanks,
    Sandy

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  3. Hi Enola, I have been taking ACV (Bragg's) daily for over a year now. Cannot say as I noticed anything really different however I do not get colds or flu's like I use to and eat far less Tums than in the past. I also treat my invasive weeds with ACV since the weed killer products are so bad for us and our soil. It works well however like you said, some weeds do need additional treatments.
    Thanks,
    Steve

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  4. If a person doesn't have a friend with a jar of "mother", how can a person get some or make thier own

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    1. Simply use some ACV that has live culture in it (Braggs or other live culture ACV from the health food store) as a starter. You don't actually have to have a mother to make ACV. Fresh apple cider ( not juice) will become apple cider vinegar if left open to the air (with just a piece of cloth covering it). It just takes a bit more time than it does if you are using a mother.

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    2. I am making tomato vinegar for the second year, it is delicious and so easy. My first effort was a failed attempt at tomato wine. I whizzed tomatoes in a blender, added sugar and yeast, used a loose "airlock", transferred the liquid a few times to fresh, clean containers, and the result was a very tasty, sweet-tart vinegar. Tomatoes don't want to be wine, they want to be vinegar.

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  5. My maternal grandparents drank a couple Tbs. of ACV every day. It was their "toddy". Grandpa would make a big show of how tasty it was to make me laugh and squeal, offering to let me have the first taste, before I would run out the back door(screen door on a big spring).
    Now I have my own jar of Bragg's and have begun to take a medicinal dose. I have an autoimmune disease they haven't pegged yet, but they're sure I have one or more. DD reminded me that years ago (just prior to the AI symptoms) I was on years of antibiotics and that I might benefit from ACV and some probiotics, for which I use kefir made from raw milk. A couple weeks ago, I noticed my gait was improved and I could stand on one foot, either foot. General disclaimer here--I'm not giving medical advice or advocate anyone do what I do, just sharing what has happened for me. I also take a multivitamin and eat flax and chia. Maybe it's one thing or all of the things I'm doing. Due to food allergies and hypoglycemia, I live on a low carb diet, also.
    I'm better and my family can see the difference. I'm thankful you shared your easy way to make the vinegar. My neighbor has an apple orchard that he lets us pick from and ACV will be on the list for next fall, God willing and the hail doesn't take out all the apples like this year.

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  6. Even if it turns out it isn't of much use in treating disease, it's probably harmless enough-which you can't say about a lot of medicines.

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  7. ACV is good for gout and bursitis. 1 T ACV in a glass of water. The old medicine book I read, don't know name as it has been passed down, says that it acidifies the blood to flush out the bad.

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  8. I hear thngs like this and chalk it up to superstition. Might as well hang a clove of garlic or a chicken leg around your neck. Things like this are seductive as in, if I take this magic potion I will be healthy, never get sick and live longer. The only thing missing is the evidence. My rule of thumb is if you only see this kind of thing touted in the same blogs that push megadoses of vitamins or green tea or honey and they fear HFCS then that is proof enough that you are dealing with somene who believes in superstitions and ignores science.

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    1. science on.....go for it

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    2. science on....go for it

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  9. To Anonymous and everyone else, the use of ACV is not a superstition or a cure-all. The science is simple: ACV is an acid. Adding an acid (or a base) to a substance will change the pH and that will change the types or micro organisms (fungi, bacteria etc.) or plants that can survive there. Dr. Jarvis's book mentions the use of ACV for food poisoning. I found that this is absolutely correct through my own experience: any time I start to feel nauseated due to something I ate, I take two good swallows and the nausea goes away, rather than progressing to diarrhea or vomiting. The V has gone down and made my stomach tooacidic for the bad bugs to survive. Simple. Also, I had my daughter soak her feet (under protest) in it to get rid of foot fungus, it worked. (Oddly, a month or two back I saw an article in Rolling Stone mag about Charles Manson, in which it said that his "girlfriend" who visits him in prison cured his persistent foot fungus the same way! )

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  11. Hi Enola I just looked at my gallon of Braggs ACV and there are little bits of darker brown in the bottom but not a chunk of of mother, do you think it will still work?

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  12. Hi Enola I just looked at my bottle of Braggs ACV. There are small bits of a darker brown matter in the bottom of it but not a mother that I would recognize, do you think those small bits would still work?

    Shirley

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    1. Shirley;
      I sure do. The mother isn't a requirement but I'm pretty sure the chunks floating in your Braggs is mother. Just add some of that ACV to your new cider and let it work.
      Enola

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  13. A fantastic blog with a lot of useful information. I would love to get updates from you. Keep blogging. All the best.

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  14. Thank you so much for writing and sharing this article on ACV!!!

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  15. Used to take ACV daily for a chronic knee problem (worked well, but found that boswellia worked better for me) - mixed a Tb or 2 in a glass of tomato juice each morning. If the ACV taste is not your favorite, the tomato juice masks it nicely.

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  16. I know a Vietnam vet told me coming in from the jungle he and the Koreans would
    take a shot of acv

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  17. To make a great weed killer, heat up the vinegar and add salt and dish soap. The soap makes the mixture stick to the plants and softens them. the salt adds to the burn factor. It even kills poison ivy.

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  18. I make a drink with ACV called Haymakers Punch. 2/3 cup each of ACV and honey in a gallon of water. Add a dash of salt or ginger to vary the taste. I started using it for my frequent kidney stone attacks, and so far it has worked well. Drink a glass or 2 a day. It's best when cold. It's a very refreshing hot weather drink too. It was originally given to men putting up hay by hand, hence the name.

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  19. I had "shingles" a year ago and read about how painful it can be. I did some research and found a blog ( can't remember the blogs name) . People were writing about how apple ACV, when applied to the area of pain, made the pain cease! I did it, It worked. Not to long after that our neighbor came down with shingles and I told him to use the ACV. He kept saying his doctor was going to give him a shot and some pills and that he was told just to ride it out and stay at home. He FINALLY used the ACV and could not get over how instantly it worked.

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  20. Hi Enola,
    Cherie and I find that a 50/50 mix of our own fresh honey makes that morning dose MUCH more palatable and we also believe we get medicinal benefit from the honey it's self.

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  21. ACV is amazing stuff. I have gallons of it. ACV for health and white vinegar for cleaning.

    That being said, one word of caution about making vinegar. If you do any winemaking be very careful not to store it anywhere near your vinegar! After a while the spores/yeasts (sorry, I forget the proper term) permeate the room and stay there. You may begin to notice your wine failing. Always make and store fermenting wines and vinegars as far apart as possible, a separate building is even better.

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