Beside the widespread use of vinegar in gastronomy, it is one of the oldest medicines for health preserving and fighting against various diseases. The first records of vinegar’s positive physiological impact date back to antiquity; it is known that Hippocrates (c. 420 BC) used vinegar to heal wounds. Sung Tse, the 10th century creator of forensic medicine, always washed his hands with vinegar and sulphur to avoid infection during autopsies. Over time vinegar has become an essential part of everyday healthcare, particularly of treatment at home.
The combination of acetic acid, trace elements and minerals of the vinegar help to preserve our health. The enzymes in vinegar speed up the chemical processes in our bodies. The calcium present is very important to avoid osteoporosis, magnesium strengthens our heart, iron is essential in the blood, and potassium is a key element for cell and tissue growth, giving energy every day.
Several beneficial physiological effects of vinegar are known:
Beside managing wounds, Hippocrates is associated with an ancient panacea Oxymel used to soothe coughs. The father of modern medicine created a mixture of honey and vinegar which he recommended for persistent coughs.
In addition, vinegar can also be applied externally: spot a few drops of vinegar in a small cloth and place it under your head so you can enjoy a calmer night.
Alleviate sore throats with vinegar. Mix a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of warm water and gargle for ten seconds, three or four times a day. Or mix four teaspoons of vinegar and four teaspoons of honey in a glass of warm water and drink it every four hours.
A vinegar compress is a superb treatment for insect bites and skin irritation from sunburn. It can also ease the discomfort of haemorrhoids.
The acetic acid and the rich trace element and mineral content of vinegar reduce the cholesterol level and help the body to return to its natural balance. Thereby vinegar assists in preventing the development of heart disease and also controls blood pressure.
For improved digestion drink a mixture of two teaspoons of vinegar with a cup of green tea – just wait for the beneficial effect. The diuretic, appetite suppressant and increased metabolism effects of vinegar can also help in weight loss. Mix a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of vinegar and drink it before every meal – losing weight is guaranteed.
Thinning blood: acetic acid restores the alkaline properties of the system. Mix a glass of warm water with a teaspoon of vinegar and drink it before every meal to improve blood circulation.
Ebihara and Nakajima (1988) were the first to describe the effect of vinegar on controlling blood sugar levels. They discovered that vinegar slows the enzyme responsible for uptake of sugar, and thus reduces the sudden increase in blood sugar after meals. Regular consumption of vinegar before meals can help you achieve the right blood sugar level, thus preventing the development of diabetes.
A plethora of antioxidants are found in vinegar, each of which has a beneficial effect on the body. They include beta-carotene and vitamin A from it which provide protection against cancer. The high antioxidant content of vinegar helps destroy molecules causing cancer, while the pectin present helps dissolve cancer-causing compounds in the body.