Apple Cider Vinegar: Not all sourpusses are also bitter

Apple cider vinegar has been used as a folk remedy and Chinese medicinal for thousands of years.  Hippocrates (460-377BC) used it to help fight infections and the ancient Chinese used it both as a medicinal food, and as a preparatory agent for certain medicinal herbs.

Chinese Medicine views apple cider vinegar as both sour and bitter, slightly warming and invigorating, detoxifying and anti-parasitic.  It soothes insect and snakebites and helps detoxify them topically, soothes sunburns topically by restoring the acidity to the skin (which induces a cooling effect), aids digestion and helps liver function.  Western medicine (both folk and allopathic) have used it in this capacity as well.  Yet there are some other interesting functions as well.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) lowers the glycemic index of carbohydrates when consumed together and satiety (feeling full) occurs sooner when ACV is consumed with carbohydrates.  It can reduce obesity by reducing visceral fat, and it lowers triglyceride levels.  Acid reflux can also be caused by hypoacidity in the stomach and ACV helps to improve this condition by increasing acidity levels in the stomach (unlike Tums which exacerbates it over the long term).  ACV also lowers blood pressure (possibly by increasing nitric oxide in the blood, which dilates the arteries).

Apple cider vinegar is made by crushing apples, then fermenting the juice to produce alcohol, followed by a second fermentation with acetobacter bacteria to form apple cider vinegar.  Its sour and bitter tastes come from the acetic acid and malic acid that is formed.  The malic acid in ACV aids in cellular energy production via the Krebs cycle, and also acts as a heavy metal chelator.

According to Dr Jay Goldstein, director of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Institute in the US: ‘Malic acid is safe, inexpensive and it should be considered a valid therapeutic approach for patients with CFS’.   A six-month study was conducted by scientists working at the Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Centre in the US, to examine the efficacy of 1,200mg of malic acid plus 300mg of magnesium a day on 24 fibromyalgia sufferers. Half of the patients were given the active treatment, while the other half only received placebo.   At the end of the study, all of the patients treated with malic acid and magnesium experienced significant improvement in their symptoms – including less pain, reduced muscle stiffness and a more positive mental outlook – without any side effects.

One of the possible reasons that the Roman empire collapsed in my opinion, was due to the legions running out of posca (wine or cider vinegar with honey and spices).  Posca acted as a source of calories, an anti-scorbutic (anti-scurvy medication due to its vitamin C content) and an anti-parasitic.  Nothing stops an army quicker than dysentery (diarrhea) due to contaminated water supplies.  Adding honey to ACV makes its effects stronger.

A recipe for posca is 1½ cups ACV, ½ cup honey, 1tbsp crushed coriander seed and 4 cups of water.  Heat up the water to boiling, then add the crushed coriander seeds and boil for 5-10min, then stir in the honey until it is fully dissolved, followed by the ACV. Crushed coriander seeds are bactericidal, fungicidal, anti-diarrhea and stomach function promoting.  However, too much of a good thing is as bad as not enough.  No more than one cup of posca or 2 tablespoons of ACV should be taken daily without the supervision of a health care professional.

Perhaps this particular bitter sourpuss is actually kinda sweet.

Be well.

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