By Molly Mann, DiveinCaroline
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what about apple cider vinegar (ACV)? It seems like every time I turn around, I’m reading something new about its miraculous healing benefits, and grocery stores now stock it in both the condiment and the vitamin aisles. Is ACV a modern-day snake oil, or is there something to all the hype?
A Long History of Healing
Though ACV has become big news only recently, its healing properties are nothing novel. In Apple Cider Vinegar: History and Folklore, Victoria Rose writes that people all over the world have used the liquid to treat various ailments for at least ten thousand years. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and a preservative. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and his fellow Greeks and Romans relied on its healing properties. ACV has also been found in Egyptian urns dating back to 3,000 BC.
More recently, medieval Parisians used ACV as a deodorant and healing tonic, believing it capable of preserving youth. Japanese samurai also drank it for vitality. Christopher Columbus carried the liquid in barrels aboard his ships because it helped to prevent scurvy—though vitamin C wasn’t actually discovered until much later, in 1933—and American Civil War doctors used it to clean wounds and sterilize instruments.
Americans started using ACV in the 1950s, after author D.C. Jarvis promoted it in his best-selling book, Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health, as a kitchen remedy for head lice and poor digestion, among other afflictions. Then its popularity took off as part of the alternative-medicine movement of recent years.