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Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar

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Brief History

The influence of apple cider vinegar has been investigated for centuries. It was first used about 5, 000 years ago. In the year 400 B.C., Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, prescribed the mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar for the treatment of various diseases. It has been particularly used during the American Civil War for disinfecting the wounds of soldiers.

Apple cider vinegar is widely used in the world. Nevertheless, scientific information about the biological effects of apple cider vinegar as a traditional medicine is inadequate. 

What is it?

Apple cider vinegar, also known as cider vinegar, is a pale medium-coloured vinegar prepared from apples. It is a very light vinegar that is consumable at concentrations of 3-9% and traditional medicine. Apple cider vinegar is fermented apple juice with acetic acid as the main ingredient. 

How is it made?

Apple cider vinegar is based on fermentation. Apples are crushed to produce apple juice. Yeast is added to the juice. The yeast digests the sugar in the juice to make alcohol (ethanol) during alcoholic fermentation. Natural bacteria turn the alcohol into acetic acid, which is where the pungent odour and taste of apple cider vinegar comes from. The following outlines the steps for making apple cider vinegar. 

Steps for making apple cider vinegar:

  • Harvesting: takes place between September and December. This can be done manually or mechanically, depending on the size of the orchid. 
  • Selecting: apples that are firm and ripe are chosen. 
  • Sweating: is an optional mellowing stage where the apples are held in a clean, odour-free environment, and allowed to mellow and soften for a week to ten days. 
  • Washing: after the apples have mellowed, they are washed to remove leaves, twigs, insects, spray residues, and hazardous bacteria.
  • Grinding: high-speed rotary blades are used to slice and ground the apples, reducing them to juice and pulp.
  • Pressing: is the commercial manufacturing of apple juice goes through three types of presses to separate the juice: the hydraulic press, the screw press, and the belt press.
  • Pasteurisation: is done for 10-15 seconds at 92°C. Ths is done to eliminate all harmful germs.
  • Cooling and filling: the juice extracted is moved to the cooling tanks to remove any pulp fragments. After that, it’s refrigerated and kept at 33° F (0.6° C). This prevents infection by harmful germs. Preservatives, such as potassium sorbate, are added before the juice is transferred to the fermenting tank. 
  • Fermentation: the apple juice ferments in two phases for eight weeks. First, yeast strains perform traditional alcoholic fermentation of carbohydrates into ethanol, followed by acetobacter fermentation to make vinegar. 
  • Racking off: the cider is dumped into the second fermenting tank or directly into bottles using a clean plastic tube. 
  • Filtering: allows the cider to become crystal clear by first avoiding air exposure then removing undesirable yeast, adding gelatin, bentonite, and a pectic enzyme to the cider. 
  • Ageing and bottling: in sterilised bottles enhances the flavour. Sugar can be added to each bottle for in-bottle fermentation. To prevent additional fermentation, the bottle is closed or corked and pasteurised. The addition of sulphur is most commonly used to avoid killing the yeast by pasteurisation after adding sugar. 

The cloudy sediment that collects in the bottom of the bottle is called the mother, which is a combination of bacteria and yeast. The mother is believed to provide the health benefits, as it contains trace amounts of healthy bacteria and probiotics. It is present in unpasteurized or organic apple cider vinegar. 

Health benefits  

Apple cider vinegar contains polyphenolic compounds that have beneficial health effects. Its antioxidant flavonoid content can reduce the harmful effects of high cholesterol diets. 

Apple cider vinegar is likely to contain Pectin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and vitamin c, as they are in apple juice.

According to Beheshti et al., (2012), the consumption of apple cider vinegar can reduce the LDL, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels in patients with hyperlipidemia. Apple cider vinegar can be used to prevent and even treat heart problems.

Apple cider vinegar is taken as a dietary component to treat, manage, or prevent diabetes. Taking apple cider vinegar in addition to oral hypoglycemic drugs, appear to be promising for glycolic control in patients with Type 2 diabetes and for diabetes related medical conditions


Apple cider vinegar has been used traditionally for the following: 

  • It is used to treat hyperlipidemia, which is known as a risk factor for atherosclerosis. 
  • It is used in vaginal douching to treat chronic vaginal candidiasis.
  • It is used to treat yeast (fungal) infection. 
  • It is used to treat acid reflux.
  • It is used to treat and regulate blood pressure. 
  • It is used to manage diabetes.
  • It is used as a natural antibiotic because it eliminates undesired bacteria.
  • It is used to cleanse the hair and skin. 
  • It is used as a detoxifying drink.
  • It is used to boost weight loss, it reduces sugar cravings. 
  • It is used to wash fruits and vegetables. 

Honey is used to enhance the flavour of apple cider vinegar drinks without adding extra calories

Side effects

  • According to preliminary studies, ingesting excess amounts of apple cider vinegar can damage the soft tissues of the mouth, throat, and stomach. 
  • Use with caution when using apple cider vinegar for topical therapy, cleaning solutions, and eye injuries. 

Further reading and references:

  • Beheshti, Z., Chan, Y.H., Nia, H.S., Hajihosseini, F., Nazari, R., Shaabani, M. and Omran, M.S., 2012. Influence of apple cider vinegar on blood lipids. Life Science Journal-Acta Zhengzhou University Overseas Edition, 9(4), pp.2431-2440.
  • Kousar, M., Manzoor, B., Rafiq, A. and Jabeen, A., 2022. A perfect detoxifying drink–Apple cider vinegar. Just Agric, 2, pp.1-8.
  • Lea, A.G., 1989. Cider vinegar. Processed apple products, pp.279-301.
  • Mota, A.C.L.G., de Castro, R.D., de Araújo Oliveira, J. and de Oliveira Lima, E., 2015. Antifungal activity of apple cider vinegar on Candida species involved in denture stomatitis. Journal of Prosthodontics, 24(4), pp.296-302.
  • Ozen, B. and Baser, M., 2017. Vaginal Candidiasis Infection Treated Using Apple Cider Vinegar: A Case Report. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine, 23(7).

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