Vinegar Uses and Health Benefits
Vinegar in French is called “vin aigre” which means sour wine. It is quite amazing to know that vinegar is in use for over 10,000 years. Ancient records show that around 5000 BC, vinegar was used as a condiment and preservative by the Babylonians. Commercial production of vinegar started around 2000 BC and it was used for treating scurvy in the American civil war. For treating wounds in World War I, vinegar was used. All through the centuries, vinegar was prepared from several ingredients like dates, molasses, sorghum, berries, melons, coconut, beer, potatoes, maple syrup, malt, whey and beets. Whatever the material may be, the core principle is unchanged. Vinegar which is basically a dilute form of acetic acid, is made by fermenting natural sugars into alcohol and later in the process of secondary fermentation, it is made into vinegar.
Important varieties of vinegar
There are several types of vinegar available in the market today. The most commonly used ones are made from apple cider. Other varieties like white wine vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rich black fig vinegar etc. are also in use. For further enhancing the flavour, various spices and herbs are added to vinegar.
Health benefits of vinegar
Vinegar has been used for several curative and medicinal purposes since several years. Vinegar forms an important ingredient in home remedies. There are several claims which say that vinegar can increase the life span, lessen symptoms of osteoporosis, arthritis and also treat dementia. Though all these claims cannot be proven, one fact which is undisputed is that vinegar has several medicinal properties. Many health benefits associated with vinegar are listed below:
- Heartburn: Take one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for getting relief from acid indigestion and heartburn.
- For stings: For bee or jellyfish stings, you have to douse the area with vinegar. You can get relief from itching and irritation.
- Itchy and dry skin: Add around two tablespoons of vinegar to the water take bath for a relief from itchy and dry skin condition.
- Dandruff: After cleaning the hair with a shampoo, make a solution with two cups of warm water and half a cup of vinegar. Rinse your hair with this solution. Read more home remedies for dandruff
- Sore throat: Add a teaspoon of vinegar to a glass of water. You can gargle and swallow the water. Alternatively, you can mix one cup of hot water, one teaspoon vinegar and two tablespoons of honey. Gargle with this mixture and then drink.
- Sunburn: Apply cider or white distilled vinegar on the sunburn affected parts of the skin for a relief.
- Skin burns: Directly apply cold vinegar on the burnt area of the skin. It will prevent the formation of blisters.
- Morning sickness: Mix apple cider vinegar with honey and water. Have this drink in the morning to calm the stomach. Read Battling the Morning Sickness Blues
- Chest congestion: Add few teaspoons of vinegar to steaming hot water. Inhale the vapours. It will help you to lessen the respiratory congestion.
- Itching: Make a paste with cornstarch and vinegar. Apply on the itchy areas and slowly the itchy feeling slowly eases.
- Feet: Add one cup of white distilled vinegar to half a bucket of warm water. Soak you feet for half an hour and then remove the dead skin with a pumice stone.
- Warts: Add one cup of white distilled vinegar to half a bucket of water. Soak the area affected with warts for around 20 minutes. A regular application will give positive results.
Vinegar is also used a cleansing agent in the kitchen and for general floor cleaning purposes as well.
Use of vinegar in the kitchen
- Wash the kitchen tops, cabinets and floors with white distilled vinegar to reduce the invasion of ants.
- For cleaning the microwave, add ¼ cup of white distilled vinegar to a cup of water. Boil it in the microwave. It will deodorize the microwave oven.
- You can pour one cup of white distilled vinegar into the drain once in a week to prevent foul odours. Leave it for half an hour and then flush with normal water.
- You can disinfect wooden chopping boards with full strength white distilled vinegar.
- You can refresh slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in water mixed with vinegar.
- For disinfecting of vegetables and fruits, add two tablespoons of vinegar to half litre of water and use this mixture for washing followed by rinse in normal water. Vinegar kills the bacterial on the vegetables and fruits.
General cleaning in a house
- Floors: Add half a cup of white distilled vinegar to half a bucket of warm water and wash the no-wax floors.
- Windows: Mix equal parts of warm water and white distilled vinegar and clean the windows. Streaks and films on the windows will vanish and the windows will sparkle.
- Washing painted walls: Mix half a cup of cider or white distilled vinegar, one cup of ammonia, quarter cup of baking soda to one gallon of warm water. You can use this solution to wipe painted walls, woodwork or venetian blinds with a cloth or sponge. Later you can clean with normal water. Dirt comes off easily.
- For baby clothes: For one load of baby clothes, add one cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle. The clothes will turn fresh and soft.
- Woolen and cotton blankets: To free these blankets from soapy odour, add two cups of distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle.
- Deodorant stains: Antiperspirant and deodorant stains can be removed from your clothes by applying white distilled vinegar and rubbing the area. Wash the clothes later in the normal procedure.
- To retain colours: Before washing, soak the clothes for few minutes in white distilled vinegar to prevent colours fading away.
- Shower curtain: Add a cup of white distilled vinegar to the water and rinse the shower curtain. Hang it immediately.
- Refrigerator: Clean the refrigerator with equal parts of distilled vinegar and water.
- Lunch box: To remove stale smells from the lunch boxes, take a piece of fresh bread, dampen it with white distilled vinegar. Keep it in the box for one night.