Posted on October 5, 2012 by Gillian
Banoosh | August 2012
Garrett, also known as The Dirt Doctor, has compiled a number of uses
for vinegar, including recipes for both internal use and use in your
organic garden, which I will share with you here.
“Vinegar is a wonderful organic tool that was discovered by accident
10,000 years ago when wine was accidentally allowed to ferment too long
and turned sour,” he writes.
“It can be made from many products, including beer, apples, berries,
beets, corn, fruits, grains, honey, malt, maple syrup, melons, molasses,
potatoes, rice, sorghum, and other foods containing sugar.
Natural sugars from these food products are fermented into alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar.”
… The product label will identify the starting ingredients, such as
“apple cider vinegar” or “wine vinegar.” Malt vinegar is made from the
fermentation of barley malt or other cereal grains. Sugar vinegar is
made from sugar, syrup, or molasses.
White, spirit, or distilled vinegar is
made by fermenting distilled alcohol. Distilled white vinegar is made
from 190 proof alcohol that is fermented by adding sugar and living
… Vinegar that is made from the petroleum derivative, 99 percent acetic acid, is not acceptable in an organic program.”
The name “vinegar” comes from the French words for “sour wine.” But
it’s important to realize that not all vinegars are created equally.
Some can benefit your health when taken internally, while others should
only be used for tasks such as cleaning, or horticultural purposes,
while others are best avoided altogether.
White Vinegar—A Great Non-Toxic Cleaner and Herbicide Ingredient
Distilled white vinegar is the type of vinegar you’ll want to use for
cleaning and laundry. Toward the end of this article I’ll also share
Garrett’s recipe for a non-toxic weed killer formula, which calls for
white vinegar. Vinegar and water makes an excellent window cleaner, for
example, and vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally
well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer. According to Garrett:
“Sprinkling white vinegar atop a dusting of baking soda is terrific
for cleaning sinks, tubs, tile floors and other surfaces. For cleaning,
it can be diluted with water as much as 50-50. For the herbicide, it
should be used full strength. In all cases, the products to buy in this
category are true vinegars made by distilling grain alcohol. For the
purists, there is organic white vinegar made from corn.”
Avoid 20% Vinegar
Garrett warns against using 20 percent vinegar, which is made from 99
percent glacial ascetic acid, stating it’s far stronger than you’d ever
really need, in addition to being overly expensive. Perhaps more
importantly, this type of vinegar is actually a petroleum derivative,
which is dangerous to breathe and can be damaging to your eyes and skin.
“One final warning is that some of the 10 percent vinegars being sold
to naïve organic gardeners are the fake 20 percent product that has
been cut with water. Proper vinegars should have on the label that they
are made from distilled grain alcohol or other similar language
indicating natural products from distilling,” Garrett warns.
Apple Cider Vinegar—Good for Your Health
The cider vinegars, made from fermenting fruits such as apples, have
little value as cleaners or herbicides. Instead, these are the types of
vinegar associated with a number of different health benefits when taken
internally. There are two basic categories of cider vinegars:
- Regular apple cider vinegar
- Organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” included
When purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you’ll want to avoid the
perfectly clear, “sparkling clean” varieties you commonly see on grocery
store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar, which is murky and brown.
When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like
substance floating in it. This is known as “mother,” and it indicates
your vinegar is of good quality. While it may look suspicious at first,
in this case, it’s the murky looking stuff you want. As with everything
else, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is, and this
holds true for apple cider vinegar.
Surprisingly enough, while apple cider vinegar has historically been
prized for its health benefits, little research has been done to
evaluate its therapeutic actions. However, lack of scientific studies is
a common problem for many natural and alternative therapies.
Perhaps the most researched and the most promising of apple cider
vinegar’s benefits are in the area of type 2 diabetes. Several studies
have found that vinegar may help lower blood glucose levels. In 2004, a
study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation’s publication Diabetes
Care  found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased
insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose
spikes that occur after meals. The study involved 29 people, divided
into three groups:
One third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
One third had prediabetic signs.
One third were healthy.
The results were quite significant:
All three groups had better blood glucose readings with the vinegar than with the placebo.
People with prediabetic symptoms benefittedthe most from the vinegar, cutting their blood glucose concentrations by nearly half.
People with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25 percent with vinegar.
People with prediabetic symptoms had lower blood glucose than the healthy participants after both drank vinegar.
A follow-up study geared at testing vinegar’s long-term effects
yielded an unexpected but pleasant side effect: moderate weight loss. In
this study, participants taking two tablespoons of vinegar prior to two
meals per day lost an average of two pounds over the four-week period,
and some lost up to four pounds. In 2007, another study cited by WebMD
 involving 11 people with type 2 diabetes found taking two
tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in
the morning by 4 to 6 percent. Although the research to date looks
favorable, more studies are needed to confirm the extent of vinegar’s
insulin stabilization benefits.
Other Apple Cider Vinegar “Cures”
Although this article and many others advocate the benefits of using
vinegar therapeutically, I really think that this is an inferior
approach. From my perspective it would be far better to use large
quantities of fermented foods to get these types of acids because you
will then also help to recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria.
However, vinegar is easier and certainly safe to use, so you can put
your toe in the water by trying it first. Garrett, however, has been a
long-time proponent of vinegar, recommending it for a number of uses.
“Apple cider vinegar might cure more ailments than any other folk
remedy,” he writes. Vinegar apparently provides at least some cures for
allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections,
acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, Candida, acid reflux, sore
throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, gout and the list goes on… It
also brings a healthy, rosy glow to the complexion and can cure rough
scaly skin. Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for animals, including
dogs, cats and horses. It helps with arthritic conditions, controls
fleas, repels flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats.”
As an example, Garrett has shared the following recipe with me, which can help soothe a sore throat:
“Use 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of
honey and 16 oz. water, and warm to sipping temperature and sip. Adding
juice from chopped ginger can be used for more power.”
What Can Account for Apple Cider Vinegar’s Health Benefits?
Many who tout apple cider vinegar’s wide-ranging benefits claim its
healing power comes from the abundance of nutrients that remain after
the apples are fermented. However, standard nutritional analyses of
apple cider vinegar have found it to be a surprisingly poor source of
most nutrients. For example, the one milligram of calcium found in a
tablespoon of apple cider vinegar does not come close to the 1,000
milligrams a typical adult needs each day.
It has also been claimed that soluble fiber in the vinegar, in the
form of pectin, binds to cholesterol and helps carry it out of your
body, thereby improving your lipid profile. However, apple cider vinegar
contains no measurable pectin or any other fiber, for that matter.
Its magic can also not be traced to vitamin content. According to the
US Department of Agriculture (USDA), apple cider vinegar has no
measurable vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin,
riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, or folate — and
it’s equally lacking in amino acids, lycopene, or any other nutritional
Still, despite the fact that it’s devoid of many of the traditionally
valued nutrients, evidence of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits has
been witnessed for hundreds — maybe thousands — of years. So, what can
explain this mysteriously beneficial elixir?
It may be partially related to the fact that vinegar is a diluted
acid, specifically acetic acid, which help to normalize your body’s pH.
This likely improves nutrition, by optimizing your gut flora and helping
eradicate pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria, and by serving as
growth accelerators for beneficial bacteria that typically thrive in
more acid environments. This is also one of the reasons why eating
fermented foods is so important.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs
Pet care is another area where vinegar can be a useful, non-toxic, all-natural tool. According to Garrett:
Vinegar is a remedy with multiple uses for dogs including alleviating
allergies and arthritis, and helping to provide the correct pH balance.
You can give apple cider vinegar to any animal by simply adding it to
If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly
washes its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, an
application of apple cider vinegar can help. For poor appetite, use it
in the food at 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 50 lb. dog. For itchy
skin or the beginning hot spots, put apple cider vinegar into a spray
bottle, part the hair and spray on. Any skin eruption will dry up in as
soon as 24 hours and shaving the dog won’t be necessary – which is good
because I never recommend that. If the skin is already broken, dilute
apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and spray on.
Taken internally, apple cider vinegar is credited with maintaining
the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract. I take a large
spoonful straight or in my “witches brew” in the morning that I drink at
least once a day.
Another tip is if you have a dog that has clear, watery discharge
from the eyes, a runny nose, or coughs with a liquid sound, use apple
cider vinegar in his or her food. One teaspoon twice a day for a 50 lb.
dog will do the job.
After grooming sessions, use a few drops in dogs’ ears after cleaning
them to avoid ear infections. Fleas, flies, ticks and bacteria,
external parasites, ring worm, fungus, staphylococcus, streptococcus,
pneumococcus, mange, etc. are unlikely to inhabit a dog whose system is
acidic inside and out.
Should you ever experience any of these with your dog, bathe with a
nice gentle herbal shampoo – one that you would use on your own hair –
rinse thoroughly with vinegar, and then sponge on apple cider vinegar
diluted with equal amounts of warm water. Allow your dog to drip dry. It
is not necessary to use harsh chemicals for minor flea infestations.
All fleas drown in soapy water and the apple cider vinegar rinse makes
the skin too acidic for a re-infestation. If you are worried about
picking up fleas when you take your dog away from home, keep some apple
cider vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray your dog before you leave
home and when you get back. For raw spots caused by excessive licking,
use a few drops in water, and sponge the affected areas with apple cider
Horticultural Uses for Vinegar
Vinegar can also be used to control weeds in your garden. According to Garrett:
To keep the weeds out of a decorative or utility gravel area, the
best approach is to design them out from the beginning or use organic
products later to kill the weeds. Salt, toxic herbicides and bleach
should never be used because they contaminate the soil long term. They
also leach into the water stream. To head off the problem, install the
gravel in a thick layer – 6 to 8 inches after scraping away all grasses
Any weeds that grow through the gravel can be sprayed and killed with
a mix of 10 percent pickling vinegar mixed with 2 ounces orange oil and
1 teaspoon liquid soap or you can use commercial organic herbicides.
Vinegar sprays can also be used to kill weeds in the cracks in sidewalks
and driveways. The best choice for herbicide use is 10 percent white
vinegar made from grain alcohol. It should be used full strength. Avoid
products that are made from 99 percent glacial acetic acid. This
material is a petroleum derivative. Natural vinegars such those made
from fermenting apples have little herbicidal value.
1 gallon of 10 percent (100 grain) vinegar
Add 1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene
Add 1 tablespoon molasses (optional – some say it doesn’t help)
1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant (I use Bio Wash)
Do not add water
Shake well before each spraying and spot spray weeds. Keep the spray
off desirable plants. This spray will injure any plant it touches. This
natural spray works best on warm to hot days. Vinegar sprayed on the
bases of trees and other woody plants will not hurt the plant at all.
This technique was first learned about by spraying the suckers and weeds
growing around the bases of grapevines.
If your water is alkaline, add 1 tablespoon of 50-grain (5 percent)
natural apple cider vinegar to each gallon of water to improve the
quality of the water for potted plants and bedding. This doesn’t have to
be done with every watering, though it wouldn’t hurt. This technique is
especially helpful when trying to grow acid-loving plants such as
gardenias, azaleas, and dogwoods. A tablespoon of vinegar per gallon
added to the sprayer when foliar feeding lawns, shrubs, flowers, and
trees is also highly beneficial, especially where soil or water is
alkaline. The other horticultural use for vinegar is in the watering
Other Uses for Vinegar
Last but not least, vinegar can be used to remove certain pesticides
and bacteria from your fresh produce. Of course, you don’t need apple
cider vinegar for this—any basic white vinegar will do. Gayle Povis
Alleman, MS, RD recommends a solution of 10 percent vinegar to 90
percent water as a bath to briefly soak produce . Just place your
veggeis or fruit in the solution, swish it around, and rinse thoroughly.
Just don’t use this process on fragile fruits (like berries), since
they could be damaged in the process or soak up too much vinegar through
their porous skins.
Apple cider vinegar has also long been used as a natural hair care
product. Its acidity is close to that of human hair; it’s a good
conditioner and cleaning agent, as well as an effective germ killer. You
can visit apple-cider-vinegar-benefits.com for information on how to
make a vinegar hair rinse.
While we need a great deal more research to investigate vinegar’s
full healing potential, it can certainly be useful in a variety of ways,
for a variety of conditions. It’s definitely a great multi-purpose tool
to have in your pantry.
Thanks to: http://shiftfrequency.com