Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries to fight coughs and colds, but not all vinegars are created equal. The key to the natural remedy’s health benefits are held in a cobweb-like substance known as “The Mother”. Here, we explain what The Mother is, how it may help improve digestion and even boost your immune system.
What is The Mother in Apple Cider Vinegar?
You can see Mother as a cloudy substance floating in some bottles of vinegar. The Mother is believed to be rich in health-boosting natural protein, healthy bacteria and acetic acid.
It forms naturally as raw organic vinegar ferments, producing a murky, brownish vinegar. If a vinegar looks crystal clear it’s been filtered and pasteurised to remove The Mother and most of its nutrients.
It’s said “Father of Modern Medicine”, Hippocrates, used apple cider vinegar for cleaning wounds and relieving coughs. So why has this folk remedy remained popular since Ancient Greece?
We’ve listed some of the health-enhancing properties of The Mother.
- It could help improve digestion
Like other fermented foods, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar contains healthy bacteria – the gut-friendly bacteria that helps to keep your digestive system working properly. Cider vinegar could provide relief for those with stomach problems like indigestion or heartburn. This is because it neutralises stomach acid whilst acetic acid fights harmful bacteria.
- It could support your immune system
Prevention is better than cure, so protecting your immune system means you’re more likely to ward off diseases and infections. And here’s where the healthy bacteria in raw cider vinegar come into play. Studies have found that healthy bacteria could help you recover sooner if you do get sick.
- It could help boost the condition of your hair
If you have dry, brittle hair or an itchy scalp, replacing your usual shampoo with a bottle of unfiltered cider vinegar could give you more manageable tresses. Research found that using high alkaline shampoos leads to hair breakage and dryness. The acetic acid in The Mother is thought to help lower our hair’s pH to combat that dry, frizzy feel. Plus, raw cider vinegar is antimicrobial which means it may help control bacteria which leads to scalp itchiness.
- It could help improve your skin and nail health
Thanks to its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties, apple cider vinegar is used as a natural treatment for healthier skin and nails. Applied as a toner, it may help to balance the skin’s pH and has an exfoliating effect that smooths and softens. And, for rough, cracked heels or mild fungal nail infections, apple cider vinegar is commonly used as a foot soak.
- It helps lower blood sugar levels
Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is important and studies have shown that the acetic acid found in cider vinegar could be beneficial. In fact, drinking 4 teaspoons of vinegar before a high-carb meal helped to prevent blood sugar spikes. And if you’re counting your calories, research found that acetic acid stops your body from absorbing the calories from carbs.
How to use it
Vinegar is as delicious drizzled on your Friday night fish and chips. But beyond the usual, here are some wonderful ways to get the most out of apple cider vinegar:
As a daily drink
Stir two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into a large glass of water before bedtime. But remember, always dilute it before drinking. On its own, vinegar’s acidic nature means it can be harsh on your throat and damage your teeth.
As an alternative to salt
Trying to cut down on your sodium intake? Swap salt for a dash of apple cider vinegar to enhance the flavour of your usual meals.
As a salad dressing
Whisk it together with olive oil, honey and lemon juice trickled over crisp salad leaves.
As a steam facial treatment
Facial steaming opens your pores and helps to clear impurities. To take the treatment to the next level, simply add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a bowl of hot, boiled water. Cover your head with a towel and sit over the steam for up to 15 minutes. When you’re done splash your face with cool water and gently pat your skin dry.
As a skin cleanser and toner
Why not switch your usual skin care products for an all-natural alternative? After rinsing your face with water, finish by wiping with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Before attempting this, do a patch test to prevent any skin irritation.
As a cleansing hair rinse
For a boost of moisture and shine that soothes an itchy scalp, apple cider vinegar is just the thing for thirsty hair. First, mix equal quantities of apple cider vinegar and water in a bottle. After washing your hair as usual, pour on the mix then rinse with water for softer, cleansed hair.
As a foot soak
There’s nothing like an at-home spa treatment after a long day. And if you’re dealing with cracked heels, foot odour or fungal infections, soaking your feet in unfiltered vinegar could help. To try, add one-part vinegar and two parts warm water to your foot bath. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes for smooth, silky skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar Products containing The Mother
Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother
Raw and unfiltered, this vinegar is made from organically grown apples. Loaded with protein and probiotics found in The Mother, it adds a delicious, tangy flavour to salads, sauces and even soups.
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar with Honey and The Mother
Bragg have combined their unfiltered apple cider vinegar with organic honey for a uniquely flavoursome blend. Packed with all the nutritional benefits of The Mother, it tastes great as a salad dressing, cereal topping or diluted as a refreshing drink.
Aspall Raw Organic Unfiltered Cyder Vinegar with The Mother
Great for gluten-free or vegan diets, Aspall Cyder Vinegar is raw, unfiltered and free from preservatives. Ideal for using in cooking or as a natural beauty aid, we like it mixed with crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil and mustard to make a sharp vinaigrette.
Comvita Manuka Honey & Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have a sweet tooth, try Comvita’s mellow fusion of New Zealand 5+ UMF Manuka honey and unpasteurised apple cider vinegar. It harnesses the rich nutrients found in Manuka honey and The Mother to support your health from the inside out.
Discover the health and nutritional benefits of The Mother for yourself, shop our range of Food and Drink.