Medicinal Vinegars & Shrubs!

Medicinal vinegar and shrubsAuthor: Lily Mazzarella MS, CNS
Vinegar: From the French for "sour wine." Vinegar is an aqueous, fermented solution, containing 5-20% acetic acid. Vinegar has been used to extract and preserve plants for 3000-5000 years!

Medicinal vinegar: A fluid preparation of a botanical in which vinegar is the solvent. Vinegar extracts many plant constituents reasonably well, especially minerals. A medicinal vinegar can be used topically (eg, Queen of Hungary's Water, mugwort vinegar liniment, hair vinegars) or internally (eg, Fire Cider, mineral-rich vinegar).

Oxymel: A medicinal preparation of botanicals, vinegar, and honey.

Shrub: "Drinking vinegar." A beverage vinegar, mixed with soda water and/or spirits. The traditional components of a shrub are fruit, sugar, and vinegar, often in equal parts. One ounce of the shrub is diluted with 5-8 oz of neutral fluid, such as sparkling water.


Supported by studies, in humans

  • Hypoglycemic effect. Ingestion of ACV lowers post-meal blood sugar and reduces morning fasting blood sugar. 1-2 oz/day
  • Weight loss and visceral fat loss. 1-2 oz per day
  • Anti-bacterial effect (restricts the growth of E. coli)
  • In animals: reduces blood pressure and cholesterol

Folk uses

  • Internal for muscle cramps and spasm
  • Internal and topical for rosacea
  • Digestive aid—normalizing to stomach acid production. ACV appears to have benefits when there are low stomach acid and overproduction of stomach acid.
  • Deodorant—brushed with a cotton ball or sprayed into armpits
  • Rinse for hair health—growth and shine
  • Topical as a skin toner for health and beauty
  • Internal for liver "cleansing" and detoxing
  • Topically for fever—ACV soaked socks!
  • A solvent for extracting herbs, such as nettle, mugwort, and Fire Cider brew!
  • Internal for allergies—food and seasonal, especially when mixed with raw local honey

For more recipes: Strawberry-Mint ShrubMeyer Lemon-Ginger ShrubNo-sugar Celery ShrubSpringtime Mineral Vinegar


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