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Apple cider vinegar has been a traditional home remedy for arthritis for thousands of years. Being easily available and not prohibitively expensive, apple cider vinegar’s healing and health-promoting properties were probably discovered by trial and error, but it’s been tested and proven time and again. Modern medicine may discredit it, citing lack of scientific evidence, but the positive experience of people is its greatest recommendation.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, the British explorer, swears by a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey for curing his arthritis symptoms, as well as those of his mothers.
Why apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar mainly consists of acetic acid, which gives it the sharp, tart taste. Acetic acid does help increase the absorption of calcium into the body and also provides an alkalizing effect when metabolized. However, all the beneficial effects of apple cider vinegar don’t come from acetic acid alone. It also contains many vitamins and minerals.
Apple cider vinegar contains high amounts of antioxidant chemicals, especially powerful polyphenolic compounds such as catechin, epicatechin, quercetin, and chlorogenic acid. They are responsible for its unparalleled healing power. Since these beneficial substances that pass from the fruit into the cider get further enhanced by microbial action as it turns into vinegar, the adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ may be even truer here.
What type of apple cider vinegar is best for arthritis?
Apple cider vinegar can lessen the pain and swelling of the joints that characterizes different types of arthritis. However, not all types of apple cider vinegar are effective. You need to use pure vinegar naturally fermented from apple cider. As a matter of fact, any fruit juice or other carbohydrate-rich liquids that can be turned into ethyl alcohol (ethanol) by fermentation can be further fermented to get vinegar. It usually undergoes filtering and pasteurization before appearing on shop shelves. But this processing robs the vinegar of many of its natural healing properties.
Use raw, organic apple cider vinegar that is unfiltered and unprocessed. It should contain what is called the “mother of vinegar,” which gives the liquid a cloudy appearance. It is an active complex of polysaccharides, acetic acid bacteria, and fungi that continue to produce B-complex vitamins and other beneficial compounds. In fact, you can use this to make vinegar from apple juice or cider.
Braggs Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with “The Mother” is widely regarded as the best apple cider vinegar available. You can get it here on Amazon.
Which type of arthritis can be treated with apple cider vinegar?
There are over one hundred types and subtypes of arthritis. In fact, arthritis simply means inflammation of joints; it can be due to various reasons. However, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and psoriatic arthritis are some of the most commonly seen joint problems.
This age-associated degenerative condition affects major joints such as hips, knees, and hands. Osteoarthritis results from the mechanical wear and tear of the joint structures, particularly the cartilage that covers the tips of bones. Mostly affecting middle-aged and older people, it is a major cause of loss of movement and disability. Since this condition is irreversible, and the only definitive treatment is a joint replacement, the focus is on managing the pain and discomfort and reducing further deterioration. That’s where apple cider vinegar comes in.
How to use ACV for osteoarthritis: Taking the vinegar, along with some raw honey to make it more palatable, is one of the best home remedies for osteoarthritis.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of ACV to plain water or an herbal tea and sweeten the drink with honey in a 1:1 or 2:1 ratio depending on your tolerance. You might see a significant difference in as little as a few weeks of using this remedy.
This type of arthritis is quite common and is characterized by stiffness in the joints accompanied by pain and marked reduction in range of motion of the affected joints. It can affect anyone, irrespective of age. The stiffness affects the small joints more often and is more marked in the morning. Prolonged joint stiffness as one gets out of bed is, in fact, the identifying feature of this diseases. This is an autoimmune condition can affect internal organs as well.
The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, but free radical damage and toxins accumulating in the body are considered risk factors. Mineral deficiencies, especially the deficiency of calcium and magnesium exacerbate the condition. Conventional treatment involves taking certain drugs referred to as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs or DMARDs as well as steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs help reduce the inflammation of the joints and pain, but they do have grave side effects, especially when used long-term.
Apple cider vinegar has been found to be very effective in relieving the painful symptoms of this condition. Being a good diuretic and laxative, apple cider vinegar helps eliminate toxins from the body. It is also rich in antioxidant substances that help counteract free radical damage that triggers immune reactions.
Apple cider vinegar contains minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus and some vitamins. The mineral content in the vinegar may be low, but what’s important is that it promotes the absorption of minerals from food. Vinegar containing ‘mother’ is an excellent prebiotic that helps the intestinal flora. These microbes residing in the intestines are thought to play a serious role in immune modulation.
How to use ACV for rheumatoid arthritis: Besides drinking apple cider vinegar with honey once or twice a day, you can use it topically for local pain relief. Add 2 cups of ACV to your bath water and sit in it for 30 minutes before going to bed. This will help reduce morning stiffness.
A mixture of the vinegar in oil can be used externally on affected joints to bring relief. Add two parts of apple cider vinegar to 1 part of coconut oil or olive oil and massage the mixture in.
Gout is a cause of the joint pain and inflammation of the joints, especially in the limbs, when uric acid crystals accumulate. Excess uric acid in the blood due to the breakdown of purines that come from certain protein-rich foods such as meat and seafood, and its inefficient removal by the kidneys, is the main cause of gout. It is a very painful condition, often appearing suddenly, sometimes in sleep. People who have gout often report that regular use of apple cider vinegar help avoid episodes.
The acetic acid content of the vinegar is thought to be the main agent here. It alkalizes the body and helps neutralize the uric acid and prevents the formation of needle-like crystals.
How to use ACV for gout: A classic gout-relief recipe is taking 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water twice a day. Make sure that the vinegar is natural, unfiltered, and unpasteurized, and that it contains the ‘mother.’
To get immediate pain relief at the site of inflammation, cover the area with a washcloth dipped in apple cider vinegar. Soaking your feet in a foot bath containing 1 cup vinegar in 4 cups warm water also helps.
This is a type of arthritis most commonly seen in people who have active psoriasis or family history of this disorder. Psoriasis usually appears as patches of dry, flaky skin with itching or burning sensation. When occurring on the scalp, psoriasis often looks like an aggressive form of dandruff. Apple cider vinegar has a long history of being used topically to relieve the itching and burning, and it is reportedly quite effective.
People who have psoriatic arthritis often fail to get a correct diagnosis. The exact cause of psoriasis is not known, but it is considered an autoimmune condition like rheumatoid arthritis. Even if it’s correctly diagnosed, there’s no curative treatment for either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, so these conditions are often treated with immune-suppressing drugs. If one already has psoriasis and then develops pain in the joints, it is a good idea to use apple cider vinegar regularly.
How to use ACV for psoriatic arthritis: Apple cider vinegar can be incorporated into your daily diet by using it for pickling and as salad dressing in place of white vinegar. It offers many other health benefits like blood sugar control in diabetics and prediabetics and weight reduction. Since diabetes and obesity are known risk factors for arthritis, it may indirectly help reduce the symptoms. The effectiveness of apple cider vinegar can be further enhanced by mixing it with other naturally anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, tart cherry juice and grape juice.
Ready to try apple cider vinegar to ease symptoms of arthritis? Pick up a bottle of Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar from this page on Amazon.
Caution: Apple cider vinegar is strongly acidic in nature and can damage tooth enamel when it is taken regularly. The diuretic effect may deplete the potassium stores in the body, so make sure that you include potassium-rich foods in the diet.
Although it is often used to treat heartburn, the acid may act as a stomach irritant for some people, especially when taken at high concentrations. Use a straw to minimize contact with teeth. Mix it with water or tea, and add honey or stevia for taste. Start with smaller doses and increase gradually as you develop tolerance.
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