The discovery of vinegar was most likely a happy accident, realized independently in different parts of the world; a jug of wine or beer was left uncovered too long, and a culinary legend was born. Vinegar’s legacy goes back at least 8000 years; vessels with traces of vinegar dating back to 6000 B.C.E have been found in Egypt and China.
Around 5000 B.C.E., we have written record that the Babylonians used vinegar made with dates both as a preservative and as a condiment, and it was they who began experimenting with flavoured vinegars using herbs & spices. While the versatility of vinegar in the kitchen had already been known for thousands of years, it was Hippocrates (circa 400 B.C.E.) who first started prescribing vinegar for a variety of illnesses and preventive needs.
Apple cider vinegar in specific has been used as a traditional home remedy for a number of years. In 1958, D.C. Jarvis, M.D published his book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health and widespread medicinal use of apple cider vinegar took off. Jarvis recommended apple cider vinegar as a cure-all, explaining that it was unusually rich in potassium. He said that mixing the apple cider vinegar with honey enhanced the healing power of the vinegar. Jarvis also wrote that apple cider vinegar could destroy harmful bacteria in the digestive tract and recommended as a digestive tonic to be consumed with meals.
Since then, apple cider vinegar proponents have touted apple cider vinegar as a natural alternative to modern medicine for everything from weight loss & diabetes to high cholesterol & skin care. People using it for health usually look for unfiltered apple cider vinegar containing the Mother, a web-like substance that naturally occurs during the vinegar making process where the majority of health benefits are thought to originate.