Top 7 uses for apple cider vinegar

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AS one of the world’s oldest and most commonly utilised natural products, it’s no surprise that more and more people are jumping on board the apple cider vinegar bandwagon. Apple cider vinegar — commonly referred to as ACV — is a type of vinegar made from cider or apple must (freshly pressed juice with the seeds, skin and stems) and should have a pale to bronzy amber colour. Its benefits have been touted for centuries as a must-have in households, and it also seems to have made a trendy comeback recently. There’s good reason for it, as there’s nothing much this wonder in a bottle can’t do, be it from beauty to health or for nourishment. Here are just some of the many beneficial uses of apple cider vinegar:

Conditioner
An inexpensive and effective natural remedy to keep your locks shiny and lustrous, ACV works just as well; if not better than your usual conditioner. Not only does it remove any residue and build-up on your mane, it also acts as a natural detangler. To make this simple DIY conditioner, simply mix equal parts of ACV with equal parts of water and pour it all over your hair — substituting it with your usual conditioner. Let it sit for a few minutes, and rinse off as usual. The best part? It only costs a fraction of the price of conditioner and it is environmentally friendly.

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Insecticide for pets
There’s nothing more infuriating to a pet owner than pesky fleas and ticks. One fuss-free way to rid your furry friends of these parasites is with a simple concoction of ACV and water. Pour equal amounts of ACV and water into a spray bottle and shake well (or less water if you want a stronger mix), before generously spritzing it all over the coats of your canines and felines. This may be done right after shampooing, and can be left for as long as your pets are patient. Rinsing it off with shampoo is optional, though the smell can be rather strong. The ACV will act as a poison to kill off the parasites, or keep them at bay with its odour. Be sure to check with your vet first though, as some pets have sensitive skin and some may suffer side effects.

Getting rid of warts
If you’ve ever suffered the misfortune of getting warts on any part of your body, you’ll know how inconvenient, not to mention uncomfortable they can be — especially when they turn up unexpectedly. ACV works like a charm in getting rid of them and quickly, too. Douse a cotton ball with the vinegar and secure it on your wart with a band-aid or cellophane tape. Leave it overnight and re-do the treatment daily until you notice that the wart has turned black and fallen off (usually takes a few weeks). The only downside is that the process will sting.

Natural deodorant
Want to stay fresh without the constant use of chemicals and unnatural elements contained in antiperspirants? ACV also works effectively as a natural deodoriser for both your underarms and feet.  In a small spray-bottle, mix equal parts of it with water, then spritz on a cotton ball before applying it. Alternatively, you can also fill up an old roll-on deodorant stick and apply it. There will be a vinegar smell for a few minutes, but it should fade. However, you may need to reapply after half a day.

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Detox juice
This is perhaps the most favoured and common use of ACV. One of the best ways to detox your body is with this goodness in a bottle. When consumed, ACV not only helps with digestion and overall well-being, but there have been testimonies of signs of weight loss as well. Stir one teaspoon into a glass of lukewarm water and drink before your main meal. Bear in mind that pure, undiluted ACV has a strong acidic and sour taste, somewhat like bad apple juice or stale wine. For those who are put off by the taste, add in a teaspoon of pure, unsweetened honey.

Eliminating dandruff
Keep your scalp flake-free with this one ingredient and never fret about dandruff again. ACV is rich in malic acid and powerful enzymes that ward off bacteria and fungus that cause dandruff. Part your hair and, using an ACV-soaked cotton ball, apply the liquid evenly all over your scalp, making sure to coat all the follicles. Cover your ACV infused hair in a shower cap and rinse off after an hour, preferably without shampoo or conditioner. Be careful to avoid any open wounds.

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Salad dressing
The simplest and tastiest use for ACV is of course as salad dressing. If you love a nutritious, tangy touch on your greens, just add a tablespoon or so (depending on portion and preference) to your usual salad dressing. This goes well with a variety of salads, including apricot salad, garden salad or your good old-fashioned Caesar salad.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 20, 2014.