Apple cider vinegar and honey have been experimented with for a variety of human uses. Those uses include weight loss and a wide range of home remedies. Honey, of course, has many fans, but apple cider vinegar also seems to have quite a following!
So why not put them together?
The assumption is (presumably) that by combining apple cider vinegar and honey, you'll get the benefits of both honey and vinegar in one.
Among the claims are:
Anyway, from my investigations, it seems there is evidence to support some claims (or at least merit further investigation), but a lack of evidence to support others.
So first, below I will look at some of the proposed remedies which combine apple cider vinegar and honey.
After that, I take a look at the evidence with regard to claims about nutrition and treatment for ailments, different formats available, and some wider evidence.
I have tried to be as balanced as possible. Please read on!
Combine a glass of water with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of honey, and drink at intervals 3 times a day.
It is said to
dissolve the crystal deposits of uric acid that might otherwise form
between the joints. This in turn may help to deter arthritis.
Whilst I have seen no scientific evidence to support the claims made, I am personally open minded about it, and would be prepared to try it. During my research, I have found that quite a few people with arthritis state that it has helped them.
It would be great to see some research, but I can't imagine a pharmaceutical company ever sponsoring any (and by the way, I used to work in the pharmaceutical industry!).
Clinical trials are extremely expensive, and I'm not sure a pharmaceutical company would be able to own a
patent for the product, nor charge a substantial price versus medicines
they can protect with patents for some years, and sell for higher
Do you have an annoying tickly cough or a cold? Do you have a sore throat? Honey is meant to act to help soothe the cough or soreness in the throat. Antibacterial properties of both honey and vinegar are meant to be beneficial.
Yes, there is evidence for honey and cough
I have no evidence for apple cider vinegar, but there is certainly evidence that honey on its own, is a natural anti-tussive (cough suppressant). Indeed, when I worked in the pharma industry, one of the companies I worked for had a cough remedy containing honey. The clinical product expert told me that it was because of the anti-tussive properties. Whilst I don't have the relevant clinical studies from so long ago, I can refer to more recent studies:
US study (4): Paul et al (2007): "Significant differences in symptom improvement were detected between treatment groups, with honey consistently scoring the best and no treatment scoring the worst. In paired comparisons, honey was significantly superior to no treatment for cough frequency and the combined score".
Study from 2012 9n Israel (5):
Parents of 300 children 1 to 5 years old reported that cough
frequency, cough severity, bothersome nature of cough, and child and
parent sleep quality improved after treatment in the groups that
Although the study was financially supported by the local honey board,
its methods seem solid, and the results are encouraging for future
evaluation of honey as a supportive measure for children with cough.
Recipe for a tickly cough:
Just mix honey with a little cider vinegar in warm water and sip as required.
Or just try the honey on its own!
Test the solution on a small patch of skin first, to check for allergies before you try it on your face. There are mixed reports as to whether this works. I have never tried it. I suspect it has a very strong odour!
Certainly, honey is a humectant and both have antibacterial properties. You can read more about the beauty benefits of honey here (opens new window) - or read on to get to the scientifically proven part.
Mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of honey, together with 4 tablespoons of warm water, then allow it to cool. Use to cleanse the face with a cotton wool pad, then rinse thoroughly.
Again, the antibacterial properties are believed to be beneficial, but once more, be certain you are not allergic to either ingredient! Beware of infections requiring further treatment.
Mix a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar together, and apply to skin. See this information for dealing with bee stings, and for further information about first aid for wasp stings go here, and in particular, for further information about allergic reactions to stings.
Can honey and apple cider vinegar help you lose weight, burn fat deposits, and shed the pounds?
There are various claims made, regarding its use as an appetite suppressant, and research which could point to anti-fat fighting properties.
If you are interested in weight loss, then definitely see my page: apple cider vinegar and honey diet. This page provides a full recipe, a summary of the research (that's right, the research) I have found, and tips for taking this diet, in particular, how to make it more palatable!
If you have diabetes and have a found a recipe for diabetes which suggests combining honey and vinegar, please disregard it immediately. Honey is not recommended for diabetics.
However, there is some very interesting research regarding the use of apple cider vinegar alone.
Would I consider taking it if I had Type 2 diabetes? After consulting with my doctor, probably I might personally be prepared to try it.
Apple cider vinegar and honey for colitis
'2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of honey mixed with water, three times daily' - that's the recipe I came across, but not something I would ever recommend. Better still, SEE YOUR DOCTOR!
Honey and apple cider vinegar for acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion and GORD
I have found no evidence to support this claim whatsoever, and the problem is, I have found that sometimes it is supported by a strange assertion that these conditions are caused by "too little stomach acid" (not true), so that taking more acid in the form of vinegar, would help. This was the area I worked in within the pharma industry, and this assertion about "too little stomach acid" is false according to the knowledge I gained, backed up by official, independent medical literature.
There is no mention of the causes in any of these compaints being related to 'too little stomach acid', and over the counter and prescription medicines tend to focus on either neutralizing stomach acid, blocking acid production or providing a barrier to stop acid escaping into the food pipe.
Since vinegar is acidic, I fail to see how taking it would help with acid reflux, GORD or indigestion. I remain unconvinced, and would not personally take it for such a complaint.
Depending on your view point, you may or may not be convinced by the recipes above!
But this is not the whole story.
I decided to look into the subject in a little more detail.
Apple Cider Vinegar
In addition to the research already quoted, I found the following:
I would expect that some of the properties of apple cider vinegar are genuine and can be scientifically supported, and some probably cannot.
However, if this subject interests you, further information can be found, with more recipes in Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System (Bragg).
One of the questions I find interesting is whether it matters what format you take.
I can't imagine it would be pleasant to drink apple cider vinegar, even with honey as a sweetener, but perhaps it's something you get used to, and in fact, some people actually say it makes a pleasant drink!
Obviously, if you want to create a dressing, cleanser, facial or hair mask, then you'll stick with the liquid format.
However, capsules are also available, and ratings seem good!
Perhaps these would be easier to take - and stick with, and just need time to 'catch on'?
Anyway, they may be handy to have when travelling.
A break down of honey nutrition is available here.
I have found that some of the nutritional benefits of apple cider vinegar are exaggerated - as they are with honey. For instance, the claim that apple cider vinegar is rich in potassium, is actually false - unless you think 5% of your DV is 'rich'.
1 cup (239g) of apple cider vinegar contains:
So it seems that the benefits are not so much linked with nutrition, rather, they are connected in some way with anti-bacterial or acidic properties, but everyone's health is different, and I think it's advisable to speak with your doctor before taking apple cider vinegar and honey as a remedy for any condition.
(1) Vinegar Improves Insulin Sensitivity to a High-Carbohydrate Meal in Subjects With Insulin Resistance or Type 2 Diabetes. Carol S. Johnston, PHD, Cindy M. Kim, MS and Amanda J. Buller, MS. Diabetes Care 2004 Jan; 27(1): 281-282. http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/diacare.27.1.281.
(2) Cited on Webmd.com: http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/apple-cider-vinegar-and-health?page=2#1
(3) J Food Sci. 2014 May;79(5):R757-64. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12434. Functional properties of vinegar. Budak NH1, Aykin E, Seydim AC, Greene AK, Guzel-Seydim ZB.
(4)Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin CM., Jr Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007;161(12):1140–6.
(5) Cohen HA, Rozen J, Kristal H, Laks Y, Berkovitch M, Uziel Y, Kozer E, Pomeranz A, Efrat H. Effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pediatrics. 2012 Sep; 130(3):465-71.
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