Woodford Files: On the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Clearing ArthritisJulia Woodford September 15, 2022
I used to regard with skepticism my grandfather’s habit of drinking vinegar and honey by the cupful every day. (It was, he claimed, a health tonic.) But after reading a book by Dr. D.C. Jarvis entitled Arthritis and Folk Medicine (Galahad Books;1997) I have now come to appreciate the theory behind grandpa Harry’s vinegar cocktail.
As a fascinating account of the centuries-old remedies used by farmers and country folk in Vermont for preserving vigorous health into old age, the book explains in detail the uses of apple cider vinegar for everything from relieving arthritis to reducing blood pressure to curing osteoporosis.
Jarvis believes that arthritics are calcium deficient, yet their joints and blood vessels are lined with calcium deposits that interfere with blood circulation and cause pain. He explains: “People with arthritis are usually classified as calcium deficient, although they do tend to accumulate calcium deposits. Vermont folk medicine says they are not making sufficient hydrochloric acid in the stomach, or else the amount made is too small. Normal calcium metabolism is so highly dependent upon this acid that when there is a lack of it a disturbed calcium metabolism is inevitable.”
Apparently Vermonters believe that treatment of arthritis, and many other health problems, must begin in the stomach. Jarvis found that when an apple cider vinegar cocktail is taken daily, calcium deposits are released back into solution in the bloodstream to be re-circulated to the proper parts of the body (the bones), thus alleviating arthritic pain and warding off osteoporosis. He explains: “The bones are a storehouse for calcium, and the ability to deposit calcium in the bony framework of the body with the aid of vinegar is certainly of value in elderly people because it makes the bones stronger and much less likely to be broken.”
In his conclusion, Jarvis summarizes the Vermont folk medicine prescription for arthritis: “Give 2 teaspoonfuls of apple cider vinegar and 2 of honey in a glass of water, taken at each meal. If this mixture is not accepted by the stomach at mealtimes it may be taken between meals.” Other recommendations include Lugol’s iodine solution (find the Arthritis book and Lugol’s at www.jcrows.com/jarvis.html, tel: 1-800-878-1965), kelp tablets, cider vinegar soaks of arthritic body parts, and proper food selection (no wheat, white sugar, citrus, beef, lamb, or pork).
Even more interesting is the fact that Vermont folk medicine uses the same treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and bursitis. It does not differentiate between these but considers them as manifestations of arthritis which are favorably influenced by the same cider vinegar prescription.
So grandpa Harry was on the right track. Problem is, whatever source of information he used to create his health tonic failed to differentiate between different types of vinegar. Instead of using the therapeutic type of organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar recommended by Dr. Jarvis, he was drinking white vinegar every day. According to biochemist Richard Abrams, “White (distilled) vinegar is not distilled, but the ethyl alcohol from which it is made is distilled from a yeast fermentation mixture. In the U.S., starches derived from grains are the major source, mostly (about 85%) from corn.”
Therefore, it is my unqualified opinion that standard commercial white vinegar is unfit for human consumption. On the other hand, it’s great for household cleaning.
I like to put a teaspoon of vinegar in my glass of water each morning, and drink it is a morning tonic. My favorite brand is Filsinger’s Organic Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar which is made in Ontario. My second favorite is Bragg’s brand out of the U.S.
Sadly, my grandpa died of Alzheimer’s disease, and I have to wonder if his bogus health tonic played any role in that. In this Vitality feature, Linda Gabris explores the medicinal uses of quality vinegars, as well as the many household uses for the white stuff.
Julia Woodford, Editor ~ Vitality Magazine
Julia Woodford founded Vitality Magazine in 1989, and has been its Editor-in-Chief for the past 30 years. Prior to a career in publishing, her studies included Political Economics at York University, Journalism at Ryerson University, and Psychology, PhysEd, and Anthropology at University of Toronto. She remains a lifelong student of herbalism, nutritional medicine, and the healing arts to this day. You can read her columns on the <a href="https://vitalitymagazine.com/">Vitality website</a>. She is also the former Show Manager for Whole Life Expo, Canada’s largest showcase of natural health and green living. Learn more at the <a href="https://www.wholelifeexpo.ca/">Expo website</a> In 2018 she received a “Hall of Fame” award from <a href="https://www.nationalnutrition.ca/">National Nutrition</a>. In 2019, she was nominated for a “Person of the Year” award by <a href="https://www.nationalnutrition.ca/">National Nutrition</a>.