Category: Tidbits for Home and Garden

Don’t throw away those prescription bottles, lots of uses for them, home, garden, RV travel, Vacation… handy and fun to decorate outside if you like

#1. Organize your spice rack.

#2. The bottles even make adorable tiny gift boxes!

#3. Make your own makeup brush holder.

#4. To keep your desk neat and tidy!

#5. Never deal with knotted ear buds again.

#6. Store the seeds for all your gardening projects.

#7. Keep those matches dry.

#8. Hide a stash of hair pins!

#9. Use them as travel-size containers for when you fly.

#10. Store change for laundry day.

#11. Make a small sewing kit.

#12. They’re designed to hold moisture, so use cotton balls to dab a bit of your favorite perfume and store it in the container for later!

#13. Store cotton swabs on the go.

#14. Safely hide a spare key.

One of the easiest herbs you can grow, basil comes in many varieties that can be put to numerous culinary uses.

By Patricia Lehnhardt

10 Basil Varieties and How to Use Them - Photo by Rachael Brugger (
Photo by Rachael Brugger
Choosing what basil variety you want to grow from the 40-plus known varieties might be your biggest growing challenge when it comes to this staple herb.

Choosing from the array of basil varieties to plant might be the most difficult part of growing this herb. Basil has minimal growing requirements—full sun (at least six hours a day), warm temperatures (above 50 degrees F) night and day and fertile soil with adequate moisture—but there are more than 40 known varieties to choose from. Your local garden center likely offers a few basil varieties as seedlings, but to grow the most unusual basils, you’ll need to start from seed.

To help narrow your selection, determine how you will use the basil: to color in the landscape, as an ingredient in food or drinks, as a garnish, or to make a year’s supply of pesto. Below is a list of 10 basil varieties and their uses to help you make your decision.

Christmas Basil 1. Christmas Basil
With 2-inch, glossy green leaves and purple flowers, Christmas basil adds fruity flavor to salads and drinks, and the plants are gorgeous in the landscape. A beautiful border plant, it averages 16 to 20 inches tall.
Cinnamon Basil 2. Cinnamon Basil
This basil variety has a delightful fragrance and spicy flavor. A beautiful, 25- to 30-inch-tall plant with dark-purple stems and flowers accented with small, glossy leaves, it’s my favorite basil to use for fresh arrangements and in fruit salads and garnishes.
Dark Opal Basil 3. Dark Opal Basil
A must in my garden, Dark Opal basil adds color to fresh summer floral displays and depth to dried arrangements and wreaths. Beautiful and spicy in a salad or garnish, it can also be made into pesto, which adds an unexpected color and flavor to your pasta or bruschetta. The plants are attractive in the herb garden, ranging from 14 to 20 inches in height with purple stems, flower and leaves.
Holy Basil 4. Holy Basil
A revered plant in the Hindu religion, Holy basil is also referred to as Sacred basil or Tulsi. Its leaves can be used to make tea for boosting your immune system. It is a beautiful plant in the garden with mottled green and purple leaves and grows to about 12 to 14 inches tall.
Lemon Basil 5. Lemon Basil
This basil variety can be added to salads and fish dishes with abandon. A sprig of Lemon basil in a glass of iced tea is particularly delightful on a hot summer day. The 20- to 24-inch plants are light green with white flowers and 2½-inch-long leaves.
Lime Basil 6. Lime Basil
With small green leaves on compact, 12- to 16-inch plants with white flowers, this basil variety’s lime scent and flavor makes it great in fish and chicken dishes. A simple syrup infused with Lime basil is a delicious addition to tea and margaritas.
Spicy Bush Basil 7. Spicy Bush Basil
The cutie of the basil garden, Spicy Bush basil has tiny leaves on small, mounded plants, which are perfect for pots or lining the garden in bonsai-like fashion. It only takes a few of Spicy Bush basil’s intensely flavored leaves to add a punch to a sauce or soup. The plants are a soft green and about 8 to 10 inches in height and width, with 1/2- to 1-inch-long leaves.
Purple Ruffles Basil 8. Purple Ruffles Basil
A feathery variation of Dark Opal, Purple Ruffles adds another dimension to the landscape, floral arrangements or garnishes. It has the same flavor as Opal basil and can be used similarly. It is a 16- to 20-inch-tall plant with 2- to 3-inch-long leaves.
Sweet Basil 9. Sweet Basil
This basil cultivar is the best choice for Italian sauces and soups and for making pesto. Varieties include Genovese, Napoletano, Italian Large Leaf and Lettuce Leaf. Plants range from 14 to 30 inches tall and are prolific in hot, sunny locations. Harvest the top four leaves often to keep the plant growing and sweetly flavored.
Sweet Thai Basil 10. Sweet Thai Basil
An Asian variety with a distinct, spicy, anise-clove flavor, quite unlike common sweet basil, sweet Thai is a must-have addition to Asian cuisine and makes a nice addition to the herb garden for fragrance and color. It has purple stems and blooms with green leaves reaching 12 to 16 inches tall.

8 Health Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

You know that apple cider vinegar is a green cleaning dynamo, but what about the health uses for apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar – ACV for short – is some versatile stuff! You can use it to top salads or make pickles, then use it to clean the counters afterwards. Then, you can apply it to your skin and even drink the stuff for all sorts of health benefits. Really, is there anything that apple cider vinegar can’t do?

Wait a minute, wait a minute. Drink it? I know, drinking vinegar might sound…kind of gross. We’ll get more into the benefits and how to make it a little more palatable below. Just stay with me here, OK?

Proponents of ACV will tell you that the reason it’s great is that it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals. That is both true and not true. A cup of apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins like potassium and manganese, but who is drinking a full cup of this stuff, right? Chances are you’re going to drink an ounce – about two tablespoons – tops at a go.

What ACV does have in spades is acetic acid, which helps your body better absorb vitamins and minerals in the food that you eat. That acetic acid also slows down digestive enzymes, regulating blood sugar levels, which can definitely contribute to overall better health.

Health Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is beneficial topically and when you ingest the stuff. The list below contains just a few of the health uses for apple cider vinegar. I’d love to hear how you’re using apple cider vinegar, too. Drop a comment with your ACV tips!

1. ACV Tea for a Sore Throat – Combine 1 tablespoon vinegar in 1 cup hot water. You can add a sweetener of your choice if you have a hard time drinking this as-is.

2. A shot a day keeps the doctor away? You can take advantage of ACV’s health benefits with a daily vinegar shot. Research suggests that it can help prevent high cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, and improve heart health. Just put 2 tablespoons of ACV in a shot glass, and slug it. Chase with a little juice, if you need to wash away the strong vinegar flavor quickly. Even better: chase with a glass of water. I know this may sound crazy, but some folks – like me! – like the taste of straight vinegar, and over time you’ll get more used to it too. There’s even research showing that taking a shot of ACV before bed can help regulate your blood sugar levels.

3. Wart removal – Check out this video showing how to use ACV to treat warts naturally.

4. Dandruff Treatment – Got dandruff? ACV to the rescue! Check out this natural dandruff treatment made with apple cider vinegar.

5. Natural Heartburn Remedy – I know, swallowing something acidic sounds a little bit counter-intuitive when you’re trying to get rid of heartburn, but before you write off this idea, see what Reflux MD has to say about it.

6. Homemade Astringent to Beat Acne – Do you struggle with acne? The natural acids in apple cider vinegar can help. Here’s a great recipe for a anti-acne astringent made with ACV.

7. Soothe a Sunburn – Did you overdo on the last pool or beach day of the year? Apple cider vinegar can help your body bounce back from a sunburn.

8. Stop Leg Cramps in their Tracks – Scientists looked at how consuming vinegar affected muscle cramps, and their findings were dramatic! Though to be fair, pickle juice will do the same thing, but with all of its other health benefits, you may as well use ACV instead, right?





Eggplant Controversies Cooks in Italy, as everywhere, disagree about whether or not eggplant should be peeled. It seems to be a matter of personal preference, but keep in mind that an eggplant that is overgrown or has been stored for a long time will have a tough skin that will not soften during cooking. It’s often a good idea to peel it.

Whether or not to salt and drain eggplant before cooking remains a matter of dispute, too. Some say you should salt slices heavily and drain them on paper towels for an hour to rid the eggplant of any bitterness; others feel it”s an unnecessary step. What is indisputably true is that eggplant that has been salted and drained will absorb less oil during frying than eggplant that has not.

Found this article on from Lisa Kaplan Gordon, excellent info

  • July 31, 2014
16 Natural Ways To Defeat Garden SlugsI love all creatures great and small. Except slugs in my garden.

Those slimy gastropods that not only gross me out, but they take large bites out of tender seedlings and shoots, devouring my precious plants. For that reason, all slugs must die, but in a natural way.

Here are 16 non-toxic (to humans) ways to kill garden slugs.

Cut Slugs

1. Cornmeal: Place a handful of cornmeal in a jar, and lay it on its side in the garden. Slugs will like the scent, slither in, and die.

2. Coffee Grounds: Spread coffee grounds around plants. Not only will the grounds damage slug bellies, but they will nourish your soil as well.

3. Egg Shells: Eggshell shards ringing your plants will stop slugs in their slimy tracks.

4. Dried Pine Needles: Dried pine needs make a great mulch that cuts slugs where they crawl. Spread it throughout the garden, and watch it rot into food for your soil.

5. Diatomaceous Earth: Place these granules of dead, microscopic creatures around plants to form a rough barrier that slugs can’t breach. Warning: The power can irritate eyes, so wear glasses or goggles, and don’t spread when it’s windy.

Dry Out or Dissolve Slugs

6. Salt: Salt dries up slugs eating your container plants. Ring pots with salt, making sure the salt doesn’t get near the drainage hole. I wouldn’t use salt in the garden, because it can harm soil and plants.

7. Seaweed: Seaweed is double trouble for slugs. Not only will the salt in seaweed harm slugs, but it dries into a rough layer that cuts slugs, too. Spread it around, but not touching, plants at least 3 inches high.

8. Vinegar: Is there anything vinegar isn’t good for? Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and spray the solution on slugs you’ve collected. It will dissolve the pests, but it can also harm plants. So isolate the slugs before you soak them in vinegar.

9. Coffee: Caffeine is a proven slug killer. Spray coffee on their soft bodies, and the neurotoxic caffeine destabilizes their heart rate.

Seduce Slugs

10. Leftover Beer: I’d never open a can of Bud just for the slugs, but instead of pouring leftover brewski down the drain, I pour it in a cup or bowl with high sides and place it in a hole just above the surface of the soil. Slugs follow the scent of beer, fall into the beer pool, and drown.

11. Dog/Cat Kibble: Slugs like pet food. Use it to lure the mollusks into traps, like a clay pot with one edge slightly raised, or a turned-over, disposable pie tin with a couple of holes cut into its side. Set the trap at night when slugs come out to eat, and toss the prisoners to the wild birds in the morning.

More Slug Destruction Tips

12. Attract Birds: Birds love to chow down on slugs, so welcome these flyers with open arms. Place birdbaths, and hang feeders and nesting gourds in your garden to attract these slug terminators.

13. Water in the A.M.: Slugs love moisture and are most active at night. So water your garden in the morning, so the soil is dry and less inviting when the slugs come out to eat.

14. Pluck at Night: If you can stand touching the slimy things, take a flashlight out to the garden at night and pluck slugs from plants.

15. Human Hair: When you clean combs and brushes, collect the hair and spread it around plants. Slugs will tangle themselves in the hair and suffocate. Both slug and hair will decompose and feed your garden.

16. Got Ducks? Let them loose in your garden to eat slugs all da


Displaying photo.JPG

McDermott’s Rustic Acre 2014   All rights reserved


Coral honeysuckle, Lonicera sempervirensis native to the eastern, midwest and southern regions of the U.S. Unlike its Asian cousins, this semi-deciduous, woody vine is well-behaved and will happily settle in to a small garden. Few seedlings or offsets are produced, but it can be propagated by semi-hardwood cuttings.

Most varieties bloom in early spring with a huge flush of deep coral trumpets and continue throughout the summer and autumn with smaller displays. Hummingbirds find it irresistible, as do butterflies and bees. The Coral Honeysuckle prefers full sun, but will accept some shade. Fewer blooms are produced with less sun however. Prune in late winter to produce more flowers and fertilize sparingly.These are long-lived perennial vines that can be enjoyed for generations. They have few pests and are tolerant of varied climates and conditions.

The one in this picture grows on our arbor in front.   It was a welcome gift from woman visiting our neighbors.  For long time we thought it would never grow but now it is just climbing all over with mininum care.    It does not like fertilizers.     The woman from this area called it a “pink honeysuckle” when in truth it is a vivid coral.   It rarely has any ants or bugs and just adds such beauty and attraction to the wild garden.






Type of plant: Vines and Climbers

Bloom color: Red, Bright Yellow

Bloom time of year: Mid Spring, Late Spring/Early Summer, Mid Summer, Late Summer/Early Fall, Mid Fall

Sun requirements: Sun to Partial Shade

Cold hardiness: Zone 5a to Zone 10b

Height: 12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm), 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

10 Useful Garlic Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

Since garlic then hath powers to save from death, Bear with it though it makes unsavory breath.”
Salerno Regimen of Health (12th century)

Not long ago, I wrote a post about the amazing health benefits of garlic, but so much more deserves to be known about this wonderful herb. I’ve put together facts and findings that will help you put garlic to even better use. Here they are:

  • Raw, freshly minced garlic has the most health benefits. If you cannot stand the smell and must cook it, you need at least four and a half cloves to get the same effect.
  • Although garlic is sometimes called “the stinking rose,” it can actually cure your rose plants from aphid attacks. Simply mix crushed garlic with water and spritz the leaves and flowers with the spray.
  • Drinking lemon juice or eating a few slices of lemon will stop bad garlic breath.
  • The flavor of garlic is most intense just after it has been minced.
  • Garlic applied on wounds can heal them faster. During World War I, this healing quality of garlic was harnessed intensively by British soldiers.
  • A crushed clove of raw garlic, gently rubbed on skin, can zap a pesky pimple. The secret: a powerful compound called allicin, which makes garlic among the most antioxidant-rich foods on earth.
  • Sprouted garlic loses some of its health benefits, but can still be used.
  • A Pennsylvania University research found that a compound called Diallyl disulfide in garlic could shrink bowel cancer cells. An important Washington State University study has conclusively proved that this compound is 100 times more effective than other antibiotics in easing bacteria-borne digestive ailments.
  • What’s the ideal dosage of garlic for you to derive all its amazing health benefits? The University of Maryland Medical Center, recommends daily 2 to 4 g of fresh, minced garlic clove; 600 to 1,200 mg daily if using aged garlic extract; two 200 mg tablets three times a day if using freeze-dried garlic; 4 ml daily of fluid garlic extract; 20 mL daily of garlic tincture or 0.03 to 0.12 ml three times daily if using garlic oil.
  • Not all is good about garlic and it is certainly not for everyone. Those on blood-thinning medication must not take garlic, because it inhibits the clotting of blood. For the same reason, garlic should not be taken before a surgery.


5 Ways to Use Eggshells in Your Garden

A normal person looks at an egg and thinks “omelet” or “frittata.” A gardener (especially one who tends to be on the obsessive end of the spectrum) looks at an egg and thinks “yes! Eggshells!”

Five Ways to Use Eggshells in Your Garden

1. Add crushed eggshells to the bottom of planting holes, especially for tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. These crops are susceptible to blossom end rot, which is caused by calcium deficiency. While this deficiency is most often caused by improper watering, there’s no harm in making sure your plants have a steady source of calcium. As the eggshells break down, they’ll nourish the soil, and your plants.

2. Use eggshells as pots for starting plants from seed. Then plant the seedling, “pot” and all, into the garden.

3. Use crushed eggshells to deter slugs, snails, and cutworms. These garden pests are a real pain in the gardener’s neck, and cutworms are the worst, killing seedlings by severing the stems at soil level. All three of these pests have soft undersides, and dislike slithering across anything sharp. Crushed eggshells, applied to the soil’s surface, may help deter these pests.

4. Add them to the compost pile. If you aren’t planting tomatoes or trying to deter slugs, add the eggshells to your compost pile, where they’ll add calcium to your finished compost.

5. If you are feeding birds in your yard, crush up the eggshells and add them to a dish near the feeder. Female birds, particularly those who are getting ready to lay eggs or recently finished laying, require extra calcium and will definitely appreciate it!

No matter how you want to use them, be sure to rinse the shells out well before using them in the garden.


13 Surprising Uses for Honey


1. Relieve Hangovers. Had a little too much fun last night? A few tablespoons of honey, which is packed with fructose, will help speed up your body’s metabolism of alcohol.

2. Heal Wounds, Cuts, Scrapes & Burns. Don’t reach for the Neosporin the next time you cut or burn yourself — simply apply honey to the affected area. Honey works as a natural antiseptic.

3. Soothe Sore Throats and Coughs. Combine honey with the juice of one lemon and drink. It works like a wonder!

4. Remove Parasites. Hopefully you’ll never have to use this trick, but if you do, combine equal parts honey, vinegar and water and drink. The combination of these three ingredients is the perfect parasite killer.

5. Moisturize Dry Skin. Honey is a fantastic moisturizer, especially on dry patches, like your elbows or hands — even your lips! Rub onto your dry, patchy skin and let it sit for about 30 minutes before washing off. Honey also makes a great lip balm!

6. Condition Damaged Hair. Honey is a great natural conditioner. You can simply add a teaspoon of the stuff to your regular shampoo to smooth your damaged locks. You can also combine it with olive oil for a deeper conditioning. Let it soak for 20 minutes with your hair wrapped in a towel before shampooing as usual.

7. Have an Amazing Bath. Relax your body and soak your skin in a soothing bath. Add 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 cup of hot water and let it dissolve for about 10 minutes. Add 2 or 3 drops of lavender essential oil and add it to your bath.

8. Remove Acne. Stubborn acne can really benefit from a small daily dab of honey. Place a band-aid over the pimple, and take it off 30 minutes later.

9. Give Yourself a Facial. Combine 2 teaspoons of milk with 2 tablespoons of honey. Cover your face with the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes before washing off.

10. Boost Your Energy. Quit turning to coffee for your daily energy boost! Replace your cup of Joe with a cup of tea. Mix in a tablespoon or so of honey.

11. Substitute Honey for Sugar in Baking. For every cup of sugar a recipe calls for, replace it with 3/4 cup of honey. For best results, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and reduce another liquid in your recipe by 1/4 cup. Also, reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees.

12. Make Almond Milk from Scratch. You’ll find a great recipe.

13. Make Infused Honeys. Why have plain old regular honey when you can have ginger lime honey or hot pepper honey?! For these and more infused honey recipes.


23rd August 2012

By Dr. Mercola

Howard Garrett, also known as The Dirt Doctor, has compiled a number of uses for vinegar, including recipes for both internal use and use in your organic garden, which I will share with you here.

“Vinegar is a wonderful organic tool that was discovered by accident 10,000 years ago when wine was accidentally allowed to ferment too long and turned sour,” he writes.

“It can be made from many products, including beer, apples, berries, beets, corn, fruits, grains, honey, malt, maple syrup, melons, molasses, potatoes, rice, sorghum, and other foods containing sugar.


Natural sugars from these food products are fermented into alcohol, which is then fermented into vinegar.”

… The product label will identify the starting ingredients, such as “apple cider vinegar” or “wine vinegar.”  Malt vinegar is made from the fermentation of barley malt or other cereal grains.  Sugar vinegar is made from sugar, syrup, or molasses.

White, spirit, or distilled vinegar is made by fermenting distilled alcohol. Distilled white vinegar is made from 190 proof alcohol that is fermented by adding sugar and living bacteria.

… Vinegar that is made from the petroleum derivative, 99 percent acetic acid, is not acceptable in an organic program.”

The name “vinegar” comes from the French words for “sour wine.” But it’s important to realize that not all vinegars are created equally. Some can benefit your health when taken internally, while others should only be used for tasks such as cleaning, or horticultural purposes, while others are best avoided altogether.

White Vinegar—A Great Non-Toxic Cleaner and Herbicide Ingredient

Distilled white vinegar is the type of vinegar you’ll want to use for cleaning and laundry. Toward the end of this article I’ll also share Garrett’s recipe for a non-toxic weed killer formula, which calls for white vinegar. Vinegar and water makes an excellent window cleaner, for example, and vinegar combined with hydrogen peroxide works exceptionally well as both a disinfectant and sanitizer. According to Garrett:

“Sprinkling white vinegar atop a dusting of baking soda is terrific for cleaning sinks, tubs, tile floors and other surfaces. For cleaning, it can be diluted with water as much as 50-50. For the herbicide, it should be used full strength.  In all cases, the products to buy in this category are true vinegars made by distilling grain alcohol. For the purists, there is organic white vinegar made from corn.”

Avoid 20% Vinegar

Garrett warns against using 20 percent vinegar, which is made from 99 percent glacial ascetic acid, stating it’s far stronger than you’d ever really need, in addition to being overly expensive. Perhaps more importantly, this type of vinegar is actually a petroleum derivative, which is dangerous to breathe and can be damaging to your eyes and skin.

“One final warning is that some of the 10 percent vinegars being sold to naïve organic gardeners are the fake 20 percent product that has been cut with water. Proper vinegars should have on the label that they are made from distilled grain alcohol or other similar language indicating natural products from distilling,” Garrett warns.

Apple Cider Vinegar—Good for Your Health

The cider vinegars, made from fermenting fruits such as apples, have little value as cleaners or herbicides. Instead, these are the types of vinegar associated with a number of different health benefits when taken internally. There are two basic categories of cider vinegars:

  • Regular apple cider vinegar
  • Organic apple cider vinegar with the “mother” included

When purchasing an apple cider vinegar, you’ll want to avoid the perfectly clear, “sparkling clean” varieties you commonly see on grocery store shelves. Instead, you want organic, unfiltered, unprocessed apple cider vinegar, which is murky and brown. When you try to look through it, you will notice a cobweb-like substance floating in it. This is known as “mother,” and it indicates your vinegar is of good quality. While it may look suspicious at first, in this case, it’s the murky looking stuff you want. As with everything else, the more processed a food is, the less nutritious it is, and this holds true for apple cider vinegar.

Surprisingly enough, while apple cider vinegar has historically been prized for its health benefits, little research has been done to evaluate its therapeutic actions. However, lack of scientific studies is a common problem for many natural and alternative therapies.

Perhaps the most researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar’s benefits are in the area of type 2 diabetes. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower blood glucose levels. In 2004, a study cited in the American Diabetes Foundation’s publication Diabetes Care [1] found that taking vinegar before meals significantly increased insulin sensitivity and dramatically reduced the insulin and glucose spikes that occur after meals. The study involved 29 people, divided into three groups:

  1. One third had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
  2. One third had prediabetic signs.
  3. One third were healthy.

The results were quite significant:

  • All three groups had better blood glucose readings with the vinegar than with the placebo.
  • People with prediabetic symptoms benefittedthe most from the vinegar, cutting their blood glucose concentrations by nearly half.
  • People with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25 percent with vinegar.
  • People with prediabetic symptoms had lower blood glucose than the healthy participants after both drank vinegar.

follow-up study geared at testing vinegar’s long-term effects yielded an unexpected but pleasant side effect: moderate weight loss. In this study, participants taking two tablespoons of vinegar prior to two meals per day lost an average of two pounds over the four-week period, and some lost up to four pounds.  In 2007, another study cited by WebMD [2] involving 11 people with type 2 diabetes found taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4 to 6 percent. Although the research to date looks favorable, more studies are needed to confirm the extent of vinegar’s insulin stabilization benefits.

Other Apple Cider Vinegar “Cures”

Although this article and many others advocate the benefits of using vinegar therapeutically, I really think that this is an inferior approach. From my perspective it would be far better to use large quantities of fermented foods to get these types of acids because you will then also help to recolonize your gut with beneficial bacteria.  However, vinegar is easier and certainly safe to use, so you can put your toe in the water by trying it first.  Garrett, however, has been a long-time proponent of vinegar, recommending it for a number of uses.

“Apple cider vinegar might cure more ailments than any other folk remedy,” he writes. Vinegar apparently provides at least some cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, Candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, gout and the list goes on… It also brings a healthy, rosy glow to the complexion and can cure rough scaly skin. Apple cider vinegar is also wonderful for animals, including dogs, cats and horses. It helps with arthritic conditions, controls fleas, repels flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats.”

As an example, Garrett has shared the following recipe with me, which can help soothe a sore throat:

“Use 3 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. of honey and 16 oz. water, and warm to sipping temperature and sip. Adding juice from chopped ginger can be used for more power.”

What Can Account for Apple Cider Vinegar’s Health Benefits?

Many who tout apple cider vinegar’s wide-ranging benefits claim its healing power comes from the abundance of nutrients that remain after the apples are fermented. However, standard nutritional analyses of apple cider vinegar have found it to be a surprisingly poor source of most nutrients. For example, the one milligram of calcium found in a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar does not come close to the 1,000 milligrams a typical adult needs each day.

It has also been claimed that soluble fiber in the vinegar, in the form of pectin, binds to cholesterol and helps carry it out of your body, thereby improving your lipid profile. However, apple cider vinegar contains no measurable pectin or any other fiber, for that matter.

Its magic can also not be traced to vitamin content. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), apple cider vinegar has no measurable vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, beta-carotene, or folate — and it’s equally lacking in amino acids, lycopene, or any other nutritional elements.

Still, despite the fact that it’s devoid of many of the traditionally valued nutrients, evidence of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits has been witnessed for hundreds — maybe thousands — of years. So, what can explain this mysteriously beneficial elixir?

It may be partially related to the fact that vinegar is a diluted acid, specifically acetic acid, which help to normalize your body’s pH. This likely improves nutrition, by optimizing your gut flora and helping eradicate pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria, and by serving as growth accelerators for beneficial bacteria that typically thrive in more acid environments. This is also one of the reasons why eating fermented foods is so important.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Dogs

Pet care is another area where vinegar can be a useful, non-toxic, all-natural tool. According to Garrett:

Vinegar is a remedy with multiple uses for dogs including alleviating allergies and arthritis, and helping to provide the correct pH balance. You can give apple cider vinegar to any animal by simply adding it to the water.

If your dog has itchy skin, the beginnings of a hot spot, incessantly washes its feet, has smelly ears, or is picky about his food, an application of apple cider vinegar can help. For poor appetite, use it in the food at 1 tablespoon, two times a day for a 50 lb. dog. For itchy skin or the beginning hot spots, put apple cider vinegar into a spray bottle, part the hair and spray on. Any skin eruption will dry up in as soon as 24 hours and shaving the dog won’t be necessary – which is good because I never recommend that. If the skin is already broken, dilute apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water and spray on.

Taken internally, apple cider vinegar is credited with maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the digestive tract. I take a large spoonful straight or in my “witches brew” in the morning that I drink at least once a day.

Another tip is if you have a dog that has clear, watery discharge from the eyes, a runny nose, or coughs with a liquid sound, use apple cider vinegar in his or her food. One teaspoon twice a day for a 50 lb. dog will do the job.

After grooming sessions, use a few drops in dogs’ ears after cleaning them to avoid ear infections. Fleas, flies, ticks and bacteria, external parasites, ring worm, fungus, staphylococcus, streptococcus, pneumococcus, mange, etc. are unlikely to inhabit a dog whose system is acidic inside and out.

Should you ever experience any of these with your dog, bathe with a nice gentle herbal shampoo – one that you would use on your own hair – rinse thoroughly with vinegar, and then sponge on apple cider vinegar diluted with equal amounts of warm water. Allow your dog to drip dry. It is not necessary to use harsh chemicals for minor flea infestations. All fleas drown in soapy water and the apple cider vinegar rinse makes the skin too acidic for a re-infestation. If you are worried about picking up fleas when you take your dog away from home, keep some apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray your dog before you leave home and when you get back. For raw spots caused by excessive licking, use a few drops in water, and sponge the affected areas with apple cider vinegar.

Horticultural Uses for Vinegar

Vinegar can also be used to control weeds in your garden. According to Garrett:

To keep the weeds out of a decorative or utility gravel area, the best approach is to design them out from the beginning or use organic products later to kill the weeds. Salt, toxic herbicides and bleach should never be used because they contaminate the soil long term. They also leach into the water stream. To head off the problem, install the gravel in a thick layer – 6 to 8 inches after scraping away all grasses and weeds.

Any weeds that grow through the gravel can be sprayed and killed with a mix of 10 percent pickling vinegar mixed with 2 ounces orange oil and 1 teaspoon liquid soap or you can use commercial organic herbicides. Vinegar sprays can also be used to kill weeds in the cracks in sidewalks and driveways. The best choice for herbicide use is 10 percent white vinegar made from grain alcohol. It should be used full strength. Avoid products that are made from 99 percent glacial acetic acid. This material is a petroleum derivative. Natural vinegars such those made from fermenting apples have little herbicidal value.

Herbicide Formula:

1 gallon of 10 percent (100 grain) vinegar

Add 1 ounce orange oil or d-limonene

Add 1 tablespoon molasses (optional – some say it doesn’t help)

1 teaspoon liquid soap or other surfactant (I use Bio Wash)

Do not add water

Shake well before each spraying and spot spray weeds. Keep the spray off desirable plants. This spray will injure any plant it touches. This natural spray works best on warm to hot days. Vinegar sprayed on the bases of trees and other woody plants will not hurt the plant at all. This technique was first learned about by spraying the suckers and weeds growing around the bases of grapevines.

If your water is alkaline, add 1 tablespoon of 50-grain (5 percent) natural apple cider vinegar to each gallon of water to improve the quality of the water for potted plants and bedding. This doesn’t have to be done with every watering, though it wouldn’t hurt. This technique is especially helpful when trying to grow acid-loving plants such as gardenias, azaleas, and dogwoods. A tablespoon of vinegar per gallon added to the sprayer when foliar feeding lawns, shrubs, flowers, and trees is also highly beneficial, especially where soil or water is alkaline. The other horticultural use for vinegar is in the watering can.

Other Uses for Vinegar

Last but not least, vinegar can be used to remove certain pesticides and bacteria from your fresh produce. Of course, you don’t need apple cider vinegar for this—any basic white vinegar will do. Gayle Povis Alleman, MS, RD recommends a solution of 10 percent vinegar to 90 percent water as a bath to briefly soak produce [3]. Just place your veggeis or fruit in the solution, swish it around, and rinse thoroughly. Just don’t use this process on fragile fruits (like berries), since they could be damaged in the process or soak up too much vinegar through their porous skins.

Apple cider vinegar has also long been used as a natural hair care product. Its acidity is close to that of human hair; it’s a good conditioner and cleaning agent, as well as an effective germ killer. You can visit for information on how to make a vinegar hair rinse.

While we need a great deal more research to investigate vinegar’s full healing potential, it can certainly be useful in a variety of ways, for a variety of conditions. It’s definitely a great multi-purpose tool to have in your pantry.

Article Sources

1. Johnston, CS, Kim, CM, Buller, AJ. 2004. Diabetes Care 27(January): 281-282

2., Scientific Evidence of Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits

3. Health Benefits of Vinegar, Gayle A. Alleman

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