Apple cider vinegar is a kitchen staple that has been used in cooking and even as a household cleaning supply for centuries. Produced from fermented apples, cider vinegar in its unfiltered and unpasteurized form is an essential item to have in your home—loaded with enzymes and minerals, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has a variety of health benefits as a dietary supplement and more.

What’s the Deal with ACV?

Organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar is different from filtered and refined vinegars most prominent on grocery story shelves. After the fermentation process, a brown milky residue becomes present in the vinegar, referred to as the “mother.” Formed from naturally occurring pectin and protein residues from the apples, this cloudy substance contains nutrients, enzymes and minerals that are beneficial to the body that are otherwise killed off if the vinegar is pasteurized. Therefore, raw apple cider vinegar is your best bet when it comes to its overall health benefits.

Besides being a great salad dressing, apple cider vinegar is praised for its variety of uses in and on your body. Read on to learn how to heal and treat your body’s ailments with this all-natural vinegar solution.

  1. Prevents Acne: From hormones to makeup to the foods we eat, our faces can be a breeding ground for clogged pores and breakouts. The next time you feel a breakout coming on, dab a little apple cider vinegar on your skin. Apple cider vinegar toner has been linked to softer skin, smaller pores and less frequent breakouts. Mix one part vinegar to three parts water, stir together and dab gently on pimples using a cotton ball. Never apply apple cider vinegar directly to the face—its acidic content can irritate or even burn the skin when its used in its concentrated form. Try this routine one or two times a week after your normal face washing routine and increase as needed.
  1. Quells Heartburn: Apple cider vinegar could have benefits for those suffering from acid reflux or heartburn. Instead of grabbing a jar of antacid medication, try this all-natural remedy. Mix one to two tablespoons of ACV in a glass of warm or room temperature water and drink this solution after a big meal or when you feel heartburn strike. The acetic acid found in raw apple cider vinegar has alkaline-based digestive properties that soothe stomach acids. If the taste of this solution is too much for you, consider squeezing lemon juice or adding raw honey to improve the taste.
  1. Soothes Sore Throats: One of the worst parts about catching the cold is the unbearable sore throat that precedes it. While drinking hot tea with honey can help the pain and discomfort, fix the problem at the source by gargling apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral and kills bacteria in the throat and back of the mouth. It’s also a natural expectorant, meaning it thins out mucus and phlegm that’s built up in your throat and allows some of that fluid to drain. ACV also contains the prebiotic inulin that’s been linked to boosting your immune system. Mix one part apple cider vinegar to two parts of warm water, add a few pinches of salt and stir until dissolved. Gargle this mixture in the back of your throat for 30 seconds and repeat every hour until you feel relief.
  1. Improves Digestion: The digestive tract plays a key role in the overall health and function of your body. It’s the primary mechanism through which we receive and absorb all the essential nutrients and vitamins our bodies need to keep us healthy. That’s why disruptions to digestion—including indigestion, bloating or stomachaches—shouldn’t be ignored. Apple cider vinegar could help your stomach break down foods naturally by increasing stomach acid. Outside factors like stress, excess carbohydrate consumption, allergies and alcohol significantly slow down your body’s natural acid secretions in the stomach, making some meals hard to digest. Supplement your stomach with a “shot” of ACV 20 to 30 minutes before a meal to kick start acid production in the stomach way before food makes it there: Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into at least a cup of water and drink the solution before a big meal to improve digestion.
  1. Builds Immunity: Another reason to love apple cider vinegar is for its benefits to the immune system, primarily by strengthening your intestinal flora. The proteins and enzymes present in raw ACV improve the conditions for “good” bacteria to grow in your stomach and intestines. The malic acid present in raw apple cider vinegar is a strong antiviral that builds immunity against colds and the flu. Try adding apple cider vinegar to smoothies, in salad dressings and as a marinade.

At the end of the day, although these home remedies could be helpful, it’s important to always consult your doctor before using this for health issues.