The People's Perspective on Medicine

Ridiculous Remedy Pits Vinegar Against Heartburn: Vinegar Triumphs

Q. Who would have dreamed that the very odd suggestion of vinegar in water would actually work for heartburn? I tried several home remedies (including pickled ginger and ginger tea) but they didn’t help.

After a bad acid reflux episode one night, I bit the bullet and swallowed two tablespoons of vinegar in 8 oz. of water. It took some time to get down and it burned a little along the way, but I went back to bed and slept undisturbed for three hours. The next day I drank some during the day and before bedtime and slept through the night. Last night was my second night of undisturbed sleep. Thank you so much for this suggestion!

Should one take vinegar and water as a preventative or only when heartburn is present? I am also a little concerned about what vinegar can do to one’s teeth. Can you address that, please?

A. We have mostly heard from people who use vinegar as a remedy for heartburn symptoms rather than as a preventive measure. The question about its effect on teeth is important. Vinegar, lemon juice and other acids can soften tooth enamel. Make sure not to brush the teeth for about an hour after you have consumed the vinegar. Otherwise, the toothbrush may abrade the softened enamel. Rinsing with plain water after drinking vinegar water will probably help protect the teeth somewhat.

If you would like to learn more about other heartburn remedies, we suggest our Guide to Digestive Disorders or our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. This book from National Geographic is full of home remedies, both odd and otherwise, for a wide range of common ailments.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Digestive Disorders

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Chewing on fresh slices of ginger and spitting out the pulp will always, 100% of the time, alleviate heartburn.

Vinegar is just another form of acid and regardless of diluting it with water, isn’t going to help with acid indigestion.

After being diagnosed with ulcers I was given Omeprazole and told I have to take it for life. OK for about 6 months then began to notice aching arm joints particularly thumb and elbow. I react badly to modern medicine anyway so suspected the Omeprozole.
Stopped them dead and began taking Organic Apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon after breakfast with a glass of water and an evening teaspoon of manuka honey. I had no effects from stopping the Omeprazole, and now some 2 years after the diagnosis of having ulcers, have no adverse stomach symptoms at all. I will stay with the vinegar and honey.

When drinking the vinegar, think of a pint of beer and just let it go down without touching the sides. Vinegar is an acid and can damage teeth so don’t hold it in your mouth and do just have a mouth rinse afterwards.

This was the first time I suffered from the heart burn and I googled and found that vinegar can help get ride of Heartburn. I woke up rushed to the kitchen and drank it mixed with water. Oh my goodness it really works fast! Thank you so much guys now I can finally sleep.

I too have seen the VINEGAR light! But sometimes I used lemon juice if no vinegar is available. In special cases, I even use Coca Cola (but i try to avoid sodas). Anything Acidy will help my reflux. I used to use Betain HCL pills with every meal, but after a year of that my stomach returned to normal. Now when I eat greasy food (only once a week is all I allow) I might get reflux, and I wash it away with vinegar.

As far as protecting your teeth from the vinegar, how about drinking it with a straw?

Hey there what an unexpected relief after a month sufering of haertburn,I was just taking a chance and white viniger with a hafl teaspoon of suger both in a hafl glass of water gues what no more haert burn, thanks to you guys and God bless.

Gastric Reflux is caused by insufficient acidity. Restoring proper acidity takes a few seconds and typically ends reflux within a few seconds. Yes, that’s not a typo: seconds. After 20+ years of reflux trouble, I’ve been cured for 5+ years.

I use approx. 2 tablespoons of vinegar in 6 ounces of water after each meal, followed by a clean water rinse/swallow, then brush teeth. A bigger meal needs more vinegar. A smaller meal needs less. A total cure!

My digestion has never been so perfect in every way. I happen to put the same amount of vinegar on my salads, too. The drug pushers should be brought up on criminal charges for their proton pump inhibitor drugs and their other nonsense quackery. I pour a pint ($3) or two of red wine vinegar infused with pomegranate into a gallon ($4) of cheapo supermarket generic vinegar and that lasts for months. Pour back into the pint bottle and leave the pint on your kitchen counter for salads and supplementation. I can eat all the “wrong” reflux foods: spicy, greasy, etc. and go right to bed if it happens to be a late dinner out. Favorite brand of vinegar: Pompeian. No, I don’t work for them, nor for anyone else selling vinegar.

Pickle juice is another alternative if you can’t stand vinegar alone.

I take a teaspoon straight, then drink about a cup of lukewarm water after to wash it down. Seems to work as well as any meds I have taken.

DONT DRINK A GLASS FULL… and wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth. It’s vinegar, and caustic; too much will burn your stomach and strip your enamel. ~Tbls in 16oz glass of h2o/juice, and drink through a straw is ideal.

This has been a miracle cure for me. I mix a teaspoon into a cup of hot water with honey and a ginger tea packet, once a day, usually in the morning. I’ve been doing this for a week and it’s the first week that I was able to sleep through the night. Before I would wake up several times, choking on acid, sometimes even having to throw it up. (I have Achlasia as well) 7 days straight now, no issues. This is the first time in a year.

My doctor said to take a juice glass full of apple cider vinegar (unfiltered) with a tablespoon of honey every day (breakfast or supper) to help me get off of my Omeprazole (Prilosec – 40mg twice a day). Think it’ll work? Anyway, I’ll let you know. May not do a juice glass full, though!

Are you sure you meant to write, “brush your teeth FOR an hour” after consuming the vinegar? Or simply within an hour?

I eat an apple for GERD and it helps. I am not really keen on the taste of the ACV, but I have heard that people mix it in to tea or water and that helps.

As we wrote: “Make sure not to brush the teeth for about an hour after you have consumed the vinegar.” (Emphasis added). The idea is that any strong acid will temporarily weaken the tooth’s enamel and brushing your teeth soon after exposure to food acids may wear the enamel away more than regular brushing would. Thanks for your comment!

I recently had a bad episode of heartburn and just took 2 tablespoons of ACV, it helped immediately !! I will continue to take this daily and see where it goes.

I have GERD and have discovered on my own that apples make me feel better, as well as sugar-free gum.

yes golden apples are great for heart burn.

acid reflux is not from excessive acid but from the lower esophageal sphincter getting lazy

Yes! Only apple cider vinegar is claimed to be a home remedy. Don’t go downing red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar, it will make your heartburn worse!
ACV is supposed to be unpasteurized to be most effective.
Interestingly, some people claim apples themselves cure heartburn… connection? Probably, maybe the enzymes in apples, which carry over to ACV have a beneficial effect.

The first time I heard about apple cider vinegar there was no mention of a water mixture. I take 1 or 2 tablespoons with a water chaser and I can feel the relief right away. I didn’t think about my teeth.

Not all heartburn is caused by excess acid. Some is caused by not having enough! Especially if you have been taking any of the OTC reflux/heartburn meds. They are proton pump inhibitors, another words they stop your stomach from producing the acid to digest our food AND medications properly. Ever wonder why the folks who make Prilosec (omeprozole) say to take a 2 week round and wait 3 months before taking it again? But, then your doctor wants you to be on it every day for years! Or in my case, 2 a day?!
I heard someone say that the heartburn may be caused from too little rather than too much and it started me thinking. No one test you to see which way your problem lays. So, I weened myself off of the omeprozole, I took a month or two to do this. The person I heard talking about the heartburn said to swallow 2 to 3 tbls. of “apple cider” vinegar if you felt you were going to have heartburn. My heartburn/reflux mimicked my heart attacks, so it was very scary when a bad attack started! Well, I did as they had said. It stopped it the very first time and has been working like a champ ever since.
The incidence of heartburn/reflux have nearly completely stopped. And by the way, it never mattered what I ate or drank. I use the regular, run of the mill apple cider vinegar from the grocery store, not the expensive organic kind. And yes, you can incorporate some of it into your diet on your salad or if you are from the south, over your greens, as a preventative.
I have friends who have done this. But, as always, this will not work for everyone, only if your problem is too little acid, not too much.Oh, by the way, I have since read that apple cider vinegar is very much like our own acid in our tummies!

I remember my mother and her sisters would always take a few spoons of juice (vinegar and sugar?) out of the pickle jar when they had an upset stomach. It worked for them and they all lived from 90 to 101 years.

Has anyone heard of a link between taking progesterone and GERD?

I’ve taken to drinking an “elixer”every night before bedtime. It consists of: 8-10 oz of hibiscus/raspberry or other good herbal tea, a good dollop of apple cider vinegar (2-3 T), about 1-1/2 T of liquid sour cherry extract, and stevia to taste. It’s great hot or cold. You could also throw in a bit of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice. This makes a delicious, wildly tangy, sweet-n-sour cocktail that’s not only very good for one’s health but nicely takes the place of an alcoholic drink. I used to have a glass of wine, but this is better and it never leaves me feeling deprived.

Possibly the reason the vinegar works is because it has an alkalizing effect (in spite of it seeming to be acidic to the taste) in our stomaches. I’ve used a 1/2 teaspoon of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar when my stomach starts to feel gassy and it does the trick.

Sympathy for your esophageal erosion problem. Could you try a little bit of vinegar at a time, using a straw, to see if it happens?
If you do, would you kindly come back here and post the results?

I took apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s) in a glass of water every morning for about 10 days. During that period, I also ate a pint of organic cherry tomatoes every other day! One night I was awakened by an episode of psoriasis on my hands – burning, red, raised patches on the tops and palms, knuckles and fingers. I have psoriasis but it’s been totally in remission for at least a year. After topical applications of my old psoriasis creams, the inflammation and burning is less but the redness and patches are not healed yet. I read that the vinegar would make the body alkaline, but apparently it did not, and the added ascorbic acid from the tomatoes probably brought on the attack, correct? Your thoughts, plz?

In my humble opinion there is only one kind of Vinegar BRAGGS just like there is only one kind of Mayonnaise DUKES !! Just don’t take them together !!!!!

Drinking the mixture through a straw is definitely the way to go. Not only does this protect your teeth, but you taste the mixture much less, and your gag reflex will probably not be engaged. This is the way I take my “hot sauce,” which is supposed to be good for me, but, unlike Joe, I am definitely not a “spicy” person.

do you think this would be helpful to try if you have esophageal erosion? I would really like to wean myself off the medicine I am getting from my doctors if possible.

If I have heartburn or acid indegestion, I take a little baking soda in water. That works for me. Directions are on the Arm and Hammer baking soda box. It is a very old-fashioned remedy, that is very effective.

Plain yellow mustard works too, for those night time bouts of heartburn. It also worked on leg cramps too so I keep my very own bottle on my nightstand!

The remedy is 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar,1 tablespoon honey in 8 ounces of water. Great book is Folk Medicine by D.C. Jarvis, a Vermont physician.
White vinegar is distilled from grain — usually corn and could and probably does contain GMO.

My grandmother, who lived well into her 80s, drank her “vinegar water” every single day for as long as anyone can remember. I’ve no idea of the ratio, but I remember trying a sip once and couldn’t understand how she could drink the stuff. I was only in my 20s when she died and never asked why she drank it, but there was always a bottle of the mixture in her refrigerator. Oh, and she also had a mouthful of natural, healthy teeth!
Now in my 60s, I enjoy a WARM cup of “vinegar tea” on many evenings: One to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, hot water and just a touch of honey or stevia. Soothing! (And it always makes me think of my grandmother, who we teased mercilessly about her odd beverage.)

To prevent staining your teeth with vinegar, try sipping it through a straw. You will bypass the enamel.

Yes apple cider vinegar in water is excellent for acid reflux. If I don’t have apple cider vinegar I used a tiny amount of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) in water, works just as good. After drinking cider vinegar and water, thoroughly rinse mouth with water.

I once heard a reputable doctor on TV explaining this oddity. Reflux is being caused by slowed up digestion due to a lack of stomach acid.

Yes, I know that adding acid to ones diet can help with heartburn. Sometimes our bodies do not produce enough acid to digest food properly and that’s when you get reflux. I don’t think this is the case with all acid reflux cases, however. Instead of taking vinegar, I take a digestive enzyme with Betaine HCL (hydrochloric acid) in it.
I take one with each meal. This stopped my acid reflux immediately and I don’t have the issue with teeth enamel being eroded. I had to try a couple of different products before I found one that had the proper amount of HCL for my body (turns out that a 20 mg tablet is enough for me).
I tried straight betaine HCL tablets but they were too strong (too much acid makes my bladder burn- I have intersticial cystitis). Also, I remember seeing an article once about people of Finnish descent not producing enough HCL and I’m 50% Finnish. Good luck :)

Heartburn is caused by excess acid in the stomac. Vinegar itself is acidic (acetic acid). I can’t understand why adding an acid to another acid reduces acidity.
On the other hand adding (drinking a solution of) baking soda to an acid results in a base and carbon dioxide (belching) and water. This makes sense.
Something does not add up. Please help.

Does the kind of vinegar matter?

What about drinking this mixture through a straw to limit exposure to the teeth?

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