“Vinegar is warming. It creates a temporary warming circulation of energy (qi) in the body, and removes stagnant blood. It can quickly alter emotional stagnation as well, especially in children— bad moods will usually disappear a few moments after taking or eating something with high quality unpasteurized vinegar.”

Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition


Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has become popular in the world of natural healing the past few decades. I mentioned some of the benefits in my cranberry fat flush/lymph-moving drink recipe a few weeks ago, and I love adding it to lemon water with stevia throughout my day (Note: I ALWAYS drink it diluted!). You can find articles online listing a wide range of Western conditions it can be used towards healing, including: acid reflux, allergies, strep throat, high blood pressure, common cold, diabetes, obesity, PMS and more. What I’ve always loved about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is that they look at the energetic properties of each food, which helps us understand exactly WHY acv works so well for our concept of these diagnoses. Here’s how it benefits us from a TCM perspective:

– In TCM all 5 flavors (sour, bitter, sweet, pungent, salty) strengthen one of the 5 different organ ‘systems’ or meridians. Vinegar is sour and bitter, and works on the liver system to reduce accumulations of stagnant bile, fat, and toxicity. Lemon juice also helps the liver, but is more cooling and moderate. The warming aspect of vinegar works very well for Americans who eat a ‘cold’/yin diet (iced drinks, alcohol, caffeine, etc). As the liver meridian improves, fats can be broken down more appropriately (benefiting heart disease, obesity, etc.) and hormones can circulate smoothly (benefitting PMS, hormone imbalance, and belly fat gain). Because emotions (especially anger and irritability) are related to the liver, relieving ‘stagnation’ (built up energy) is the property of vinegar that can help relieve bad moods in both children and adults.

– Vinegar is known to help circulate and dry “damp” conditions in TCM. Symptoms of “dampness” in the body include a feeling of heaviness, swelling or water retention, distended/bloated abdomen, excess mucus, nodular masses/acne, sluggish energy, inflammation and weight gain.

– For increased effectiveness, add 1 tsp honey into your lemon ACV water.

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  • Margaret Matheny says:

    Such a great article! Love how you incorporate the properties of food. Such a lost art in America!

  • Lj says:

    Great article. I was just looking for a TCM viewpoint on drinking vinegar and was brought here!
    I was just wondering if you could clarify why you list alcohol and caffeine as a cold/yin diet? I can see the yin aspect if the drink is ice cold but it is my understanding that the nature of caffeine & alcohol are very heating and drying to the internal organs. I see them more as aggravating yang/ creating yang excess while simultaneously creating yin deficiency. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks!
    On a side note, it is interesting to me that when people get hot, they reach for ice-cold (temperature) things which create stagnation which then results in more heat. I hope more people can benefit of this precious knowledge.

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