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What Are the Benefits of Vinegar on Sores?

author image Fiona Bayly
Based in New York City, Fiona Bayly writes about running with a focus on health, nutrition and training strategies for athletes from beginner to professional. She is an avid triathlete, former New England Scholastic Cross Country champion and current member of TeamUSA's age-group championship team in the sport of Aquathlon.
What Are the Benefits of Vinegar on Sores?
Apple cider is the often the basis for therapeutic vinegars.

Botanical treatments abound for sore throats, cuts and cold sores, and vinegar is one of the best. Vinegar itself develops from a series of natural chemical reactions involving wine or juice fermentation, alcohol accumulation and finally oxidation, when air combines with bacteria in the alcohol and yields vinegar. The result is a potent, age-old remedy ready for use straight out of the bottle.

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Apple Cider Vinegar and Distilled White Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits states that for health purposes, apple cider vinegar -- which contains the nutrients and antioxidant compounds of its source fruit -- is superior to the balsamic or red wine vinegars common to culinary domains. Vinegar Book states that distilled white vinegar does not have as many nutrients or antioxidants as other vinegars, but Vinegar Tips still recommends distilled white vinegar as an effective antiseptic for cuts, abrasions and sunburn.

Vinegar For Sore Throats

Toss the pills and instead use vinegar and honey for throat pain.
Toss the pills and instead use vinegar and honey for throat pain.

Sore throats can range from merely annoying to heralding a debilitating illness such as a bad cold or influenza. To get a jump on controlling a sore throat, the Vinegar Book suggests three forms of vinegar: a medicinal dose, a syrup and a gargle, each based on apple cider vinegar. The dosage of 1 tbsp. six times daily of 1/4 cup vinegar plus 1/4 cup honey will kill the bacteria. For a soothing syrup to sip throughout the day, the Vinegar Book describes a mixture of 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper and 3 tbsp. honey. Gargling with 8 oz. warm water with 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar eases a sore throat, too.

Vinegar for Cold Sores

Vinegar helps reduce cold sore pain on lips.
Vinegar helps reduce cold sore pain on lips.

Cold sores can be painful, slow-to-heal, regretfully obvious lip wounds. But there is hope; Best Herpes Treatments encouragingly observes that apple cider vinegar's wonder drug reputation extends to its remedial action on cold sores. Said to prevent the cold sore from even developing, apple cider vinegar should be dabbed directly onto the region of the mouth or lips that have the warning tingle or itch. If the cold sore has already developed, add lemon juice to the vinegar and directly to the blister.

Vinegar for Sunburn, Itches and Cuts

Ice-cold vinegar sprays help soothe sunburned skin.
Ice-cold vinegar sprays help soothe sunburned skin.

Vinegar Tips recommends distilled white vinegar, applied undiluted, as an antiseptic for cuts and abrasions. It can lessen the sting and itch of insect bites as well, and prevent infection should those bites have been scratches. Distilled white vinegar can also be chilled in preparation as an ice-cold spray to sooth sunburn. It may even be helpful in preventing post-sunburn skin blisters from fully forming.

The Sting

Cuts can be disinfected with vinegar, then bandaged.
Cuts can be disinfected with vinegar, then bandaged.

The Vinegar Book describes apple cider vinegar as a potent disinfectant that can be regularly used to clean and sanitize your hands. Acne and skin boils can be treated with vinegar for the reduction of both pain and inflammation. There will probably be some stinging with all topical application of any vinegar, but that stinging is a good indicator that the antiseptic compounds are actively fighting bacteria or viruses. Vinegar's safe, disinfectant action extends to bathrooms and kitchens, but as topical salve for cuts and sores it is one of the most effective - -and one of the least expensive.

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