What is the Mother in Apple Cider Vinegar?

Aug 15, 2017

The Mother in Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an incredibly popular remedy for a host of medical conditions. When used for its health benefits, it is recommended to use raw and organic apple cider vinegar because it contains the mother. But, what is "the mother", and is it necessary?

Typical grocery store vinegars have been pasteurized and filtered. This makes the vinegar have a crisp and clear appearance. Unfortunately, while filtering and pasteurization may improve the cosmetic appearance it actually devalues the vinegar and removes important health benefits.

Vinegar is a fermented food, like sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and kombucha. The cloudy appearance and the cobweb strings in the raw vinegar mean the vinegar is living and full of nutrients. The “strings” in the vinegar are the “mother,” similar to the kefir grains used to ferment kefir. If there were no “mother” there would be no vinegar.

Raw vinegar with the mother contains probiotics, enzymes and nutrients. These things are removed through filtering and heating.

When you are shopping for apple cider vinegar make sure your label says the vinegar is “raw.” You may or may not be able to see that the vinegar is cloudy with the stringy “mother” in it depending upon the color of the bottle. Raw apple cider vinegar is often sold in brown colored bottles.

While most vinegars that are “raw” will also be organic, do make sure that is the case with the vinegar you buy. One pubmed study1 found as many as 96 bacteria in raw and organic apple cider vinegar (and fewer were found in the non-organic vinegar)!  The multitude of bacteria is a positive thing. Not all bacteria is bad.

One of these bacteria, Pichia membranifaciens, is effective against at least one form of mold.2 At the same time, the high acetic acid content in vinegar keeps dangerous bacteria like E. Coli from developing.

The beneficial bacteria and enzymes are what makes the raw vinegar helpful to your digestion.

Acetic acid in vinegar is another critical component of apple cider vinegar. This acid is a antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral. Both raw and pasteurized vinegar are high in acetic acid. So if the only vinegar you have is filtered and pasteurized, it may work quite nicely for you anyway, depending on your specific health issue.

However, to maximize the effectiveness and usefulness of vinegar to your body, it makes sense go to the trouble to find raw apple cider vinegar with the mother. It is not significantly more expensive. That bottle of vinegar has countless uses for your health! You will find dozens of uses for this simple remedy.

For the record, raw and organic apple cider vinegar does not even need to be refrigerated and usually has a shelf life of at least 2 years.

When you buy raw and organic apple cider vinegar, the “mother” will settle to the bottom. To maximize the benefit of each spoonful of vinegar, gently shake your vinegar bottle to distribute the mother, so you will get a bit each time your take some from the bottle. If you don’t do this, your last bits of vinegar will be quite dark and stringy. While this is not harmful, it may seem distasteful to use it at all at this point, though it is fine if you do.

Has raw apple cider vinegar been a help to you in some way? Please send us some feedback!


1, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27904401
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11520619


Posted by Tonya (Virginia Beach, VA) on 06/22/2014

Apple Cider vinegar with the mother is the best form of acv. It is liquid form; you can find it at health food stores or most grocery stores with a organic healthy iInstructions are on the bottle. Hope this helps blessings to all ttc. (trying to conceive)

Nail Fungus  

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Posted by Lisa (New Hampshire) on 01/10/2017
5 out of 5 stars

For nail fungus:

Use ACV with "the mother" which seems to yield better results. You can usually find this in the natural foods section of a grocery store.