Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help A Throbbing Headache, But There's A Bit Of A Catch

by Caroline Burke

Apple cider vinegar seems to be the one quick-fix treatment for all illnesses. It can cure acne, bump up the power of your immune system, and make you live an extra 50 years (OK, not really, but I honestly wouldn't blink if that's what research revealed next). But there's one symptom that's causing a little ACV controversy: Does apple cider vinegar stop headaches?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, as is usually the case for our little magical vinegar friend. Apple cider vinegar may be able to help headaches, but it depends on where your headache is coming from and how severe the headache in question is.

The main reason why people believe apple cider vinegar might be connected to headaches and general head pain relief is largely due to its digestive properties, surprisingly enough. Apple cider vinegar can aid in digestion by regulating blood sugar levels and alkalizing the body (aka keeping the body's pH balance in check). Since many headaches are caused by spikes in blood sugar, it follows that you might minimize blood sugar-related headaches by throwing back some ACV every day.

What's more, the high acidity of apple cider vinegar could potentially help you if you specifically suffer from sinus headaches or congestion. ACV will balance the pH levels in your system, which will lower the amount of mucus your body makes (and what's blocking your breathing).

However, there's no sign that apple cider vinegar can cure headaches point-blank, especially migraines.

In fact, there's potential evidence that apple cider vinegar could give you a headache instead.

Apple cider vinegar contains tannins (the textural element that makes wine taste dry), which can often lead to that not-so-fun Sunday morning hangover, if you're not careful. To be fair, it's unlikely that anyone is going to be slinging around glasses of apple cider vinegar the same way they'd power through a bottle of wine, but still, it's better to know what you're putting into your body than simply trusting the ACV gods and hoping they won't lead you astray. Besides, tannins can often trigger migraine attacks if you're prone to them, so you might not need to drink a lot for the pain to set in.

A basic rule of thumb is this: If you've been ingesting ACV for a host of other reasons, then it's pretty likely that you're not going to trigger migraines via the tannins, otherwise it would've already happened and you would've already tossed that bottle of vinegar out the window.

Since headaches are so often linked to other illnesses, it might help to first try to figure out why you're having one before you jump to ACV as a solution.

Some of the main causes of headaches include alcohol (hello tannins), sleep deprivation (hello Netflix), and dehydration (hello alcohol).

Each of these causes have solutions in their own right, all of which have nothing to do with ACV. If you drink more water, sleep a little more, and swap that fourth glass of wine out for some agua, you might cure the headache all on your own.

Apple cider vinegar's most powerful health benefits lie within its digestive and immunal powers.

So if you're looking to solve a health problem with a good ol' fashioned spoonful of ACV, try to figure out whether or not your illness or pain is caused by something that has to do with the pH of your body.

If you do decide to use ACV as your headache reliever, here are three suggestions from Healthline on how to do it right:

First, you can mix apple cider and honey into a headache-banning concoction. Simply mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey into a glass of water.

Another option is to soak a clean washcloth in cold apple cider vinegar, turning it into a cold compress. Wring out the cloth, then apply the compress to your forehead.

If you're big on vaporizers as a way to clear up your sinuses, you could make a nifty little ACV vapor hybrid. Just mix about a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar with two cups of water. Heat the mixture until it boils, then inhale the steam for about three minutes.

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