People claim that apple cider vinegar’s antibacterial properties mean it can soothe throat discomfort. While little scientific evidence supports its effectiveness, some individuals anecdotally report its benefits.

People commonly use apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a home remedy for sore throats, skin complaints, digestive issues, and many other issues. It has antibacterial properties, which could help with a throat infection due to bacteria.

However, viruses, allergies, and environmental irritants can cause throat discomfort, meaning ACV cannot help in all cases. Most sore throats resolve independently, but home remedies, such as ACV, may ease uncomfortable symptoms.

Read on to learn more about apple cider vinegar for a sore throat and its potential benefits and risks.

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Anecdotal evidence suggests ACV may help reduce sore throat symptoms. However, there is very limited scientific data supporting this claim.

Studies in human cells show that ACV is effective against Escherichia coli bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and Candida albicans yeast. It also acts against methicillin-resistant S. aureus and resistant coli (rE.coli) infections, which are significant threats to human health.

While laboratory studies have demonstrated the antimicrobial properties of ACV against some bacteria and yeast, there is currently a lack of human trials to support these findings.

This means that while ACV may exhibit potential antibacterial effects outside the human body, its efficacy in treating sore throats in people remains uncertain.

While supporters of ACV home remedies say it offers potential health benefits for various conditions, little scientific evidence supports these claims.

However, some possible benefits relating to ACV include:

  • Alkalizing effect: ACV may contribute to an alkaline environment in the body, making it unfavorable for certain bacteria and viruses and inhibiting their growth.
  • Probiotic properties: Organic, cold-pressed ACV often contains “the mother.” This refers to clumps of cloudy beneficial bacteria and enzymes. Health experts consider these substances probiotics that may contribute to a healthy gut microbiome.
  • Mucus thinning: Some proponents claim ACV can help thin mucus secretions, making them easier to expel. This could benefit people with conditions causing excessive mucus production, such as sinus congestion and respiratory infections.
  • Nutrient support: ACV contains minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. However, these trace amounts are unlikely to contribute to daily requirements significantly.
  • Blood glucose management: A 2018 review linked ACV to reduced blood glucose, meaning there could be potential benefits for people with diabetes.

It is advisable to approach these claims with caution. They come from anecdotal reports rather than evidence-based data, so they do not have support from clinical research.

While health experts generally consider ACV safe when people consume it diluted and in moderate amounts, there are some potential risks and side effects. These include:

  • Tooth enamel erosion: ACV is highly acidic, and frequent or prolonged exposure to acidic substances could erode tooth enamel.
  • Digestive issues: The acidity may cause digestive discomfort, such as stomach upset, indigestion, or heartburn, particularly in individuals with sensitive stomachs or acid reflux.
  • Throat burns: ACV can cause esophageal (throat) burns or ulcers with excess consumption.
  • Interactions with medications: It may interact with certain medications, such as water pills (diuretics), insulin, or medications for heart disease (digoxin).

ACV is highly acidic, so it is crucial to dilute it before use.

A suggested dilution ratio is typically 1–2 tablespoons of ACV mixed in a glass of water. Individuals can adjust this ratio slightly according to personal preference and tolerance.

For example, for a sore throat, a person can gargle the diluted ACV solution.

They can take a small sip of the diluted mixture, tilt the head back, and gargle for several seconds before spitting it out. They can repeat this process a few times a day as necessary for symptom relief.

To enhance the taste and potentially increase the soothing effect, some individuals add a teaspoon of honey or a pinch of salt to the diluted ACV mixture.

However, people need to be mindful of any adverse reactions or discomfort when using ACV. If they experience burning, irritation, or other side effects, they need to discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

While ACV may offer potential benefits for soothing a sore throat, a person needs to contact a doctor if they experience the following:

  • Severe or prolonged symptoms: If a sore throat persists for over a few days or becomes increasingly severe, a person should consult a healthcare professional. They can assess the symptoms, perform an evaluation, and determine the underlying cause of the pain.
  • High fever: If an individual develops a fever — which doctors define as a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher — besides a sore throat, it could indicate an infection requiring medical intervention.
  • Worsening symptoms: If symptoms worsen despite using ACV or a person develops new symptoms, such as severe pain, earache, or a persistent cough, it may suggest an underlying condition that requires medical attention.
  • Allergic reactions: If a person experiences any signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue after using ACV, they need to seek immediate medical attention.

It is important to note that while ACV may provide temporary relief for a sore throat, it is not a substitute for professional medical care. A healthcare professional can provide an accurate diagnosis, recommend appropriate treatment options, and ensure proper condition management.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has gained popularity as a potential remedy for soothing a sore throat. While anecdotal evidence suggests it may be beneficial, the scientific evidence supporting its use in this context is limited.

If a person chooses to use ACV for a sore throat, it is important to do so carefully. They need to dilute it before use, and individuals need to consider its potential risks and side effects, such as tooth enamel erosion and digestive issues.

While ACV may relieve a sore throat, it should not replace professional medical advice or treatment.