Happy Birthday, Yevgeny! - April 19, 2010 Happy Birthday, Yevgeny! - April 19, 2010 Photo by Yevgeny Sudbin

Ah, springtime. The birds are singing and the trees are blooming....and you're sneezing, wheezing and contemplating a move to the Arctic tundra. (Pollen isn't quite as plentiful up there.)

We can totally relate to the Springtime agony. We did, however, recently stumble upon the most remarkable home remedy which we wanted to share. Thanks and nods go to Sue Fisher for cracking open her book of Victorian Health Remedies and selling us on the miraculous properties of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Victorian Home Remedies BookThe pungent aroma of fermented apples has been causing a stir since back in Hippocrates's day. The "Father of Medicine" was said to have used ACV as an antibiotic and health tonic. It's purportedly rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium; acetic, malic, lactic and citric acids.

One teaspoon of ACV mixed with a half liter of water, three times daily, can:

  • dissolve mucous, a major congestive culprit during allergy season. It may sound kitchy, but believe us -- it really works. Mix a tsp with a small bottle of water and sip throughout the day. It can also be taken straight if you're feeling brazen...but be sure to chase with water!
  • improve liver, kidney and bladder functions by helping the body purge and detoxify. (Subtext: It makes you tinkle - a LOT.)
  • give the skin a healthy, rosy, I-just-did-a-triathalon type glow (minus the triathalon).
  • supposedly aid weight loss by increasing the metabolism and putting the smack-down on cravings.
  • act as a toner or astringent if applied topically - a coveted zit-busting secret.
  • prevent food poisoning by killing off unhealthy bacteria in the intestines if a straight-shot is taken after an unsettling meal.

The Magic is in "The Mother"

Look for unpasteurized, unfiltered, unrefined Apple Cider Vinegar, distinctive for the cloudy, dark, mystery substance that settles at the bottom of the bottle. It's this stuff, called "The Mother," which contains all the nutrients ACV enthusiasts credit for the hefty health benefits.

The clear, generic brands will do you no good. If you can't find organic at the store, better to order online than throw away money for no return. The Notes crew recommends going with Bragg's or Spectrum Organic Apple Cider Vinegar. (Make sure you get the liquid, by the way, the pills don't do jack...)

As for the taste? Not gonna lie -- it's acquired...Actually, it's pretty friggin' gross at first, but it definitely grows on you after a while. Either way, it sure beats overdosing on Zyrtec or hibernating your way through Spring. You can even grab a pretty eyedropper bottle for quick fixes on-the-go.