Vinegar folklore is as colorful as it is practical. Legend states that a courtier in Babylonia (c. 5000 BC) "discovered" wine, formed from unattended grape juice, leading to the eventual discovery of vinegar and its use as a food preservative. Hippocrates (c. 420 BC) used vinegar medicinally to manage wounds. Hannibal of Carthage (c. 200 BC), the great military leader and strategist, used vinegar to dissolve boulders that blocked his army's path. Cleopatra (c. 50 BC) dissolved precious pearls in vinegar and offered her love potion to Anthony. Sung Tse, the 10th century creator of forensic medicine, advocated hand washing with sulfur and vinegar to avoid infection during autopsies. Based on the writings of US medical practitioners dating to the late 18th century, many ailments, from dropsy to poison ivy, croup, and stomachache, were treated with vinegar, and, before the production and marketing of hypoglycemic agents, vinegar "teas" were commonly consumed by diabetics to help manage their chronic aliment. This review examines the scientific evidence for medicinal uses of vinegar, focusing particularly on the recent investigations supporting vinegar's role as an antiglycemic agent. Epidemiologic studies and clinical trials were identified by a MEDLINE title/abstract search with the following search terms: vinegar, glucose; vinegar, cancer; or vinegar, infection. All relevant randomized or case-control trials were included in this review.
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Cite this: Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect - Medscape - May 30, 2006.