herbal drinking vinegars for digestion + joy

As those of you on my email list know, I’m not a very make-y person. I put together some basic preparations, and obviously create custom herbal formulas for my patients. But I sort of stall when it comes to anything that hits me as cooking.

(Yes, I do make food for myself. But it’s a struggle. I’m writing a whole book about it.)

But some things are so simple and delicious, it’s just silly not to do them. And what I’ve got for you today is one of those.

In this video you’ll see me make a drinking vinegar, commonly known as a “shrub” or technically an acetracta (vinegar extraction.) These are tasty ways to get the medicinal benefits of herbs in a palatable package.



Here I grabbed some backyard blackberries and spearmint, smooshed them together and added a high-quality apple cider vinegar, covered and labeled the jar and called it good. That’s it.

I didn’t use a recipe. And I didn’t wait very long to start adding dollops of the liquid to cold bubbly water — a perfect way to beat the heat.

Drinking vinegars have gotten trendy, and that’s not a terrible thing.

The vinegar alone helps jump-start digestion. A tablespoon or two before meals supports stomach acid — which, counterintuitively, can reduce reflux.

Good apple-cider vinegar (ACV) is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. The “mother” you’ll see in some brands contains probiotics to tend that internal garden!

ACV’s mild acid helps it draw out and preserve plant medicines. Vinegar extracts are a great alternative to tinctures for folks wanting to avoid alcohol.

Mint is a traditional tummy tea, its aromatic compounds helping gently stimulating digestion while taming gas and bloating.

The blackberries are here for flavor, color and a dose of antioxidant goodness.

Fizzy-water with shrubs can be an important tool to help folks beat soda addictions. And make no mistake, sugary sodas are seriously addictive and terrible for your health. The serious addict won’t consider it a true replacement, but it can help scratch the itch while reducing harm.

When you’re ready to try making a shrub, remember that the best herbal medicines are the ones you HAVE and WILL USE.


— Dr. Orna


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P.P.S. Here, from a critical source, is a good review and evaluation of apple-cider vinegar’s health benefits.

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Photo by Kaizen Nguyễn on Unsplash