Page 125 - The Secrets Of Vinegar
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                           Les Secrets du Les du
            Vinegar in the Ancient World
Numerous texts, many more than 2,000 years old, describe vinegar as an everyday ingredient. In fact, certain Bible passages show that the Hebrews were familiar with its properties, including its ability to dissolve calcium. Honey vinegar, derived from mead, was already commonly used at the time. Legend tells that Helen of Troy, mythical daughter of Tyndareus, King of Sparta, bathed in vinegar for relaxation.
In classical times, vinegar was mainly used for its therapeutic, antiseptic, astringent and refreshing properties. Starting in 400 BCE, the famous Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, considered the father of Western medicine, prescribed it to his patients as a remedy for insect bites, inflammation, fever, and bleeding. He also prescribed vinegar-based beverages. In his text on agriculture, Cato the Elder wrote that olive pickers, in addition to their regular pay, received an “allocation of vinegar.” The Roman statesman also treated many illnesses with cabbage and vinegar. According to Cato, “if you wish to eat and drink in excess, first eat raw cabbage pickled in vinegar.”
Vinegar was likely the first antibacterial medicine in history. The Babylonians discovered that vinegar slowed the spread of bacteria that caused food to rot; they used it as a preservative, condiment, and seasoning. From 2,000 BCE onward, the Chinese used rice vinegar for cleaning and seasoning dishes. India has also been making vinegar from palm sap or sago1 for several thousand years.
1 The sago palm is a palm tree cultivated in intertropical regions.

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