Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that’s marked by inflammation. It causes joint damage and pain throughout your body. Other symptoms associated with this condition include:

There’s no known cure for RA. Attention to diet and exercise reduces symptoms. Medication can help reduce inflammation and discomfort, but prescription drugs can become costly or result in unwanted side effects. Home remedies — such as using apple cider vinegar — may offer relief from arthritis pain.

Apple cider vinegar is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and numerous health benefits. Other than being used for cooking, apple cider vinegar has been associated with a variety of advantages. Some of these include:

Its anti-inflammatory properties may also be helpful in alleviating RA pain. Apple cider vinegar contains a number of vitamins and antioxidants that help to speed the healing process. These antioxidants can also reduce the swelling and pain caused by RA.

The more common way of using apple cider vinegar as a treatment is by drinking it. However, vinegar is highly acidic. Before consuming, dilute it with water to prevent damage to your teeth.

Another recommended use for this product as a RA treatment is to apply it topically for local pain relief. Using a cotton ball, apply vinegar to the affected area twice a day. To prevent irritation, consider diluting the solution with an oil — such as coconut oil or olive oil — and massage it into your skin. If you notice an adverse reaction, stop using it immediately.

Many people believe that adding apple cider vinegar to your bath before bed can also help to relieve RA pain. Add one cup of the vinegar to your evening bath and sit in the solution for 20 to 30 minutes. This can help reduce overnight stiffness and swelling.

While there’s research demonstrating the benefits of apple cider vinegar for mild coughs and antibacterial food preparation, there’s not sufficient research to demonstrate its effectiveness for treating arthritis pain.

According to studies, experts advise against using apple cider vinegar to treat wounds. Topical use has been shown to irritate the skin and worsen inflammation. In addition, the Arthritis Foundation lists apple cider vinegar as a food myth against arthritis pain.

While apple cider vinegar is seen as a cure-all solution for minor illnesses and injuries, there’s not enough evidence to prove it as an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Apple cider vinegar as a home remedy may be more affordable but may not be helpful or effective for some people.

Before pursuing alternative treatment, consult with your doctor. Home remedies paired with prescribed treatment may alleviate symptoms. If you begin to experience irregular side effects or if your condition worsens, seek immediate medical attention.