Four Thieves Vinegar

Four Thieves Vinegar is pretty cool stuff. It’s a great herbal remedy, whether used as a wash or taken internally, against bacteria, viruses, all sorts of stuff. And it tastes pretty good- I like it as a salad dressing.

The Story:

The story goes back to the time of the plague. Which plague? Most of them. A variation of this story seems to crop up anytime things are getting bad whether from the Black Death in Europe or Yellow Fever in New Orleans. The story goes that as people are dropping like flies and the authorities are trying to deal with the bodies, evacuation, bringing the disease under control, reducing panic, and every other accompanying aspect of a disaster, they become aware that some thieves are robbing the houses of the plague victims. As soon as they can spare the men, they capture them and discover that they are a family. In order to save their lives, the criminals offer to share their method for surviving despite extreme exposure. It’s this vinegar, which they both drink and wash in. Depending on the version, they go free or are caught later and punished elsewhere.
I have looked at about 40 different versions of this recipe, and have created these instructions by combining them. Clearly you can use what you have available and it should still work. Nature loves redundancy. All are based on garlic, and nearly all contain the first six herbs, with some combination of the others. Use your intuition.

4 Thieves Vinegar

Get a jar or bottle about twice the size of how much you want to make. (I prefer jars with wide mouths).

Put in it a bunch of cloves of fresh garlic and then put in a tablespoon or two of these herbs: lavender, peppermint, rosemary, sage, cloves, wormwood/mugwort.

You can then add a teaspoon or two of any of these you have around: Rue, marjoram, Peppercorns, anise hyssop, meadowsweet, angelica, horehound, camphor, lemon balm, ginger, yarrow, oregano, cayenne peppers, calendula, licorice, coriander, tansy.

Cover the herbs with vinegar. I prefer apple cider vinegar, others use wine vinegar. Let it sit for a couple weeks at least-  in the sun if you are in a hurry, shake it every so often, and make sure the herbs stay under the vinegar (use a weight or add more vinegar). When it’s sat as long as you want, strain it and put it into a pretty bottle (or whatever you like).

This can be for a wash, can be taken orally. Magickally, it keeps away bad energy as well as medicinally, it’s an  antibiotic, antiviral, antiparacitic.

Usual warnings: I am not a doctor and don’t give medical advice. Use at your own risk. This is included as a historical sample and recipe for making a wash to repel negative energy.

The thing is that herbs are not necessarily safe for everyone, or in every circumstance. While the first set of herbs (including the garlic) are in just about every 4 Thieves Vinegar recipe, the rest occur sporadically in other recipes. My impression is that everyone wants to put in their personal favorite herbs. Be careful about ingesting much, for example, rue and some others are pesticide herbs (and each herb has its own level of toxicity). “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”