How to Make Four Thieves Vinegar

How to Make Four Thieves Vinegar

Herbal vinegars have been used as medicine since the time of Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine. Four Thieves Vinegar comes to us from a time when the plague was rampant in Europe, which is also known as the Black Death. It is also known as Marseilles Vinegar. It is also an old magickal remedy, a protection against evil and the magick of others. It is still commonly used today by modern practitioners.

The story behind it involves a band of thieves in the city of Marseilles in the seventeenth century. Four of these thieves were caught were robbing the sick and the graves of the dead during a plague outbreak, never falling sick themselves. They are said to have covered their bodies and face masks in this herbal vinegar, which we now know contains antibacterial and antiviral properties. When they were caught, they were to be tried and burned at the stake for their crimes. The judges noted that they had an immunity to the disease and offered a bargain that if they were to share their secret, they would be hung instead – a far less painful and quick death. The thieves shared their recipe, and so the Four Thieves Vinegar legend grew.

Recipes due vary, many only having four herbs – one for each thief. There are many recipes which use a dozen herbs or more. The main components usually are lavender, sage, rosemary and thyme, with the modern addition of garlic. Jean Valnet, a renowned herbalist of the early 20th century, may have written down the recipe that was closest to the original formula. The ingredients he lists are vinegar, wormwood, meadowsweet, juniper, marjoram, sage, cloves, horse heal, angelica, rosemary, horehound and camphor. His recipe also suggests steeping the herbs in vinegar for six weeks.

Historically Four Thieves Vinegar it is taken as a tonic and is used as a disinfectant in the sick room. It is used also for magick, such as protection from negative influences, and can serve both purposes of the medicinal and magickal. I offer three recipes below. The last is a mix of two recipes that I use myself. You can use any vinegar, but I do recommend apple cider vinegar for its taste, medicinal qualities, and for magickal purposes.

Recipe 1 – traditional (edible medicinal)

Equal parts:

Vinegar to cover

Recipe 2 – sick room disinfectant/bug repellant (wearable)

2 tablespoons Rosemary*
2 tablespoons Sage*
2 tablespoons Wormwood*
2 tablespoons Peppermint*
2 tablespoons Lavender*
2 tablespoons fresh crushed garlic
2 quarts Vinegar

Recipe 3 – magickal (do not ingest)

Black mustard seed
Black peppercorns
Fresh crushed garlic
Crushed red pepper or flakes
Vinegar to cover

*If you are using fresh herbs from your garden, triple the amount specified in the recipe.

Directions to Make Four Thieves Vinegar:

Combine the premixed herbs and vinegar in a sealed glass jar, and steep in a cool, dark place for two to four weeks, shaking daily. Strain the mixture of the herbs and keep the vinegar. You can also steep this in the refrigerator, and store it there as well. It can also be canned to preserve it for longer periods of time.

For health, make it on the full moon and steep it until the next. For magickal purposes I would begin steeping the herbs on a new moon and keep them out of the light – not using the recipe for any purpose only after the following new moon. You may wish to choose a planetary day and planetary hour to begin, being mindful of the energies you wish to put into it as these will be magnified.

How to Use Four Thieves Vinegar:

As a disinfectant: The vinegar can be cut with equal parts water added to a spray bottle. Can be used this way to clean and sterilize kitchen counters or bathroom surfaces. Many of the herbs used contain strong antimicrobial qualities and the vinegar is also a natural cleanser.

As a tonic (edible recipes): 1 tsp. On an empty stomach or in a glass of water.

As a dressing (edible recipes): On salads, seasoning for braised meats and vegetables, or in a vinaigrette for freshly picked edible flowers.

As a skin conditioner (edible recipes): For in personal care, dilute with water as a cleanser for the skin or as an astringent.

As protection: Add to your bath water for personal protection, or on boundaries to keep negative influences and people away from you. Use it at the threshold of your doors to keep enemies and negative people out. Sprinkle in ‘their footsteps’ where they have walked, or where they live to make them ‘move away’ from you and to leave you alone.

Enjoy! Many Blessings! Guest post by AlyciaRose. Chat with her!

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