This herbal vinegar is probably the most well known and it has its roots in a legend from the Black Plaque. The story is of 4 thieves who either got caught robbing those who died of the plaque and a judge in awe learning of an herbal concoction they used to keep them safe let them go in exchange for their recipe, or 4 thieves who got caught and as punishment had to bury those dead from the plague by burying them and to protect themselves dowsed the deceased in an herbal concoction. Either way the legend went on and the herbs used might have changed over time, this is the most common recipe that has stayed.
Vinegar itself is known to have antibacterial properties and even current studies can attest to its benefits as a great cleaning solution.
The other herbs are warming and have aromatic, diffusive and diaphoretic properties. Aromatic herbs like sage, lavender and thyme are high in volatile oils which lend them to having anti microbial properties. Diffusive herbs like rosemary, sage and garlic bring heat from the core to the surface helping stimulate circulation. And diaphoretic herbs like rosemary, sage and lavender increase detoxification by promoting sweating. Garlic is also antibacterial and antiviral.
I tend to be liberal with herbal preparations, often considered the folk method so instead of measuring exactly I do it more by eye. But here is a rough raft of what I like to do.
You can use either dried or fresh. Fresh you want to use more because the water content is high and the shelf life is a little shorter.
4 Thieves Vinegar
1 tbsp dried lavender buds
1 tbsp dried sage (or 2 tbsp fresh)
2 tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 tbsp dried)
2 tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 tbsp dried)
6 cloves garlic crushed
Apple cider vinegar to cover (about 2 cups)
– Crush and chop all the herbs and garlic. Place in jar and pour vinegar to cover.
– Place parchment or wax paper to cover over your lid if it has a plastic sealant. Shake and leave for 1 month or a little more, in a dark place.
– Strain and enjoy like any vinegar or take sips like a tonic. Or add to your favorite natural cleaning solution.