I mentioned the Vinegar of the Four Thieves last week when talking about natural bug spray alternatives, but this health tonic is so much more!
This recipe centers around herbs that have been known for their antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal properties for centuries. The most famous mention of these herbs in this specific combination was by four thieves during the Bubonic Plague.
According to legend, four thieves, one of whom was an herbalist, robbed the homes of many who had died of the plague. They were eventually caught and brought to trial. One version of the story recounts that they were sentenced to bury the dead but would be set free if they survived. Another version tells that they were released in return for the recipe for the tonic that they credited with protecting them from the plague.
Either way, the thieves survived, as did the legend and the recipe for their herbal vinegar. Though we hopefully won’t ever need this remedy for anything as serious as the plague, it still serves as a valuable remedy against many illnesses and is a powerful disinfectant and bug spray.
Vinegar of the Four Thieves Health Tonic Recipe
- In a large glass jar, combine all the dried herbs and garlic, if using.
- Pour the vinegar over the herbs and garlic and seal tightly. The vinegar is strong enough to corrode some metal lids, so in this case, consider putting plastic wrap or a plastic bag on top and then putting the lid on.
- Leave in a cool, dark, place for 6-8 weeks, shaking daily if possible.
- After 6-8 weeks, strain the herbs out using a small strainer and store the tonic in smaller jars for easy use.
Uses for Four Thieves Herbal Vinegar
- As I mentioned before, this vinegar makes a very effective (though strong smelling!) insect repellent. If you make it to this strength, just put 1/4 cup of the vinegar in an 8-ounce spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray on skin, clothes, etc. when in heavily insect infested areas. We store in the fridge to minimize the vinegar smell and make more refreshing.
- In cases of illness, the Vinegar of the Four Thieves is very helpful in quick recovery. Adults can take 1 TBSP several times a day (dilute in water!!) and kids can take 1 Tsp several times a day (well diluted in water/herbal tea).
- When a family member is sick, diluting this with 1 part water and putting in a spray bottle will make a potent disinfectant that can be used on surfaces or sprayed in the air.
- I’ve had some people report really good success using this vinegar as a soak or topical spray for foot or nail fungus.
- Diluted and used on the scalp, this remedy is also said to be effective against dandruff.
- This vinegar makes an effective natural disinfectant spray for use in house cleaning.
The Vinegar of the Four Thieves smells awful and tastes almost as bad, but it is very effective against a variety of ailments! Plus, its healthier and cheaper than antibiotics!
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.
What is your best natural health remedy? Will you try this herbal vinegar? Share below!