Vinegar of the Four Thieves

This recipe and legend is taken from Dian Dincin Buchman’s book “Herbal Medicine”. 

Four thieves who had safely ransacked empty plague-ridden houses were caught by policemen and brought before the French judges in Marseilles.  The Judges wondered aloud how these thieves had resisted the plague, especially since they were in and out of plague-infested homes. 

It is also rumored that it was a remedy used and devised by an apothecary named Richard Forthave.  It’s use and success is believed to have created its own myth.In return for giving the recipe, the thieves were given their freedom. 

There are several Four Thieves vinegars. This simple version was taken from a notebook of a Virginian housewife. 

2 quartz apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoon lavender
2 tablespoon rosemary
2 tablespoon sage
2 tablespoon wormwood (caution)
2 tablespoon rue (caution)
2 tablespoon mint
2 tablespoon garlic buds 

Combine the dried herbs, except the garlic, with the vinegar and let sit in the sun for two weeks.  Strain and rebottle.  Label .  add several cloves of garlic.  When the garlic has steeped in the sun for several days, take out the garlic and add 4 oz of glycerin for preservation.  

 It is used to wash floors, walls, sinks, bedsteads, pots and pans in a sick room, bathrooms and kitchens. 

Externally, this vinegar is used in small proportions in a bath or diluted for a body wash.  Some of the herbs are too strong for the skin and must be diluted. 

Internally, the dose is a teaspoon at a time in water.  No more than one tablespoon an hour (3 teaspoons equals a tablespoon).  This acts as a preventive during an epidemic. 
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