Does the thought of vinegar make you sour? Growing up, my mother would put apple cider vinegar on cooked spinach. Whenever I got a whiff, I would be instantly angered that someone would willingly subject me (and others) to the foulest smell in the universe. Dinner ruined.
I carried that hatred with me through college, avoiding all things vinegar.
Until I met someone who drank Bragg’s apple cider vinegar with the mother to help a hoard of health issues she had. HAD being the big word. Doctor after doctor couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. She had headaches and digestive problems. Soon she turned to natural remedies and found apple cider vinegar to work wonders for her health.
I tried it…well that is to say, I tried trying it. Couldn’t get past the first sip of the ice cold water with a splash of ACV (apple cider vinegar for short).
I gagged. Worst experience ever and I swore never to try it again.
However, a few years later, I found myself struggling with the same symptoms that lady had. So…I was determined to find a way I could swallow ACV without a visceral reaction. (PS ACV does come in pill form but since I have a tough time swallowing the smallest of pills I had to drink the liquid.) And I developed this recipe http://www.diyhomehealth.com/apple-cider-vinegar-benefits/. I mention in that article several of the benefits of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar with the mother as well. Crazy part is it totally worked. No idea what I had but after the first week of drinking ACV every night (only a tsp in a cup of water) I feel INCREDIBLE!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor and can’t guarantee these benefits. Please consult with your healthcare practitioner before using. Use the following information at your own risk.
For the past few years I’ve become a purveyor of vinegar. I use a white vinegar solution to clean my house and there are a hoard of uses for apple cider vinegar as well!
One specific mixture that has been touted for its health benefits throughout history is Four Thieves Vinegar, which is made with apple cider vinegar (or wine) and several herbs and garlic.
In this post I’ll be going over the miraculous benefits of four thieves vinegar, how to make it and how to use it.
The History Behind Four Thieves Vinegar
There are several different versions of this story on the Web so this history isn’t technically confirmed; however, I do believe it still holds some truth to it. During the Bubonic plague in France, criminals were tasked with burying the dead. Of course, if you come in contact with someone who died from the plague most likely you would get it too.
However, there were four thieves who weren’t getting sick. Supposedly they were using a herbal vinegar mixture. Hence, the name four thieves vinegar.
I first heard of four thieves when using essential oils. There is a four thieves oil that many companies offer that are a combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils.
The oldest recipe found about herbal vinegars was said to be posted on a wall in Marseilles during the plague. Here’s what it contained as quoted from Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy (CW Daniel Company, Ltd. First published in Paris, France in 1937 by Girardot & Cie.):
“Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of camphor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.”
The four most common herbs in four thieves, whether it be oil, vinegar, wine etc, are rosemary, thyme, sage, and mint. Lavender, rue, marjoram and clove are also commonly listed in recipes.
Garlic also makes a common appearance in four thieves recipes and I’ll explain more on the benefits of each of these herbs below the recipe that I use.
Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe
2 tablespoons fresh sage
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
16 oz of Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother (it’s best if you buy the 32 oz bottle but this recipe is to make only one four thieves vinegar bottle
1 Glass bottle (16 oz) with plastic lid (NO METAL)
Fill up a glass bottle (16 oz) with the garlic and herbs. I like to rub and rip the softer herbs between my finger before placing them in the bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle with the vinegar (you can also use wine or white wine vinegar). Shake and then put it in a cool, dark place.
Shake the bottle once a week for 2-6 weeks (depending how strong you want it).
When ready to strain, use cheesecloth or a plastic colander (no metal) to strain liquid out into a bowl or cup and then take out the herbs and garlic. You can then place the strained mixture back into the glass bottle till you are ready to use it.
NOTE: Vinegar will corrode metal. Back in the Middle Ages, alchemist use to pour vinegar over lead to make “sugar of lead” to drink, of course, they stopped this practice soon after when they found the drink was making everyone sick. So when making your vinegar, straining or even using it to clean—stay away from metal!
Benefits and Uses of Four Thieves Vinegar
First off, I want to run down some benefits of the basic ingredients in four thieves vinegar. There are so many more benefits than what I include below but this will give you a feel for the benefits and uses of four thieves vinegar.
Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar:
- Stop hiccups
- Lower cholesterol
- Get rid or prevent common flu and cold
- Helps you lose weight
- Helps control blood sugar levels (great for those with diabetes)
- Clears acne
- Boosts your energy
Benefits of Garlic: (Garlic must be crushed in order to active Allicin, which is what gives garlic its health benefits.)
- Helps combat the common cold
- Reduce blood pressure
- Prevent Dementia
- Detoxify your body from heavy metal, which could help alleviate headaches
- Good for your bones
Benefits of Rosemary:
- Alleviate muscle pain
- Boost immunity
- Improve memory
- Promote hair growth
- Helps digestion
Benefits of Thyme:
- Helps sore throats
- Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Boost your mood
- Cancer-fighting properties
Benefits of Mint:
- Relieve asthma symptoms
- Helps with digestive problems
- Natural stimulant
- Clears acne
- Boosts cognitive functions
- Cancer-fighting properties
Benefits of Sage:
- Increase concentration and focus
- Anti-inflammatory (help with arthritis)
- Neutralizes free radicals
- Antioxidant and helps boost your immune system
- Helps prevent degenerative diseases
- Helps with diabetes management
Most common uses for four thieves vinegar is for cleaning. You can use the four thieves vinegar straight up but I like to do half vinegar/half water in a spray bottle that I then use for areas that need to be disinfected.
I will warn you, four thieves vinegar has a very strong smell…you will hate it. But don’t let that deter you from using its so many benefits! When cleaning with it, I find the smell actually goes away after a day.
You can also take vinegar orally BUT NEVER CONCENTRATED! Always mix a teaspoon to a tablespoon of your four thieves vinegar with water or food before ingesting. This can help ward of cold and flu, which is perfect for this time of year! Take a teaspoon in a half cup of water or food once a day. Check with a healthcare practitioner before giving to children or if you’re pregnant or breast feeding before taking four thieves vinegar.
Four thieves vinegar can also be used for insect repellant or to soak your feet in if you have toe or nail fungus.
I would love to hear your uses for four thieves vinegar in the comments below!
Want to learn more about natural healing remedies? Check out this book!