top of page

Four Thieves Vinegar

Summer. It is a season to play, a season to plant, a season to harvest. It is a season to forage. It is a season to go off trail to find the best nettles and cattails, and chickweed, and elderberries and please don’t be humble dandelion. It is a season to prep for the long winter ahead.

Summer starts fast and furious in early June when the strawberries ripen, the spinach and lettuces are in their prime, Snow peas are coming on, early potatoes are begging to be dug and tomatoes, and beans, and peppers, and onions, and garlic and…. are in their first stages of exploding out of the darkness of their dirt home and into sunshine.

Herbs are coming on, too. I was reminded today, as I buried my nose in my just starting to bloom lavender, that it is time to make Four Thieves Vinegar. I have all the herbs I need in my little chemical-free garden. I have 2 quarts of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar I made last fall resting in the pantry. Perfect!

Four thieves Vinegar is an old, outrageously effective remedy for that which ails you in the winter. Feel a little sniffle, sore throat, general malaise, or oh no am I about to get sick feeling wash over you? Then take 1-2 tablespoons Four Thieves vinegar every 3-4 hours until you feel all better.

Do I have to go through the usual blah, blah, blah… don’t try this if you are having a major stroke, heart attack, or just fell off the roof routine? You are smart. You know your own body. You don’t need me to tell you what to do but I can tell you what I do when a few too many students sneeze in my face and I start to feel their plague wash over me. I don’t have time to be sick! I reach for my bottle of Four Thieves Vinegar.

You do as you know best. Did I spew forth the blah, blah, blah well enough?


Four Thieves Vinegar

4 cloves garlic

½ cup lavender leaves

½ cup rosemary leaves

½ cup sage leaves, coarsely chopped

¼ cup thyme leaves

Apple cider vinegar (preferably unpasteurized and with her mother!)

It is better to gather your leafy herbs and blooms in the early morning hours when they are fresh and relaxed and all their medicinal goodness is hanging out in their leaves, not scampering into the roots.

Place the garlic and freshly plucked herbs in a widemouthed glass jar and add enough warmed (not boiling!) vinegar to cover them. Warm vinegar will draw more of the medicinal properties out of the herbs.

Use a sharpie to write the date on your jar. You will be glad you did. Cover the jar with gauze or cheesecloth to keep bugs and dust out. Place the jar in a warm spot near a sunny window. Let rest and work its magic for at least 3 weeks. I like to let mine chillax a few days longer. 

Strain the vinegar into a glass jar and cover with a tight-fitting lid. I prefer to use amber jars. It is just another layer of protection. Store in a cool, dark location for up to 1 year.

I use my own homemade vinegars just so I know how it was made and what ingredients went into it. I make my vinegar in the fall when the apples are harvested. I hold at least a gallon in reserve for summer medicinal season. If you do not have enough of the good homemade vinegar then a good quality, unpasteurized vinegar, with her mother can be purchased at your local froo froo store. Maybe you can make your own next fall. It is very easy but it does require a long waiting time. Check out how to make Apple Cider Vinegar at:


bottom of page