Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Four Thieves Vinegar

Legend has it that in the 17th century, during the re-occurrence of the bubonic plague in France, nearly a million citizens succumbed to the disease. As the cities were ravaged, a group of thieves somehow managed to survive the dreaded plague. It is said that this group of people doused face masks with an herbal concoction that helped them with their immunity. The thieves (originally grave robbers) were able to enter the houses of those who had died and rob them of their valuables. The combination of antibacterial and antiviral herbs and vinegar kept them from suffering from the same fate as those they robbed.

I made Four Thieves Vinegar last  year. To me, due to the combination of herbs, it tastes a lot like Thanksgiving dinner. I, personally, can't stand vinegar, though, so I still had a hard time getting it down. I need to try to mix it with warm water and honey.

Currently, our winter has been incredibly mild. Subsequently, germs have not been killed off, schools have not been closed due to snow, and the spread of colds and flu have drastically reduced my class sizes. And, quite frankly, I'm paranoid anytime a student comes up to me asking for a nurse pass.

Obviously, it is time to make more elderberry syrup and a new batch of Four Thieves Vinegar. We are currently healthy in my house and I will do whatever I can to escape the "plague" of 2017.

Depending on where you look for the recipe, there are several variations. Ultimately, the most important aspect of the recipe is that you use good quality organic raw apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg's) and garlic.

Other herbs that I add to the mix are:
- dried rosemary
- dried sage
- dried thyme
- lavender
- ginger
- dried hibiscus

**As always, I am not a physician. Please check with your doctor if you have any questions.
Be careful if you use wormwood - Those who should be cautious are anyone who is nursing or pregnant, or suffer from a kidney disorder, a seizure disorder, porphyria, or a ragweed allergy)

Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe

- 1 quart raw, organic apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
- Your choice of other mixed herbs. Options are: rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, wormwood, ginger, mint, black pepper, cayenne pepper, coriander, chilli pepper, rue
Use approximately 1-2 tablespoons each

You have several options for making the concoction. I've used both methods, depending on need and time.

Option I:
1. Peel and crush the garlic cloves and boil the garlic in the vinegar for a few minutes.
2. Add the rest of the herbs and allow to simmer for another few minutes.
3. Allow to cool down on the stove (steeping further).
4. Store them in a clean bottle and allow to sit for a few days.
5. Give a good shake before you use! Store in the fridge to ensure the vinegar doesn't turn sour.

Option II:
1. Combine all the vinegar and herbs in a clean jar.
2. Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, allowing all items to steep. Shake daily.
3. Strain out the herbs and return the vinegar to the jar.
4. Store in the fridge!

The vinegar can be stored for up to 6 months.

When I got home this evening, I made both my elderberry syrup and the Four Thieves Vinegar.

If you feel illness coming on, or if you're around those who are ill, or if you've been suffering from a cold or virus for a few days and are tired of feeling sick, take a shot of this in the morning, or mix it into a mug of warm water with honey and lemon.

Happy brewing, everyone! Let me know your thoughts!