Showing posts sorted by relevance for query four thieves vinegar. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query four thieves vinegar. Sort by date Show all posts

Four Thieves Vinegar

In my explorations of the history and uses of lavender, I came across some interesting information about Four Thieves Vinegar. I'd heard of it before, but didn't know what it meant:

The Legend of Four Thieves Vinegar

One version goes that in the 1630's, when the plague was raging in France, the town of Toulouse was beset with looters. Four looters were apprehended, but rather than punish them, the judge offered them a deal. Amazed at their continued health after wandering though homes and businesses abandoned by their terrified (or dead) owners, the judge offered to let the thieves go if they gave him the secret of their resistance to the plague.

What was their famous secret? It was a vinegar made from thyme, rosemary, sage, and lavender. This infusion was termed thieves vinegar. Although garlic was added to the mixture later, this basic infusion became famous and was used for hundreds of years across Europe, both internally and externally, to provide protection from the dreaded plague.

How to make Four Thieves Vinegar

There are a number of recipes available for four thieves vinegar, but the original probably went something like this:

Use equal parts thyme, rosemary, sage, and lavender. Place herbs in a jar and cover with vinegar. Seal and place in a cool, dark place for six weeks. Strain into a spray bottle or clean jar and use as a disinfectant.

The original herbal ingredients are all strong antibacterial agents, as is the vinegar.

Variations on the recipe add sweet smelling herbs like mint and lemon balm to the mixture. Garlic was also added, and although it was probably an excellent addition from an antibacterial standpoint, it was not one of the original herbs used.

Cautions for Using Sage in Herbal Preparations: It is contraindicated if you are currently taking diabetes, anticonvulsant or sedative medications. For more specifics about drug interactions involving sage, the WebMD Sage page (yes, there is one) has useful information you'll want to review: Sage Interactions

Photo: By OttawaAC (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Planting Spring Seeds Indoors

I wrote an article a few days ago and have posted a link to it at the bottom of this page. It will give you some good tips and tricks for starting seeds indoors in February or March. I have thought of an additional tip that can be fun.

I've started seeds between sheets of paper towels. Check it out: Starting Seeds Between the Sheets

Small peat coins can be a useful starting medium for seeds, but I like using potting soil with egg shells too. I think of it as being environmentally responsible. I save egg shells and cardboard egg cartons, wash and dry the shells, poke a hole in the bottom, fill them with potting soil and place them in the egg cartons. Once I add the seeds, I water them carefully and moisten the top of the soil twice daily with a mister bottle. When it's time to plant the seedlings outdoors, I cut away some of the shell with a pair of shears.

Vegetables often grow larger, faster and are better suited for peat pots that can be placed right into the ground.

Using eggshells is a little more work, but I find it satisfying. Maybe you will too. It's also a neat solution for providing extra nutrients to acid loving seedlings.

Every year I look around the house to find more ways to use the things I would otherwise discard. I also try to find more natural alternatives to the products I use. In cleaning, for example, I make up batches of four thieves vinegar. I also use undiluted vinegar as a disinfectant and antibacterial around the kitchen and potting area.

I recycle bottles to use as gifts. I fill them with homemade bath salts, herb blends, herb sugars, scented water, dried herbs, and as containers for homemade aromatherapy candles. These activities give an individual stamp to my gifts, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I use what I grow. This blog offers instructions and recipes for doing all of these activities.

This spring, give herbs a try. They give so much back for the effort you expend.

Starting Seeds in Spring

Lavender History and Lore

If you are a lover of lavender, then its associations with luck from the early St. John's Day festivals, and its reputation as an anti-plague herb, are tidbits you'll enjoy with your morning coffee.

Books like "The Book of Herb Lore" by Lady Rosalind Northcote, with its historical and literary references, add another dimension to the herb-keeping hobby. Lavender is one herb with a rich and colorful history to draw from.

Have a seat and let's take a look at some interesting lavender lore from around the world:

Where Did Lavender Originate?

Lavender, a staple of the English countryside, is not native to England. Originating in the coastal hills of the Mediterranean, lavender was probably spread throughout Europe by the Romans.

Where Does the Word Lavender Come From?

This is an easy one: From the Latin word lavare, lavender was named by the Romans, who used it in their famous baths. Lavare literally means "to wash."

Why Was Lavender a Popular Anti-Plague Herb?

A natural bug repellent, lavender was used extensively in the Middle Ages as an anti-plague herb. It was effective because it successfully repelled the fleas that carried the disease. It was one of the essential herbs in traditional Four Thieves Vinegar.

Lavender and French Perfume

Lavender was an important ingredient in the beginnings of the perfume industry in France, but French lavender (Lavendula dententa) is not the fragrant perfume variety of lavender. That award goes to Spanish lavender (Lavendual stoechus).

How Many Varieties of Lavender Are there?

The history of lavender can be traced back 2500 years, and there are now over 115 varieties of lavender cultivated around the world. They are primarily derived from basic English, French or Spanish lavender.

Lavender and the Evil Eye

At one time, Christians believed that lavender placed at the entrance of a home or in a keyhole would repel ghosts and protect against the evil eye. That reputation as a talisman against evil extended to lavender being a popular herb for festivals like the St. John's Day Festival.

Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Lavender

It was long believed that Cleopatra's secret weapon -- in love -- was lavender. She is said to have seduced both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony with its sultry scent. The asp that killed her may have been hiding in one of her lavender bushes.

For more information on lavender, visit my lavender page:

How to Grow Lavender and Use it in Cooking and Crafts

Use Lavender in Crafts

If you've visited here much, you know I love lavender. Over the years, I've written content about fun things you can do with your lavender harvest (for crafts, cooking and medicinal uses) and also about the literature and interesting history of my purple passion.

Since the lavender growing recap I posted a few days ago was so well received, I thought some of the following posts would make good lunch reading. Lavender really does deserve a little spot by your garden gate, here's why:

Lavender Facts of Interest

Using Lavender in Cooking and Crafts

Understanding Lavender's 'Lucky" Reputation

Keeping Lavender Indoors

Lavender in History 

The Legend of Four Thieves Vinegar

Lavender in Literature (Quotes)

Lavender Recipes

Herbes de Provence Recipe 

Make Lavender Sugar

Make Lavender Sugar Cookies

Make Lavender Ice Cream 

Make Lavender Salt

Make Lavender Apple Cake

Make Relaxing Lavender Tea

Lavender Ice Tea 

Lavender Crafts

Make Lavender Bath Salts 

Make Lavender Facial Scrub

Make Lavender Water

Make Lavender Oil

Make an Easy Lavender Candle

Make Lavender Bubble Bath

Make Lavender Sunburn Treatment

Make a Lavender Wand

Lavender Bedbug Spray

If you only have a plant or two and need more lavender buds than you're currently harvesting, you can buy food grade lavender online.

For your first project, try a lavender wand.  Even when the fragrance fades, you can refresh it with a little lavender essential oil. My wands are more streamlined that many you'll see.  They're beautiful to look at will last for years. This lavender wand style makes a wonderful gift and looks adorable in a closet or linen drawer.