“Dear Ms. Q,
I heard that vinegar is good for keeping demons and ghosts away, and to use 4 Thieves Vinegar, is this true and what is 4 Thieves Vinegar?”
Hello everyone, you'd be surprised at how helpful this common contentment is.
Vinegar, either apple cider vinegar, or wine vinegar (red or white) distilled white vinegar, even rice vinegar, has it’s uses either in cleaning out irons, in cooking or marinating foods, or on salads. It’s been used for pickling and preserving since the time of Hippocrates and the ancient Bible. So it is no stranger to spiritual, cleaning, medical, preserving or cooking uses.
4 Thieves Vinegar (also called Marseilles vinegar) came about during the time of the Black Death in the 1300’s. Legend has it (and there are two variations) that a gang of 4 thieves would use this vinegar on their clothing and person to avoid catching the disease and then rob the houses of the dead or dying. They were caught and sentenced to die (now here is where it varies) in one story they were going to be hung, in another they were sentenced to collect and bury the bodies of the plague victims. In the story where they were going to be hung they offered in exchange for their freedom the recipe to not catch the plague, in the other story the officials saw that they were not getting sick and they were offered their freedom if they told the officials how did they escape catching the plague.
Both stories originated in France one in Marseilles and the other in Toulouse, my Father’s side of the family and my Father himself came from an area near Toulouse and his Mother was big on cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms etc. with a mixture of white wine vinegar and herbs to prevent mold.
My Granny on Mom’s side (where I got my training) was also big on using vinegar as well for cleaning, and for marinating Pork, and rabbit, yes I ate Mr. fluffy bunny, but when I was growing up, rabbits were considered Food and their pelts for fur that was what they were raised for, their droppings were excellent fertilizer, just like chickens.
But the recipe for cleaning and the one for cooking or food use were different.
Early recipes for 4 Thieves vinegar called for a number of herbs to be added into the vinegar solution and left to steep for several days. The following vinegar recipe hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937, and is said to have been an original copy of the recipe posted on the walls of Marseilles during an episode of the plague:
“ 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.”
It is believe and plausibly, the reasons for not contracting the plague was that the herbal concoction contained natural flea repellents, since the flea is the carrier for the plague bacillus. Wormwood has properties similar to cedar as an insect repellent, as do aromatics such as sage, cloves, camphor, rosemary, campanula, etc. Meadowsweet, is mainly used to mask odors like decomposing bodies.
Another recipe called for dried rosemary, dried sage flowers, dried lavender flowers, fresh rue, camphor dissolved in spirit, sliced garlic, bruised cloves, and distilled wine vinegar.
Modern versions include various herbs that typically include sage, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, along with garlic. Additional herbs sometimes include rue, mint, and wormwood.
Legend has it that one is to use four herbs in the recipe—one for each thief, though earlier recipes often have a dozen herbs or more. It is still sold in Provence, France, and in Italy a mixture called "seven thieves vinegar" is sold as a smelling salt, though its ingredients appear to be the same as in four thieves mixtures.
Eventually the recipe for 4 Thieves Vinegar arrived in New Orleans and was respected not only for healing and disease-repelling properties, but for its ability to guard the wearer from danger and sure disaster and it found its way to become a vital component in many banishing and healing spells.
New Orleans in the early days was subject to malaria because of the water and swampy conditions, so it would not have been unusual for this recipe to be used to banish “evil spirits” such as the mosquito.
My brother was a scout master and would take his troop camping, and there were times when they’d be plagued with mosquito’s and have to get out the repellant, but it would work only for just so long, one boy never seemed to be bothered by mosquito’s it turned out that his mother cooked with a lot of garlic and the amount of garlic in his system repelled the hungry blood suckers.
My Granny had a dog and to prevent it from being bothered by fleas she would bathe the dog in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, cloves, rue, wormwood, lavender and sage, he never had a flea problem, but he didn’t like the bath and would at the first opportunity roll in the dirt.
My Granny told me that in 1918 -1919 when people, especially children were dying from the Spanish Influenza (it was horrible) she made sure her children wore masks soaked in vinegar and herbs and neither her, the children or the adults got sick. She would give the recipes to neighbors to wash down the sick rooms and to wear the masks and to wash their hands with it, followed by soap and water. In her neighborhood only one person died but she was very elderly.
But it was not unusual for Granny to have a bowl of vinegar with herbs mixed in it, on top of a tray on her dining room table, since her house has one room flowing into the other and the family always congregated around the table for dinner and discussions or homework having Vinegar is pretty powerful stuff. It can disrupt magic, stop ghosts and spirits from manifesting, and keep demons away.
It’s also very simple to use. Just pour wine vinegar or apple vinegar in a dish and let it evaporate overnight. It will disrupt the magic/ghost/demon for a few days. You can also put other protective herbs in it to amplify its purifying power. She would also have either cups or bowls in other parts of the house with the same vinegar and herb mixture, but where the family gathered a lot was in the dining room.
And she would wash down the sick room with a mixture of warm water and soap with the vinegar mixture as well. In the bathroom and kitchen it was never diluted with water.
One neighbor had her basement flooded and after everything dried out she had a mold problem, using white wine vinegar in which herbs had been seeped in, and then screening the herbs out she sprayed it all over where the mold appeared and even above the mold line, the mold disappeared and never came back.
So how do you prepare 4 thieves vinegar, as I said there are two types, one not edible and one edible.
The main ingredients is good quality vinegar, either wine or cider vinegar, just remember if using red wine vinegar do not put on clothing or stuffed furniture as it will stain, so use white wine vinegar.
Garlic, followed by Rue, Sage, lavender, thyme, wormwood, cloves.
Crush the garlic and boil in the vinegar, add the other herbs one at a time and when you do give it a quick stir. Once all the ingredients together let it boil a little longer just remember wormwood is poisonous, do not ingest.
It is also advisable to open all the windows in the house or at least in the kitchen and this is strong smelling and you do not want to inhale it as it will be pretty powerful smelling.
Then turn off the burner, allow things to cool down, give it a bit more stirring, and bottle it, herbs and all, allow to marinate for 4 days in a cool dark place. Before using or decanting give it a good shake.
This can be used in spells for banishing spells and rituals, for protection and healing spells and rituals, to cleanse negativity in that case use it as a floor wash and add either kosher or black salt, Granny also found it useful to get rid of an unwanted person (we use to have a mean gossip and she could never stay in Granny’s house), also you can use it in times of crisis,
Other herbs that could be added are camphor, mint, Black pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Coriander, Chili pepper, rosemary, meadowsweet, lemon balm, hyssop, even more recently eucalyptus but you have to be careful because some herbs such as wormwood, camphor and even rue can be poisonous so if you have that in your vinegar do not ingest, check out websites that can tell you which herbs you can take internally and which ones you cannot.
On Yronwould’s Lucky Mojo site she quotes “According to John M. Hansen (email@example.com), the original recipe for Four Thieves Vinegar dates to the 15th century in Italy and consists of garlic steeped in soured red wine. Based on his own family's experience, John says that, "As an inoculation against epidemic diseases it actually works. Its use in magic came about much later; as with many other substances it became useful in the magical arts."
Barbara Griffith (Barbara.Griffith@Colorado.edu) presents a variation of the formula which she says is "from a 1965 reprint of an old Southern cookbook, "Housekeeping in Old Virginia," originally published 1879."
Says Barbara, "In the chapter on the sick room, the following recipe is given for 'Thieves Vinegar.' No instructions were given as to its use - you were supposed to know:
'A handful of sage and the same of mint, tansy, rue, rosemary, lavender, and thyme; one ounce of camphor. Put in demijohn, and fill with good vinegar. Set in the sun two weeks with a piece of leather over the mouth (of the demijohn or jug), and then stop nightly. - Mrs. D. R.'"
That is a wonderful variation, and again demonstrates the antiquity of this recipe. However, because it includes Rue and Camphor, the "Old Virginia" version would not be suitable to use as a salad dressing, but would make an excellent body-wash and rub-down in the sick-room.”
And that is correct, Granny used a variation of that as well.
Now Katie on the Wellness Mama web site gives this recipe as a tonic, I provide for your information:
Vinegar of the Four Thieves Ingredients:
2 TBSP Thyme (dried)
2 TBSP Rosemary (dried)
2 TBSP Sage (dried)
2 TBSP Lavender (dried)
2 TBSP Mint (dried)
4-8 cloves of minced garlic (optional)
One 32-ounce bottle of organic Apple Cider Vinegar with “the Mother”
[Note: Most herbs can be found locally, but are also available online at places like Mountain Rose Herbs]
How To Make the Vinegar of The Four Thieves:
Put all the dried herbs and garlic (if using) into a large glass jar (I used half gallon)
Pour the Vinegar over the herbs and garlic and seal tightly. The vinegar is strong enough to corrode some metal lids, so in this case, consider putting plastic wrap or a plastic bag on top and then putting the lid on.
Leave in a cool, dark, place for 6-8 weeks (for health tonic recipe) shaking daily if possible.
After 6-8 weeks, strain the herbs out using a small strainer and store tonic in smaller jars for easy use.
Uses for Four Thieves Herbal Vinegar:
As I mentioned before, this vinegar makes a very effective (though strong smelling!) insect repellent. If you make it to this strength, just put 1/4 cup of the vinegar in an 8-ounce spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Spray on skin, clothes, etc. when in heavily insect infested areas. We store in the fridge to minimize the vinegar smell and make more refreshing.
In cases of illness, the Vinegar of the Four Thieves is very helpful in quick recovery. Adults can take 1 TBSP several times a day (dilute in water!!) and kids can take 1 Tsp several times a day (well diluted in water/herbal tea).
When a family member is sick, diluting this with 1 part water and putting in a spray bottle will make a potent disinfectant that can be used on surfaces or sprayed in the air.
I’ve had some people report really good success using this vinegar as a soak or topical spray for foot or nail fungus.
Diluted and used on the scalp, this remedy is also said to be effective against dandruff.
This vinegar makes an effective natural disinfectant spray for use in house cleaning.
The Vinegar of the Four Thieves smells awful and tastes almost as bad, but it is very effective against a variety of ailments! Plus, its healthier and cheaper than antibiotics!
Now that is according to the Wellness Mama website, but for those who like to go organic is appears to be fine, but I am not a medical adviser, nor a doctor. But there are people who swear by taking a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar a day.
So does it keep ghosts and evil spirits away? Yes it does, the herbs in the vinegar as well as the smell of the vinegar itself repels them.
If you feel that negativity or ghosts are around just get one of those diffusers where you put the liquid in the dish above a holder that you can put a tea light under, put the 4 Thieves vinegar into that and light the tea light (Make sure it burns safely) allow the vinegar to evaporate during this process, add more liquid as needed but make sure that the dish holding the liquid does not completely dry out, usually after the tea light burns out whatever negativity that bothered you will be gone, you can also wash around the door frames of those doors (including sliding doors) that lead to the outside and windows as well.
I still to this day will burn or evaporate 4 thieves vinegar in my house, as needed. When I do I always get a nephew coming over asking if I’m cooking a pork roast ‘cause he’s hungry, sorry Bo I’m not, and he gets so disappointed that I have to promise that I’ll cook a pork roast for Sunday dinner.
Now there are so many spell and rituals using this vinegar that I do not have the time to post them, but as I come across them I will post them.
Hopefully this will answer your questions about Vinegar and 4 Thieves Vinegar.