Le vinaigre des quatre voleurs - Simplethings

Four Thieves Vinegar

Do you know this legend? The legend of the four thieves… This is the story of robbers who robbed corpses during an epidemic of the Black Death, without being contaminated themselves. Asked about their resistance, they replied that they had discovered a remedy, the famous "vinegar of the four thieves", which they took daily.

The date, place and even the number of brigands, as well as the composition of the remedy itself, are the subject of different versions depending on who is telling the story. The date is generally between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries, and the cities cited are Marseille and Toulouse.

The vinegar of the four thieves was registered in the codex in 1748 and sold in pharmacies under the name "antiseptic vinegar" until 1884. It is still marketed today against the risks of contagion, care of the skin, capillaries and mucous membranes , fatigue, headaches, respiratory obstruction, elimination of lice and nits and can even be used as an all-purpose cleaning spray!

This folk potion existed long before the first plague outbreaks.

The vinegar of the four thieves, how does it work?

Before the discovery of microbes (like bacteria and viruses), people believed in the miasma theory, according to which diseases were carried by foul air. This belief gave rise to the famous nightmarish bird-beaked mask of the plague doctors. Doctors filled these masks with aromatic plants and flower petals, believing that breathing in pleasant smells protected them from infection.

The miasma theory was superseded by the microbial theory in the 19th century.

But then, how did the thieves manage not to catch the disease?

Unlike the flowers selected by doctors for the power of their fragrances, several plants used in the mixture of thieves are known for their antibacterial and antiviral effect.

The plants used such as rosemary, sage, thyme are considered diaphoretic, that is to say, they encourage sweating and can help lower fever.

In addition, these plants helped to ward off fleas carrying the bacillus causing the disease.

The four thieves vinegar has many virtues but the one that interests us the most is that it is an excellent disinfectant and sanitizer for the home.

Recipe “Four Thieves Vinegar”:


1 case of dried rosemary

1 case of dried thyme

1 case of lavender flowers

1 case of dried sage

1 case of dried mint

2 cinnamon sticks

10 cloves

2 cups apple cider vinegar

The steps to follow:

In a 500ml bowl, place your dried plants and spices then fill with cider vinegar.

Close your salad bowl with a lid.

Leave to macerate for 2 to 4 weeks, stirring daily.

Filter with a fine sieve.

Store away from light

To get your all-purpose cleaning spray, mix your “Four Thieves Vinegar” with water in a spray bottle.

This cleaning spray will allow you to remove stubborn marks or kill bacteria on your floors and work surfaces.

It is ideal for deep cleaning and above all eliminates all unpleasant odors!

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