The Jagged Path
Four Thieves Vinegar Tonic
All of the herbs used in this tonic were grown, organically, by me, without the use of any pesticides.
These herbs have several things in common. First, you’ll notice they are all on the warming side, energetically speaking, meaning they systemically warm the body. You may also notice that they all have aromatic, diffusive, and diaphoretic properties, as well.
Aromatic herbs, such as sage, lavender, and thyme, are those that contain a large amount of volatile oils. These herbs tend to have a stronger scent, which often coincides with antiseptic and antimicrobial volatile oils called monoterpenes (Ganora, 2009).
Diffusive herbs, such as garlic, sage, and rosemary, can bring heat from the core of the body and move, or circulate, it outwards to the surface of our skin. This action can also be directive of herbs within a formula to spread within the body for a desired effect (Ganora, 2009).
Diaphoretic herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and thyme, increase perspiration (Skenderi, 2003), which is a function of the detoxification process of the body. During sickness, promotion of sweating, or diaphoresis, can help regulate body temperature and release toxins (pathogens) (Holmes, 1989).
Sage (Salvia officinalis) leaf A member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family, sage is an energetically warming and drying herb with aromatic, diffusive, and diaphoretic properties. While some may call it cooling, it is certainly moving, particularly in regards to circulation (Easley & Horne, 2016), and offers some of the best of both energetic qualities. Sage offers different actions depending on the preparation in which it is used. In warm preparations, it is especially moving to the circulatory system and is often used like a diaphoretic, while in cold preparations, it is more drying and has been used to reduce excess perspiration. Sage also has a longstanding use as an antimicrobial and antiseptic herb (Tilgner, 2009) due to its monoterpene volatile oils (Ganora, 2009).
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaf Another mint family herb, rosemary is also known for its antibacterial properties due to the volatile oils in the plant (Tilgner, 2009) which can be beneficial when used internally or externally. Rosemary is a warm, drying herb with relaxant, diffusive properties that stimulate circulation in the body (Tilgner, 2009). This can help with body temperature regulation, which aids the body when fevers are present, as well as support the body’s immune system by speeding the transport of immune cells to tissues in need. Additionally, some infectious microbes, especially colds and flu viruses, are less viable at elevated body temperatures. The warming influence of rosemary is yet another way herbs support our body’s natural defenses!
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) bud Lavender is also a member of the mint family, and it has many useful actions and energetics that lend themselves to the Four Thieves vinegar blend. For example, lavender is warming and drying, and thus, like the others, may help the body be more resilient and comfortable during common winter illnesses. However, if lavender was one of the thieves’ original herbs, its antimicrobial nature may have been lavender’s standout action. The name lavender is derived from a word “lavar” meaning “to wash,” and it has been recognized as a purifying plant for ages. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, lavender also has anti-inflammatory and nervine properties (Tilgner, 2009). The anti-inflammatory and nervine actions can be additionally soothing during seasonal colds or flu, helping one rest, which is also supportive of our natural defenses.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) leaf Thyme is a mint family herb, too! Another aromatic with warming and drying qualities, thyme is a diaphoretic and diffusive herb traditionally used with respiratory tract conditions (Tilgner, 2009), particularly as a bronchodilator and as an anti-inflammatory agent (Hoffmann, 2007). Its main chemical constituent, thymol, is primarily responsible for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal (Tilgner, 2009) actions as well as its expectorant and antispasmodic actions (Herbal Academy, n.d.a.). In addition to the respiratory tract, many of its actions are focused on the digestive tract, and as an antiviral and antibacterial herb, it can act on infections of all kinds (Easley & Horne, 2016).
Garlic (Allium sativum) bulb A member of the lily family, or Liliaceae, garlic’s energetic profile is hot and dry (Tilgner, 2009). It is diffusive and diaphoretic, as well as antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antiseptic. Garlic is known to aid immune function (Tilgner, 2009) and contains 18 known antiviral and antibacterial substances (Gladstar, 1993). It has been shown to be effective against gram-positive and gram-negative aerobic bacteria as well as against antibiotic-resistant bacteria (Sivam, 2001). The volatile oils in garlic are excreted through the lungs, and the antimicrobial nature of these volatile oils thus makes it particularly helpful in the case of respiratory infections. Like thyme, it is also very useful in cases of digestive infections such as Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or digestive parasites (Tilgner, 2009).
Juniper (Juniperus communis) berry As a member of the pine (Cupressacceae) family, juniper is aromatic, warming, and drying (Tilgner, 2009). It is also antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic (Easley & Horne, 2016), and as a decoction, has been used to clean countertops, utensils, and even to cleanse wounds (Herbal Academy, n.d.b.). Juniper can build immunity and reduce infection, both bacterial and viral, in the digestive and respiratory systems (Holmes, 1989), including vaginal and urinary infections (Moore, 1989). In fact, according to herbalist Stephen Buhner, juniper’s antimicrobial activities act against 57 strains of 24 bacterial species (Buhner, 2012).
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) seed A warming and drying herb in the Piperaceae family, black pepper is antiseptic as well as a circulatory stimulant (Easley & Horne, 2016). Black pepper can reduce infection, clear the sinuses, and promote sweating during cold and flu onset (Holmes, 1989). Black pepper may be the hottest of all the warming herbs and spices in this blend!
Use my Four Thieves tonic wherever vinegar is called for in a recipe.
If you are looking for a mocktail, add the blend to fizzy water and relax.
Use your Four Thieves vinegar blend to make a delicious and flavorful vinaigrette base.
If you feel a cold coming on, use this vinegar blend as a tincture or take it by the spoonful. It can also be a creative addition to the vinegar portion of a Fire Cider formula, or you could simply mix the vinegar with honey and enjoy as an easy oxymel.
This Four Thieves vinegar blend can also be used externally as a household cleaner for any kitchen or bathroom surface.
Because of its antimicrobial action (Serafin, Shah, & Yagnik, 2018), it discourages the overgrowth of certain types of microbes when it comes into contact with them, thus helping you to keep your home healthy during cold and flu season.
You will receive a dark glass, 4 oz bottle.