It’s Flu Season – Are You Ready?

Dog with fluIt’s January – which means Flu Season! Are you ready for all the sickness coming into your home with your children, from your job, even from the grocery store? You will see lots of advice to “get vaccinated” but if you are willing to rely on herbs and herbal remedies versus the chemicals in vaccines, I would like to offer you a recipe for the Vinegar Of The Four Thieves. Say what? Or Who? Read on …

In the times of the Black Plague, there were four thieves who were arrested for looting the homes of people who had died of the plague. They were brought in front of a judge, found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment. One of them heard the judge wondering how these four were able to get in and out of those homes without contracting the plague themselves. Being enterprising, they offered the answer in exchange for their lives.

This is one recipe that has come down through the ages – one I’ve found to be a preventive AND a curative (for myself anyway). A coworker had her son in the ER for hours one night because of his symptoms (respiratory, swollen glands, rash, etc). I offered her some of this remedy for him to try – knowing it would not hurt him and just might help. She accepted, and while they were waiting several days for the lab results to return telling the doctors what bacterial infection was running around in this boy, he began taking the Vinegar remedy. Two days later, before the lab results returned, he was already improving. Coincidence? Possibly.  He, however, was adamant that his improvement was a result of Vinegar of  the Four Thieves.

I have used it and given it to others for colds and flu; nothing quite as dramatic as that boy’s situation, but the results were equally as positive.

How do you take it? If you are around sick people/children, take a dose in the morning and in the evening as a preventive. If you are already ill with a cold or flu, take it as a tea, hot or cold, and sip on it all day and night. You will find that you will get better more quickly (than everyone else around you). This is NOT meant to be a doctor’s advice – you need to seek medical advice from your own physician. This remedy can be used in conjunction with your medical provider’s advice but feel free to check with your provider if you have any questions about it at all. In my opinion, it can’t do any harm and just might help.

Okay, here’s the recipe. I would love to have you comment and share your experiences with it.

(original from Herbal Medicine by Dian Dincin Buchman)

2 Quarts Cider Vinegar                                                           2 TBS Lavender
2 TBS Rosermary                                                                   2 TBS Sage
2 TBS Wormwood                                                                  2 TBS Rue
2 TBS Mint (your preference what kind)

Combine the dried herbs and steep in the vinegar for two weeks. Strain and rebottle the liquid. Label. (I usually put the jar in my closet and shake it around every few days or so. I don’t strain it until I’m actually in need of some, so it may sit there for months before straining. Once someone needs some, I strain it and then put that jar in the refrigerator. The rest, I leave in the original container and in a closet.)

Optional: 2 TBS garlic buds. After you have strained the liquid, add several cloves of garlic and close the lid. When the garlic has steeped for several days, strain it out. Melt paraffin around the lid to preserve the contents or add 4 oz glycerine for preservation.

  • NOTE: On that optional part: I made this as per the recipe and my friend LOVED it without the garlic and HATED it with the garlic! So I don’t use the garlic at all and it doesn’t seem to affect its effectiveness in any way.
  • Second, rather than adding glycerine or using paraffin (which is a hassle when you want to use the vinegar), I put it in a glass jar and put a baggie over the lid (it rusts the metal of the lid). Then I refrigerate it to prevent a “mother” from forming. I keep a small bottle of it on the door of the fridge (in easy reach) and refill from the larger jar (that is stored on the bottom shelf way in the back or in my closet!).


  • If your child is around sick kids in school, the whole family can take 1-3 tsp (3 tsp = 1 TBS) at a time. I usually take it in the morning and again at nighttime – dilute it with at least ¼ to ½ cup of water as the vinegar is sharp and burns your throat.
  • If someone in the household is sick with cold, flu, or some form of communicable illness, have everyone take 1 tsp per hour – diluted with water. 1 TBS per dose is the maximum at any given time; 1 tsp is better for this hourly dose.
  • Some ways to take this:
    1. Dilute in about ½ cup water and down it; chase with plain water. (like taking medicine)
    2. Place 1 tsp to 1 TBS in a cup, add hot water. Add honey to taste. The vinegar/honey combination neutralizes the pH in the body. I like mine tart and mom wanted it sweeter – doesn’t seem to make one more/less effective than the other.
    3. Drink hot or cold; sip on it all day or night. It tastes delicious if you have an illness where taste is affected (a cold, for instance).
    4. You can also add this to an herbal tea (but would you ruin your tea?) or just use it as a tea (as in step 3)

That’s it. I wish you miraculous healings!

ps – While you are waiting for this to steep, you can also use a tea of cider vinegar and honey, hot or cool, if you are feeling ill. It’s not as effective as the above remedy, but it will at least help in the meantime.

Remember to add your comments, ideas, and stories in the comments below.


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