Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Four Thieves Vinegar Immunity Booster

A while back a friend of mine was promoting the idea of misting what she called "Four Thieves" throughout her household during the winter months. She said it was an essential oil formula that she purchased from a well-known essential oil company that was promoting it as a cold and flu preventative. Supposedly the formula came from a group of men caught stealing from those who had died in the bubonic plague, and when they were finally caught, were forced to "cough up" their recipe. It's an interesting story, but I'm not sure if it's true ;-)

So after some research, I decided that it was better to make a vinegar infusion instead. When our immune system is congested, it makes it hard for us to stay well. As you know, keeping our immune system strong requires that we keep our digestive tract working properly. Herbal vinegars have had a long history of use in the home medicine cabinet, and are sometimes more useful than water infusions (teas) because the acid in the vinegar helps to extract the beneficial minerals from the plant material. I made up a batch according to a recipe I found here that included equal parts of the following:
  • lavender - antiseptic properties, useful against putrefactive bacteria in the intestines
  • sage - good for eliminating mucous congestion in the respiratory passages and the stomach
  • thyme - commonly used for throat and bronchial problems and effective at killing intestinal parasites
  • lemon balm - good for chronic bronchial catarrh (inflammation and mucuous) and some forms of asthma
  • hyssop - good for coughs and sore throat due to colds; nose and throat infections; and mucous congestion in the intestines
  • peppermint - good for poor disgestion and coughs
  • handful of raw garlic - stimulates the activity of the digestive organs, useful for intestinal catarrh and for killing intestinal worms
I used about 4 ounces of each herb, plus the handful of raw garlic, tossed it all into a half-gallon glass jar and covered it with Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother). Today, after four weeks, I strained it and squeezed out as much of the liquid from the herbs as I could, strained it again, then collected it in this nice bottle from Ikea. It smells marvelous and quite strong. Since my beloved started complaining of a stuffiness in his head last night, I'm going to start giving him a teaspoon of this in a glass of water when he comes home, and put some in the drinking water he takes to work. I'll be posting later to let you know if it really works.

p.s. The herbal information came from Dr. John Lust's The Herb Book, a classic.

UPDATE:  We're at the last day of February and we have been well all winter. Praise Yah!

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