Days Gone By - stories from the past

RECIPE WEDNESDAY: A potent natural remedy for many illnesses including the bubonic plague

Vinegar of the Four Thieves is a recipe known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague.


The legend  of how the recipe acquired such an unusual name goes back to the time of the Bubonic Plague or Black Death. It is said that four thieves who robbed the homes of many who had died from the plague were captured.  One of the robbers was an herbalist and used a potion to protect them. The thieves were finally caught and brought to trial and there are at least two versions of what happened next.

bubonic plague

The first version states that the robbers were were sentenced to bury the dead from the plague but would be set free if they survived.

In the second version, the robbers were released in exchange for the recipe created by the herbalist to protect them from getting the plague when they plague victim’s robbed houses.  Since this time, Vinegar of the Four Thieves has been used for centuries to cure various ailments and some people still vouch for its effectiveness against many illness today. It is said that it can also be used as a bug spray and is a strong disinfectant.

Thomas Jefferson’s recipe as well as many other old remedies can be found in the book: Vinegar of the Four Thieves by Donna R. Causey – now in Paperback!

Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past


By (author): Donna R Causey
List Price: $9.77 USD
New From: $9.51 USD In Stock

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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6 comments

  1. Laura Hubbard Aldridge

    I found this article that gives a couple of versions of the recipe. http://www.kitchendoctor.com/essays/four_thieves.php

  2. BettieBoyd Sullivan

    Get a bottle ready for plague season.

  3. Susan Bryant Myers

    I drink Apple cider vinegar with water and honey. swallow quickly

  4. Jerrie Thornton

    Also available from Young Living Essential Oils as Thieves–an entire line of products. Very effective!

  5. […] Vinegar of the Four Thieves is a recipe that has been known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in  the book VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past […]

  6. […] Vinegar of the Four Thieves was a recipe that was known for its antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal properties for years. It was even used to cure the Bubonic Plague. See Thomas Jefferson’s recipe in VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past […]

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