Winter Herbal Remedy Recipes

Winter Remedies for 2013 Kitchen Herbal Medicine Workshops

Pestle Mortar4 Thieves’ Vinegar

Like many medicinal recipes, this one has a story – the vinegar was used by four thieves in medieval France as protection from infection and death. The authorities were searching for the thieves who had stolen from people afflicted by the Black Death – the thieves seemed immune to it themselves. The vinegar may well have been protecting them from the plague, although it couldn’t quite save their lives. The story goes that they bartered the recipe in return for leniency – they gave up the recipe for 4 Thieves’ Vinegar in return for a swift death.

The basis of 4 Thieves’ Vinegar is always cider vinegar and raw garlic. Garlic is strongly anti-microbial, as well as having beneficial effects on the blood and general health. A range of other ingredients can be added, with different sources swearing by their own personal recipe. To be honest, I have used culinary herbs that I have growing at the moment – Rosemary for circulation; Mint for digestion and Lavender to relax – there are many other variations usually involving strong, culinary flavours.

You will need:

  • 1 litre cider vinegar
  • 8 Garlic cloves (Allium sativum) – crushed
  • Fresh Herbs:  Rosemary; Golden Oregano; Mint; Lavender flowers – 1 tablespoon of each, finely chopped
  • Large pot with a cover (or, like I did, use a bowl or plate if you don’t have a cover for the pot)

4 Thieves Vinegar IngredientsMix all of the ingredients and place in an earthenware container

Cover and leave for 8-10 days

4 Thieves Vinegar brewingStrain the mixture through a muslin, retaining the liquid

Store in a sealed, glass bottle

Drink 1 teaspoon per day in warm water to fend off colds and other infections

Pungent Throat Syrup

This recipe uses another Allium – the cooking Onion and a spicy ally – Ginger. Garlic can also be added to this recipe for an extra punch.

You will need:

  • 2 medium-sized Onions – peeled and chopped
  • Large chunk of Ginger – peeled and chopped
  • Sugar – enough to cover other ingredients
  • Large glass jar with lid, such as Kilner jar

Throat syrup - ingredients

Throat Syrup - chopped Onion & Ginger

Fill the container by layering Onion & Ginger, cover with Sugar, layer Onion & Ginger again and continue until container is filled    Throat Syrup - starting

Leave to sit for a few hours until the Sugar has absorbed enough to form a liquid – add more Sugar after a couple of hours if required – below is my batch after 2 hours:

Throat Syrup - 2 hoursStrain and retain the liquid

Store in a sealed, glass container

Take 1 teaspoon of syrup for colds & infections, especially with a cough – up to 5 teaspoons per day (watch out though, it is very sugary…).

Email me for more details on the workshops or to arrange others:


2 responses to this post.

  1. […] media) in the street. At Locavore we cooked up some Nettle and Wild Garlic pesto and sampled some 4 Thieves’ Vinegar I’d made earlier with Wild Garlic leaves instead of the traditional Garlic cloves. We also […]


  2. […] A more seasonal type of medicinal vinegar, which you can make now is the pungent, garlicky, herby Four Thieves’ Vinegar. Even better, although for maximum potency, your vinegar should stew for 2 weeks – the […]


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