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Monday, May 10, 2010

Four theives Vinegar....Always have a huge jar.

Four Thieves Vinegar is a concoction of wine vinegar, herbs, and garlic that was believed to protect users from the plague. Its creation is credited to four thieves from Marseille or Toulouse, depending on the story. In the 17th or 18th century the four were arrested for stealing from the homes of dead victims of the plague and sentenced to death. They were given their freedom in exchange for the recipe of their concoction, which they used in cotton masks over their faces and to cover their bodies.

Modern day versions of Four Thieves Vinegar include various herbs that typically include sage, lavender, thyme, and rosemary, along with garlic. Additional herbs sometimes include rue, mint, and wormwood. One version called Vinaigre des Quatre Voleurs is still sold in Provence. It is also used by modern practitioners of witchcraft to ward off the spells of other witches

Four thieves vinegar is used by modern witches, magicians, and hoodoo practitioners for personal protection against psychic attack and to banish an enemy from their surroundings. Being easy and cheap to whip up in the kitchen has made it a popular magical item.

Legends of the Four Thieves
There are several legends associated with the use of the vinegar. Perhaps the most well known is that of four thieves who lived during the time of the plague in France. They were caught for their thievery and imprisoned but were promised that if they buried the dead and lived, they would be set free.

The legend says that one of these thieves knew the art of herbalism well. He made some of the magical elixir to keep he and his friends safe from the plague as they were busy burying corpses. Other legends place this tale in Italy.

These legends have woven their way into folklore and permeated magical culture. A French origin is plausible since this recipe was and still is popular in hoodoo, which has strong ties to New Orleans, a city heavily influenced by the French.

Common Four Thieves Vinegar Ingredients
Just as legends vary about the vinegar's origins, so do the recipes. Basically, at least four protective herbs are needed, one for each thief, and apple cider vinegar. Garlic is usually among the five ingredients. It wouldn't be too far fetched to assume these were used because garlic has long been known as a protection against evil and vinegar as a cleansing agent.