Vinegar of the Four Thieves

Here’s a plague story for you. Four thieves survived the plague, and their plundering of bodies and homes, by using a special concoction. When they were arrested, somewhere in England or France, sometime between 1500 and 1722, they were offered life in prison instead of the death penalty for their formula.

“Some recipes call for red wine vinegar, others say cider vinegar. Mixed with herbs–lavender blossoms, rue, rosemary, sage–some added wormwood, thyme, mint, and garlic, the vinegar was either steeped in the sun or buried in a crock. One could then get immunity by drinking it, sniffing it, or splashing it on the body. Or setting it on fire?”

Supposedly people were still using this when the Yellow Plague came to Philly in the late 1700s.