DIY Four Thieves Vinegar


Legend has it that the age-old concoction known as Four Thieves Vinegar (or Vinaigre des Quatre Voleursoriginated sometime between the 14th and 18t centuries as a cure for a European plague. According to folklore, a group of thieves was caught robbing the dead and sick, and offered their secret herbal recipe to authorities in exchange for their release. Another version of the story claims that the thieves were caught prior to the plague, and that they were sentenced to burying the corpses of those who had died from the outbreak. The thieves drank the herbal mix, and became completely immune to the disease.

Fast forward to modern times and many variations of the recipe are still consumed to treat everything from the common cold to indigestion. Given the antibacterial and antiviral properties of the ingredients, I’ll be whipping this up to deal with my forever itchy scalp:

Ingredients (click the links to shop ‘em)

  • 1 tablespoon rosemary; antioxidant, antiseptic, stimulates blood flow (not recommended for women who are or may become pregnant).
  • 1 tablespoon sagehelps relieve itching, and acts as an astringent.
  • 1 tablespoon lavender; antiseptic and anti-inflammatory
  • 1 tablespoon wormwood; antifungal 
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint; antibacterial
  • 1 tablespoons fresh, chopped garlic; antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, stimulates blood flow. 
  • 1 quarts of apple cider vinegarideally pH scale balanced at 4.5 to 5.5, contains acids and enzymes that destroy “bottle bacillus,” a bacteria known to cause dandruff and itchiness.


Place all herbs in a glass jar and cover with the apple cider vinegar. Allow to steep in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking daily. After 2 weeks, strain out the spent herbs. To use on my scalp, I plan to mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water. As with any treatments, first conduct a patch test.

Have you ever heard of this recipe? Have you ever used vinegar in your hair care regimen?