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The Graveyard Shift

March 11, 2011

Brothel on the Rue des Moulins, Toulouse-Lautrec

Vinegar of the Four Thives (Marseilles Vinegar)

The story goes that this formula was revealed in the 17th century by four corpse-robbers caught red-handed during the time of the great plagues of Toulouse (1628-1631).

Their disregard for the contagion thoroughly astonished the judges… The archives of the Parliament of Toulouse record that: “During the great plague, four robbers were convicted of going to the houses of plague-victims, strangling them in their beds and then looting their dwellings: for this they were condemned to be burned at the stake, and in order to have the sentence mitigated they revealed their secret preservative; after which they were hanged.”

The original recipe in fact was as follows:

  • – 3 pints of strong white wine vinegar
  • – a handful each of wormwood, meadowsweet, juniper berries, wild marjoram and sage
  • – 50 cloves
  • – 2 ounces of elecampane root
  • – 2 ounces of angelica
  • – 2 ounces of rosemary
  • – 2 ounces of horehound
  • – 3g camphor

** In addition you often find Calamus, cinnamon, rue, mint, lavender, nutmeg and garlic included in this formula. All of these herbs have strong antibacterial properties.

Steep the plants in the vinegar for 10 days. Force through a sieve. Add the camphor dissolved in the acetic acid, then filter.

This vinegar finds its use in the prevention of contagious diseases. Rub it on face and hands and burn it in the room. It can also be kept in small bottles for the vapours to be sniffed in cases of fainting.

Source: Annie’s Remedy Natural Healing Herbs and Oils

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One comment

  1. Pretty brazen, eh? Or desperate, I suppose.



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