Yes, we are here!

At MOTHER EARTH LIVING and MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-456-6018 or by email. Stay safe!

Four Thieves Vinegar Spray

Try this age-old solution for cleansing your home during flu season.

| January 2019


There is an old legend of four thieves who went around robbing the homes and graves of those who had been stricken by the plague during medieval times. The mystery of why they never got sick themselves was solved when they were finally captured and gave up their secret in exchange for pardons of their crimes. They claimed to have steeped a special blend of herbs in vinegar, then soaked rags in it to cover their faces and to wash with during and after their nefarious acts. Whether such a band of thieves actually existed or not may never be known, but scientific research today tells us that many aromatic herbs do indeed have strong disinfecting and antimicrobial properties. I like to make up a large batch of this vinegar each year to keep on hand for use during cold and flu season. It’s great for cleaning surfaces such as sinks, light switches, toilet seats, refrigerator handles and other places germs might lurk. While there may have been only four thieves in the legend, you’re not limited to using just four herbs in this recipe. The original formulas that sprang up around that time were thought to contain many herbs, for the widest array of benefits possible.

Yield: 1-1 ⁄2 Cups (375ml)


  • 1 ⁄4 cup (3 to 4 g) each of chopped fresh rosemary, mint, lavender leaves, sage, thyme and oregano
  • Few whole cloves (optional)
  • 1-1 ⁄2 cups (375 ml) vinegar
  • Water, for diluting

Cover courtesy of Page Street Publishing


Place the herbs in a pint (500-ml) canning jar. Some variations of the recipe contain cloves, for their potent germ-fighting properties. If you like their scent, try adding a few to the jar. Pour the vinegar over the herbs. Add extra vinegar, if needed, to ensure that the herbs are fully covered.

Cover with a nonmetallic lid or place a few layers of wax paper or plastic wrap between the jar and metal lid, to prevent corrosion from the vinegar.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


click me