Thieves’ Vinegar

July 22nd, 2017

Take a large handful of lavender blossoms, and the same quantity of sage, mint, rue, wormwood and rosemary. Chop and mix them well. Put them into a jar, with half an ounce of camphor that has been dissolved in a little alcohol, and pour in three quarts of strong clear vinegar. Keep the jar for two or three weeks in the hot sun, and at night plunge it into a box of heated sand. Afterwards strain and bottle the liquid, putting into each bottle a clove of garlic sliced. To have it very clear, after it has been bottled for a week, you should pour it off carefully from the sediment, and filter it through blotting paper. Then wash the bottles, and return the vinegar to them. It should be kept very tightly corked. It is used for sprinkling about in sick-rooms; and also in close damp oppressive weather. Inhaling the odour from a small bottle will frequently prevent faintness in a crowd.

It is best to make it in June.

This vinegar is so called from an old tradition, that during the prevalence of the plague in London the composition was invented by four thieves, who found it a preservative from contagion; and were by that means enabled to remain in the city and exercise their profession to great advantage, after most of the inhabitants had fled.

Source: Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches, Eliza Leslie

Worm Fever

May 12th, 2015

Boil a handful of Rue and Wormwood in water; foment the belly with the decoction, and apply the boiled herbs as a poultice; repeat the application night and morning. This frequently brings away worms from children, who will take no internal medicine; and is likewise serviceable if the fever be of the putrid kind.

Source: Primitive Physic: or an easy and natural method of curing most diseases, John Wesley.

The Plague-Water which was most esteemed of in the late great Visitation

April 19th, 2015

Take three Pints of Muskadine, boil therein one handful of Sage, and one handful of Rue until a Pint be wasted, then strain it out, and set it over the Fire again.

Put thereto a Penniworth of Long Pepper, half an Ounce of Ginger, and a quarter of an Ounce of Nutmegs, all beaten together, boil them together a little while close covered, then put to it one penniworth of Mithridate, two penniworth of Venice Treacle, one quarter of a Pint of hot Angelica Water.

Take one Spoonful at a time, morning and evening always warm, if you be already diseased; if not, once a day is sufficient all the Plague time.

It is most excellent Medicine, and never faileth, if taken before the heart be utterly mortified with the Disease, it is also good for the Small Pox, Measles, or Surfets.

Source: The Queen-like Closet or Rich Cabinet, Hannah Wolley