I love a GREAT back story as to how a formulation came to be. And a great story is exactly what this winter wellness formulations has.

As the legend goes, during the 17th-century plague, on moonless nights in Marseilles France, a group of thieves would anoint their hands, temples and behind their ears with a vinegar that had been infused with “protective” herbs, before going out to rob the dead. This herbal vinegar was said to safeguard the thieves against contracting the plague.

When the thieves were finally apprehended and tried, they were told they would be spared if they revealed their secret formula. What we know now is that this concoction actually has antiviral and antibacterial actions. What was their magic elixir? As the story goes, it was an infused apple cider vinegar that included: garlic, juniper berries, thyme, lavender, rosemary, and sage.

The combination is simple. It can be used internally, externally, or even be used as a cleaner for kitchen and bath surfaces. You can take a “shot” of it, either straight up or in a little water, if you have been around somebody who is ill or if you are feeling like a cold or flu are coming on. Or it is an outstanding ingredient in a salad dressing or marinade. And the best part is, it can be assembled in just a few minutes with many ingredients you may already have in your pantry.


  • 3 cups organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T organic sage leaves
  • 1 T dried rosemary
  • 1 T dried lavender buds
  • 1 T dried juniper berries
  • 1-1/2 t black peppercorn
  • 1-1/2 t dried thyme
  • Large bulb of garlic, peeled and chopped


Place all ingredients a clean quart mason jar. Give it a quick stir to disperse. Put on a plastic lid (not metal). Put it into a cupboard and give it a shake every day or so to, “macerate” fully. Allow to “steep” for a month, then strain out herbs. A couple of layers of cheese cloth in a strainer works great. Press out any remaining liquid with the back of a spoon. Pour into a jar or bottle for storage. It will keep for months, especially if kept in the refrigerator.

Curious about the energetics and actions of the ingredients? Read on…..

  • Black Pepper – A warming and drying herb. It is antiseptic as well as a circulatory stimulant.
  • Juniper berry – An aromatic, warming, and drying herb. It is antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic, and has been used to clean countertops, utensils, and even to cleanse wounds.
  • Garlic – Garlic is hot and dry. It is diffusive, diaphoretic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and antiseptic. Garlic is known to aid immune function and contains 18 known antiviral and antibacterial substances.
  • Thyme – Aromatic, warming and drying. It is a diaphoretic and diffusive herb used for respiratory tract conditions, particularly as a bronchodilator and as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Lavender – Warming and drying. The name lavender is derived from a word “lavar” meaning “to wash,” and it has been recognized as a purifying plant for centuries.
  • Rosemary – Warming and drying with relaxant, diffusive properties Antibacterial due to the volatile oils. Used internally or externally. Helps with body temperature regulation, aiding the body when fevers are present.
  • Sage – Warming and drying herb with aromatic, diffusive, and diaphoretic properties.  Diffusive, particularly for circulation.