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Written by

Sally Kingsford-Smith

August 2023


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I love having a bottle of this on hand through the winter months when URTI’s and the dreaded lurgy are sneaking around.


And I equally love the stories behind Thieves’ Vinegar and have read many variations on it.


This is my version, made using herbs I grow in my small suburban garden, plus easily obtained garlic and the key ingredient of course, apple cider vinegar.

These herbs are easily grown, even in pots on balconies and if you don’t have access to the plants themselves, substitute dried herbs from your pantry.

They’re also rich in immune boosting phytonutrients especially volatile oils that are anti-microbial, warming and have an affinity with our respiratory systems. And they taste



  • ¼ cup each of fresh chopped tulsi (holy basil), lemon balm, rosemary, thyme, and sage leaves (dried herbs can be substituted if you don’t have fresh. Use about 2 teaspoons of tulsi, lemon balm, rosemary and 1 teaspoon of thyme and sage)

  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic

  • 2 cups (500mls) of apple cider vinegar

  • A glass jar with a lid – preferably not metallic



  1. Strip the herbs from their stems and chop them on a cutting board. You don’t have to chop them too finely – just enough to release their aromatic scent.

  2.  Press or chop the garlic.

  3.  Place the chopped herbs and garlic into the jar.

  4.  Add enough vinegar to cover the herbs fully. If needed, push them down with a clean wooden implement (a chopstick is handy) and then put the lid on. You don’t want a metal lid touching the vinegar so a plastic lid is best, or cover the jar with baking paper or similar.

  5.  Refrigerate or leave in a cool place for 5 to 7 days then strain the liquid into a clean glass jar. Discard the herbs and you’ve got your vinegar. It’s that simple.



  • Daily use as a health boosting prophylactic remedy: about a tablespoon in water or add to salad dressings.

  • At the first signs of a cold developing (eg that first hint of a sore throat, a sniffly nose etc): start with a teaspoonful in warm water every couple of hours.


  • Drinking vinegar straight or even diluted in water, can be hard on your tooth enamel!

  • If you’re pregnant, omit the sage from the recipe; it can cause miscarriage, and don’t use this as a tonic – just enjoy occasionally as a salad dressing ingredient.

  • Sage can also dry up breast milk, so if you’re breastfeeding, it’s okay to use it in salad dressing occasionally, but preferably, just omit the sage from the recipe.

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