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  • Begin your path to optimum wellness.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine is a fully integrated system of theory, diagnostics and treatment that can address virtually any health condition.

  • Health

    A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being beyond merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

  • One of the side benefits of my treatment at Oregon City Acupuncture is the holistic view they have of care. I am not just treated for pain or inflammation. I am treated as a whole person and when I leave, I feel more centered and in tune with who I really am. — CC

  • For the first time in many, many years, I am able to really be comfortable in my body throughout my day and find joy in life.  I have an extensive history with western medicine, having had many surgeries and been treated by many doctors.  However, nothing has given me the benefits I receive from acupuncture and Chinese herbs. — CC

  • From the first visit, we noticed improvement. Each session for each of us was fashioned for our individual needs at that time, in a relaxing atmosphere. The results were encouraging, often giving us flexibility and release from pain. — J & G

Beat the Summer Heat

So the sun is finally shining after months of Northwest gloom and drizzle and you’re more than ready to get out there and do some gardening, play some volleyball or tennis, hike in the Gorge, ride the Portland bike paths.  After months of sitting around, you want to get moving again!

While you’re outside catching up on fun, remember:  Summer heat can sneak up on you.  It can zap your energy, cause dehydration, sunburn and exhaustion! Kids under four, folks over 65, and those who are obese, already ill, or taking medications can be affected very easily. Prolonged exposure to heat and insufficient body fluids can result in heat exhaustion.  Symptoms can include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache and nausea or vomiting. Here are the best ways to avoid or remedy heat exhaustion:

In ancient Egypt, China and other parts of the Far East, watermelon juice and its seeds were traditionally offered to thirsty travelers. This flavorful fruit is one of the best remedies for dehydration and summer heat.watermelon

  • Pace yourself. Carry water with you and sip it throughout the day.
  • Replace salts and minerals with sports drinks that have potassium and other electrolytes. Avoid drinks with large amounts of sugar.
  • Wear lightweight and light colored clothing.
  • Seek air conditioning or cool breezes in the shade. Sunburn can happen very easily if you are not careful.  Don’t forget the sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day.  Use a buddy system if necessary and keep watch on those at high risk.
  • If you feel dizzy and/or stop sweating, stop your activity and get out of the sun fast. Drink cool, not cold water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in it. The vinegar helps to replace electrolytes and minerals like sports drinks do. Take a cool bath (or shower) for 15-20 minutes. Try to submerge as much of your body as possible.

With a little knowledge and common sense, you will safely ease into a summer of fun!



Vitamin B12 Injections: A Little Goodness for Everyone

By Guest blogger, Dr. Marsha Hamilton, ND   Flow Natural Health Care

Methylcobalamin (MB12) is a water-soluble B12 vitamin that plays a critical role in the body’s neurologic and metabolic functioning. MB12 is a form of vitamin B12 that has enhanced bioavailability and works closely with folic acid in energy production, DNA and fatty acid synthesis and detoxification.

Methylcobalamin is the only form of B12 that can cross the blood brain barrier. All other forms of B12 must have a methyl group added, a process known as methylation, before being able to participate in the various neurological and metabolic functions in the body. The brain’s detoxification system relies solely on MB12. As toxic substances build up in the brain, neurological dysfunction develops which leads to memory impairment, depression, ADD/ADHD and even developmental disorders in children. MB12 can ameliorate this toxic build up and reduce and/or prevent such disorders

Methylcobalamin injections are superior to oral supplementation due to limited availability and poor absorption. Absorption of MB12 relies on adequate levels of hydrochloric acid in the stomach that is often suppressed in those taking proton pump inhibitors, who have an inflammatory bowel condition, celiac disease or poor overall digestive function. Bypassing the gastrointestinal tract delivers a higher dose of MB12 that is readily available producing a more immediate effect. Vegetarians are generally at risk for deficiencies in B vitamins as these vitamins are predominately found in animal products.

Below are some ailments and conditions that can benefit from B12 injections.

  •  Fatigue
  • Mood disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insomnia Detoxification
  • Autism
  • Weight loss
  • Athletic performance & recovery Inflammation
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Anemia

B12Methylcobalamin injections have little to no side effects and are very well tolerated. If you have any questions or are curious if vitamin B12 injections would be a good choice for you, please call Dr. Marsha Hamilton at 503-974-9283.



About one mouthful in three of the food you eat directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination.  Honeybees pollinate over $20 Billion in crops every year.  Commercial production of many specialty crops like almonds and other tree nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables are dependent on pollinated by honey bees. These are the foods that give our diet diversity, flavor, and nutrition.

Honey bees have been around for millions of years, yet are not native to the New World.  They came from Europe with the first settlers.  A hive can have from 20,000 to 60,000 bees, and only one queen.  A queen can live up to 5 years and is the only bee that lays eggs.

Beekeepers first began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives in October 2006.  While colony losses are not unexpected, especially over the winter, this level of loss was unusually high.  By 2010, the USDA reported over all colony losses of 34%, similar to the four previous years.  Bee colony collapse continues to be a threat to these pollinators essential to the food we eat.

The main symptom of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is very low or no adult honey bees present in the hive but with a live queen and no dead honey bee bodies present. Often there is still honey in the hive, and immature bees (brood) are present. Varroa mites, a virus-transmitting parasite of honey bees, have frequently been found in hives hit by CCD.

CCD is a serious problem threatening the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and crop pollination in the United States. So far, a specific cause or causes of CCD have not been identified by researchers.

  • Pathogens:  No single pathogen directly relates to the majority of colony collapse.  A higher total number of viruses and bacteria relate more to CCD than any single pathogen.
  • Parasites: Varroa mites are often found in honey bee colonies that have collapsed.   Varroa mites may be directly involved or viruses that Varroa mites transmit to bee hives could be a factor in CCD.
  • Management stressors: Among the management stressors that are possible contributors to CCD are poor nutrition due to hive overcrowding and increased migratory stress brought on by honey bees being moved by truck to multiple locations across the country.
  • Environmental stressors:  Stressors include the impact of both scarcity and diversity of pollen & nectar, and availability of only pollen & nectar with low nutritional value.  Limited access to water or access only to contaminated water is also a factor.   Stressors also include accidental or intentional exposure to pesticides such as neonicotinoids at lethal or sub-lethal levels.

In 2013, Representatives John Conyers (D, MI) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR), and co-sponsors Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D, CA) and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D, NH), introduced the Save America’s Pollinators Act of 2013 in Congress.  The Act asks that neonicotinoids be suspended until a full review of their impacts is done. It was drafted immediately after the largest documented die off of bees in the United States which took place in the parking lot of a department store in June 2013. The neonicotinoid pesticide Safari sprayed on linden trees was suspected of killing the bees.

In March 2014, Minneapolis-based Bachman’s gardening centers announced that they plan to no longer sell neonicotinoids or use them at their nurseries and outdoor growing areas. Bachman’s vice president of production and wholesale said it was not an easy decision, but after receiving numerous calls from concerned gardeners they “decided to take precautionary action.”

Neonicotinoid pesticides are banned in the European Union.

Researchers have concluded that no one factor is the cause of CCD. Most likely, CCD is caused by multiple factors. It is not possible to know at this time if all CCD incidents are due to the same set of factors or if the factors follow the same sequence in every case.


  • Don’t use pesticides.   Most pesticides are not selective. You kill off the beneficial bugs along with the pests
  • Use local native plants.  Native plants are much more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers.  Heirloom varieties of herbs and perennials can also provide good foraging.
  • Plant several colors of flowers.  Bees have good color vision. Flower colors that particularly attract bees are blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow.
  • Plant flowers in clumps.  Flowers grown in clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered throughout a garden. Where space allows, make the clumps four feet or more in diameter.
  • Include flowers of different shapes.  There are four thousand different species of bees in North America. They are all different sizes with different tongue lengths, and will feed on different shaped flowers.  Growing a range of flower shapes means more bees will benefit.  
  • Have a diversity of plants flowering all season. Most bee species feed on a wide range of plants through their life cycle. By having plants flowering through spring, summer, and fall, you can attract bees that fly at different times of the season.
  • Plant where bees will visit. Bees favor sunny spots over shade and need some shelter from strong winds.

A Few Good Bee Flowers

Aster, Oregon grape, echinacea, sage, borage, lavender, elder, rosemary, oregano, sunflowers, hyssop, thyme, bee balm, lemon balm, clover.  If you let artichokes blossom, bumble bees seem to really like them.

Although CCD is not as yet well understood, and may be the result of a combination of many factors, there are simple things you can do such as not using pesticides in your yard, and planting many different bee friendly flowers that will keep the pollinators in your area happy and healthy.

echinacea w beeartichoke + beeHoney beeSunflower & Bee

Beet Borscht for a Spring Liver Cleanse

Borscht 3Spring is Liver time, and a good time to give your liver a little extra attention after a long winter.  Beets are a good food to assist your liver and continue to nourish your kidneys as winter ends and spring begins. This dense root vegetable is an excellent cross-over vegetable as the seasons change.

Beets are a source of boron which is important for sex hormones.  They have been historically used as an aphrodisiac!

They contains many vitamins and minerals – potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, Vitamins A, B, C, beta-carotene, beta-cyanine, folic acid.  Beets are also good for iron replenishment in women.

Beets can be good for mental health due to the betaine and tryptophan, similar to chocolate. They can also help lower your blood pressure.

If you eat a lot of beets or beet juice and your urine is pink you have low stomach acid.

Beets are low in calories & high in sugar – but this sugar is released slowly into your system –unlike chocolate.

They have a unique combination of phytonutrients and antioxidants which can be especially helpful in reducing chronic inflammation.

Beet Borscht:  A Delicious Way to Get Your Beets

You can make borscht any way you want. You can warm it up or serve it chilled.

Here is a veggie-packed recipe to start with. Add or delete items as you choose. Make it your own.

What you’ll need….

  • 1 1/2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 2 cups cubed beets                                                                                                                                                                          Beets
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup chopped beet greens
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped purple cabbage – it can be green but will probably look red when done cooking
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a couple handfuls of shitake mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • sour cream (optional)
  • green onions for garnish

Let’s Make Some Borscht!

  •  Heat the butter in a large pot. Sauté the onions until they are translucent.
  • Add the garlic, salt, bay leaves. Sauté for 1 minute.
  • Add the celery, carrots, cabbage, beets, potatoes, mushrooms and stock. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the balsamic vinegar, beet greens, honey and tomato puree. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  •  Serve with a dollop of sour cream (optional) and green onions for garnish.

Borscht, any way you make it, is a delicious way to help your liver in the spring.  Enjoy a bowlful tonight.

Optimal Health: A Journey, Not Destination

Healthy ChoiceBy Guest Blogger,

Chantell Bunker

If you could create optimal health for yourself, would you?  Most people would say, “Yes!”  Unfortunately, many of us still struggle with health issues.  It may be excess weight, fatigue/low energy, blood pressure or cholesterol issues, chronic pain, and the list goes on.  Why is that?  What does optimal health even mean?

I look at optimal health as the best a person can possibly feel and function in their body and mind.  This will be different for each person – a 20 year-old will have a different level of optimal health than a 70 year-old, but a 70 year-old can still certainly have optimal health.

So, why is it that we still struggle with our health even when we really want to be optimally healthy?  There are a myriad of answers to this question, but right now let’s just focus on one idea.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve settled for a thought that sounds a bit like “this is just how it’s going to be for me.”

Many of us have become so beaten down by the stresses, disappointments and seemingly endless responsibilities in our lives that we’ve given up our own power.  We’ve given up on ourselves.  We’ve given up on our possibilities.  If any of this resonates with you, I’d like to give you some thoughts to help you on the journey to creating your optimal health.

Let’s start with the word ‘create.’  The definition of this word is “to bring into existence.”  That alone gives you power.  You have the power to bring into existence better health for yourself.  How do you do this?  The first thing I recommend is a visualization exercise.  Ask yourself the following questions, then close your eyes and paint a picture in your mind.  The more detail you give it, the greater impact it will have on you.  Hold that image in your mind, then open your eyes and write it down if you’d like.  Really use all 5 senses in creating this image in your mind.  Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time I felt optimally healthy (if ever)?
  • What would optimal health look like for me?
  • How would being optimally healthy affect my daily life?  What would/could I do that I can’t do now?
  • How would being optimally healthy affect how I feel about myself?  How would it affect those I care about?

A very helpful tool in the process of creating a desired outcome is the use of structural tension.  All tension seeks resolution, so I suggest using this simple but powerful tool.  Get a sheet of paper, and at the top write down exactly what you want to create, your goal.  Then get REALLY real with yourself and at the bottom of the paper write down your current reality – where you’re at right now in comparison with what you want to create.  The space between the bottom of your paper and the top is your tension.  This is where you write the actions you need to take and choices you need to make to get you to your desired outcome.  Read your structural tension chart daily to keep yourself on track and moving toward what you want to create.

The most important thing for every person to remember is this: Your health is a journey, not a destination.  Your health is like the laundry – it’s never done.  There will be potholes in the road; there may also be a few wrong turns.  You are human, and no human is perfect.  Give yourself grace and focus on what you are creating.  The most brilliant minds in history had to make many attempts before achieving their desired outcome.  Now it’s your turn…go be brilliant and create your own optimal health.

Chantell Bunker

COPE Certified Health Coach







Love Without Chocolate?

“I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process…. It may not be true, but do I dare take the chance?”   – Katherine Hepburn

Chocolove Can you show love without using chocolate?

Chocolate, cacao. It was considered the food of the gods and for use in some way by everyone when the Spanish first discovered it in Mesomerica. Its use began much earlier in the pre-Columbian era. Their term was xocoatl – “sho-co-a-tel”. Originally it was a drink and much more bitter than we commonly taste today. It has been found to have been mixed with corn meal, chili peppers and water with no sugar added. (Sugar was unknown to this part of the world back then.) Then it was wiped into a spicy frothy beverage and used in royal and religious ceremonies and celebrations. Ancient excavations are finding plots of cacao trees in people’s backyards as the cacao seeds were used as money by the common people. It was also used as offerings to the gods and payment to rulers (taxes and tributes). Actually because the regions that the Aztecs ruled did not have optimal growing conditions for cacao and they obtained it by trading with the Maya for this rare and valuable substance. Such was their appreciation for xocoatl!

After the Spanish brought this treasure back to Europe it was still considered a symbol of wealth and power and usually limited in use to the royal courts for about 100 years. Here experiments with adding other spices to the mix began happening, cinnamon, for instance, and sugar.

So from the beginning it has held a special place in our lives, a place of ceremony and value. Looking at it as an herb, dark chocolate has healthy ingredients that are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants remove free radicals from our system. These destructive molecules are implicated in heart and other diseases. Good chocolate has a higher level of cocoa butter and vegetable fat. This is where the healthy phenols reside. European chocolate is known to require a minimum of 35% cocoa solids in its plain chocolate whereas in the US we require 15% so you  want to consider the source.

“I do recommend a piece of good-quality dark chocolate as a healthy snack . . . It is a source of polyphenols, the same type of antioxidants found in red wine, and the fat it contains is stearic acid, which doesn’t affect cholesterol levels. The latest good news for chocolate lovers comes from a study indicating that flavonoids in chocolate are good for your heart. These compounds reduce the stickiness of platelets, cells that play an important role in blood clotting. By eating a 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bar, you get the same amount of these protective compounds as in a 5-ounce glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.” – Andrew Weil, M.D.

Chocolate contains large amounts of the same beneficial plant chemicals that now have burnished the reputation of tea. In fact, just one ounce of chocolate has about as much of these plant chemicals as a cup of brewed black tea. One large, ongoing study of the benefits of exercise found that men who eat chocolate in moderation live longer than those who eat none. – University of California-Berkeley Wellness Letter

Now back to the original question “Can you show love without using chocolate?” Answer “Why should you avoid it?” Show someone you love that you care. The bitter flavor goes to the Heart in Oriental medicine and the phenols actually protect it in Western medicine. Of course, following the Buddha way, all things in moderation. Have a sweet, healthy and lovely Valentine’s Day.

Making Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

Ferment StuffFermentation may be the oldest method for preserving food.  It adds intense and complex flavors to whatever is fermented.  Fermentation is used in creating many modern foods such as yogurt, bread, sauerkraut, kimchee, pickles, salami, beer, wine, cider–even chocolate and coffee.  It is called lacto-fermentation because it is species of lactobacillus bacteria that created the ferment.  Lactobacillus is what makes sauerkraut, kimchee, pickles, sour beers and yogurt.

Making lacto-fermented is fun and easy. Beginners may want to use 1 quart jars to make small batches for experimentation.  Wide mouth Mason jars are best as it is easier to pack the vegetables down in them.

Wash jars in hot, soapy water before getting started.  They don’t need to be sterile.  After all, you want to take advantage of some good bacteria.  Don’t worry, the fermentation process is safe.  Lacto-fermentation bacteria keep bad bacteria from growing.  In addition to jars, creating fermentation locks make the process more efficient.  I created my own fermentation lids to top my fermentation jars.  I ordered some reCAPS on line at and purchased #6 one hole stoppers and fermentation locks at my local home brewer supply where they are cheaper than ordering on-line.

Choose your vegetables. You can ferment pretty much anything and everything: shredded beets, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, green beans, shredded kale, zucchini, and so on.   In this example, I use one head of Napa cabbage, a yellow carrot, half a head of cauliflower, a medium size daikon radish, two or three cloves of crushed garlic, two or three slices of minced ginger root, and a teaspoon of ground chipotle and pasilla peppers.  The final ingredient is salt.  I used about 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of sea salt.

The next step is pretty basic.

Chop the vegetables into chunks (leaving out the core of the cabbage), put them all in a large mixing bowl and toss with the salt, garlic, ginger and peppers.Ferment Process

Next, you can gently pound the veggies to release liquid.  Some people squeeze the vegetables with their hands.  I used a large wooden spoon.  The salt will help draw liquid out of the vegetables.  When you see lots of liquid forming, you are done with this step.

Now add the veggies and liquid to the jar by pressing them firmly down until liquid covers them.  You want to keep the veggies packed down so the liquid keeps them covered.  Although I used two jars, I probably could have filled just one.

Seal the jar with your fermentation lock.  Although it is possible to ferment your veggies in a jar with just the standard Mason jar lids & rings, it is possible the pressure from the gases can cause the jar to explode!  Fermentation locks let the gases from the fermentation process escape, and keep out unwanted bacteria and fungus.  You need to add just a little water to create the “lock”.  You should notice some gas bubble up through the lock after a few days.

Set the jars in a warm part of the kitchen or other room.  I set my jars at the back of the dining room table near the heat register.  It takes about three days for fermentation to begin to work, so after three days, give it a taste.  It should be pleasantly tart and not smell too funky.  It can take another day or two to be just right.

Refrigerate when it tastes right to you.  You can remove the stoppers and locks and use the reCAPS as lids.  Experiment with different vegetables and fermentation times to see what works best for you.  Enjoy as a side dish or ingredient in salads or rice dishes.  You have created your own home made probiotics!  Enjoy as a side dish, or add to rice or salads.   For more on fermentation, visit:

Exploring Camassia Preserve

Thanks to a friend, Tim Delano, I was reminded of a nearby natural area. I actually had tried to visit it 30+ years ago. I think the Nature Conservancy was thinking of acquiring or had just acquired it. It was rustic back then – only game trails, nothing cleared. We didn’t get far.

It was gorgeous with the clear fall weather we had this year. But remember that clear winter weather is a great time to get out and walk also.  Even tho it has been bone chilling you get warm when you dress appropriately and get out and walk.

Spots of gold

Spots of gold

The colors were golds, browns and amazingly lots of red from the berries on the Madrones. I didn’t realize there were so many of them in this location. I’ve noticed more as I go south on I-5 toward southern Oregon.

We decided to call the area Squirrel Heaven. Lots of those guys jumping from tree to tree. Could see their nests above also. Could have been large bird nests but I’ve seen nests like these back in the Midwest and know squirrels use them. Also met a very friendly Goshawk. He landed about 4 feet in front of my husband and didn’t spook. Then when we were driving out of the parking area he was standing on the road next to a mailbox. We drove very close to him before he decided it was better to leave the area. Very pretty bird. Don’t know that I’ve seen one before. It took the Audubon book to identify him.

Mushrooms CP 2013

Wild Mushrooms

When I visited the website they mentioned that the boardwalks may be slippery. If you go in the extreme cold there can be frost so be careful. I can see where that would be when they are wet. I like to walk with walking sticks just to give my arms a little more work and I can use one as a monopod for the camera. You do have to be careful with them if they have spike tips. Best to place your poles off to the sides of the walk but be careful of the plants.

Lots to see and hear. You just have to take the time to get down and dirty and sit and wait. How far and how fast is not always to goal. The Northwest has so many gorgeous areas to explore right in our backyards. You don’t have far to go to explore the many wonders.

Berry close up

Berry close up


Snow Man During the cold dark days of winter, is it hard for you to get up in the morning?  Do you experience a drop in normal energy levels in the afternoon and feel a need for more sleep?  Is it difficult to concentrate?  Do you have a reduced sex drive?  These are symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.  Other symptoms might include appetite changes, especially sweet and starch cravings, weight gain, irritability and anxiety.  You may experience symptoms present in other forms of depression such as guilt feelings, hopelessness, and physical ailments such as headaches.  SAD symptoms come back year after year and tend to come and go about the same time each year.

SAD may affect as many as half a million people in the US.  Another 10% to 20% may experience mild SAD.  SAD is more common in women than men, and is uncommon in those under the age of 20.  SAD is more common in northern regions such as the Pacific Northwest.

Some scientists believe SAD symptoms may be a biological response to reduction in seasonal sunlight.  Melatonin is involved in a complex process that sets your biological clock.  Morning sunlight tells your brain to begin its daily rhythms.  Although SAD’s exact causes are not yet understood, it is likely that serotonin levels in the brain are disrupted, leading to depression and other symptoms.

The good news is that   there are several ways to address SAD naturally.  One of the easiest ways is through light therapy.  Light therapy uses a special light box to expose your face to light for 30 minutes in the morning simulating summer morning light.

Fight the carb cravings, and eat healthy protein such as nuts, eggs, meats, and beans with each serving of carbohydrates.  Choose complex carbohydrates from whole grains and vegetables.

Although we may want to be indoors more during the winter months, exercise is an important part of addressing depression.  It can be helpful to just get out and walk for 20 minutes on a regular basis.

There is a link between low levels of Vitamin D and SAD.  Most data supports a daily dose of 2000 IU of D3.  Other sources of Vitamin D are cod, salmon, herring, sardines as well as fortified cereals and milk.  Additional supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, melatonin, St John’s Wort and amino acids such as 5-HTP may be useful as well.  There are potential drug interactions with these therapies, so check with your health care provider.

Acupuncture shows promising results in treating SAD by releasing serotonin and noradrenaline-norepinephrine and has no side effects.  Acupuncture has also been shown as an effective treatment for insomnia and fatigue.  A treatment plan created with your acupuncturist can improve mood and energy by restoring balance to your body’s systems.





                          For Thieves Herbs Four Thieves Vinegar is the stuff of legends and kitchen magic.  Recipes for this concoction are as numerous as the stories behind it.   An easy version for the home herbalist is a combination of garlic, rosemary, sage, thyme, lavender, peppermint and vinegar. It creates a vibrantly herbaceous remedy that may or may not protect your family from the bubonic plague, but will definitely enliven a salad, and help ease colds       during the fall and winter.

According to one version of the legend, when the plague ravaged the city of Marseilles in the seventeenth century, four grave robbers escaped the inevitable death from plague by dousing their bodies and face masks in an herbal vinegar with strong antibacterial and antiviral properties.  Once captured, they were spared burning at the stake and granted a more merciful hanging by revealing their herbal secret.

You may have seen drawings of physicians wearing long robes, wide brimmed hats and beaked masks.  Those beaked masked held herbs, spices, and essential oils.  The robes were doused with similar fragrant concoctions.  Modern scientific evidence supports this seemingly odd behavior.  Many harmfulPlague Bird microbes cannot survive in the presence of certain herbs and their essential oils.


Add equal part of each herb to two cups of apple cider vinegar.

  • 2 tbsps. rosemary
  • 2 tbsps. sage
  • 2 tbsps. thyme
  • 2 tbsps. lavender
  • 2 tbsps. peppermint
  • 2 to four cloves crushed garlic

Add all herbs to a large jar, top with vinegar (cover to one inch of vinegar above the top of the herbs) and set in a cool, dark place to steep for two to three weeks.  Agitate the jar daily.  Strain through several layers of unbleached cheese cloth and store in several smaller jars.  Be sure to put some plastic wrap between the jar and the lid, as vinegar may corrode metal lids.


  • For colds, take one tablespoon diluted in water a few times a day.
  • Add to marinades or salad dressings.
  • May be useful as a spray for toe fungus!

This legendary herbal remedy may not be approved by the FDA for the plague, but it can be useful in the kitchen and for warding off those winter colds.