Thieves Oil: From Medieval to Modern Times
The Thieves oil blend, also known as The Four Thieves Vinegar, Marseilles Vinegar or Medieval Blend, has a rich history dating back to medieval times during the peak of the spice trade and the Black Plague.
This essential oil blend was designed to protect and support the body’s own natural defences. And it has been performing well it this for centuries.
Table of Contents
- The Origins of Thieves
- Interesting Facts about Thieves
- Thieves Oil Benefits and Your Health
- How to Make your own Thieves Blend
- 12 Thieves Essential Oils Uses for Your Health
- DIY Thieves EO Recipes
- Possible Side Effects and Cautions When Using Thieves
- What to Look for When Purchasing Thieves
The Origins of Thieves
Thieves has a very rich history dating back to medieval times. It is believed to have originated due to the Black Plague or Black Death that plagued and raged on throughout most of Europe during the 1300’s. This horrible outbreak claimed the lives of millions of people; 75-200 million lives are believed to have been lost.
Dating back to medieval times spice traders and merchants would import spices throughout Europe, however, when the Black Plague broke out all international trading was halted for fear of contamination.
Suddenly these spice traders and merchants found their profits dwindling, and soon needed to find other ways in order to support themselves and their families.
This blend of oils which helped to bring prosperity to those poor and starving spice traders and merchants who were no longer able to make their living through the sale and trading of herbs instead they resorted to covering their bodies with the Thieves blend and began looting and stealing from the homes of the dead.
Believing that they would not get sick by rubbing vinegar and a mix of certain oils and spices together to rub over their body they began looting the homes of the dead plague victims.
This looting and trading business became very profitable for them until the King of England found out. Wanting to know their secret he sent the police out to capture them.
Once caught the King offered them two options; they could either hand over the secret formula or they could be burned at the stake. The thieves decided to share their formula and the king posted it all throughout the land.
There are many stories throughout Europe, at this time in history, that have their own stories about the origin of Thieves; hence the variety of names as well as many recipes with different ingredients. There are even newspaper clippings that can be found from this time in history that have the original stories and recipes printed in them.
The most common Thieves blend actually has 5 essential oils not just 4; as one of the names suggests. And today most blends you will find utilize 5 oils.
Interesting Facts about Thieves
Thieves has been known to be made of many different combinations of oils including sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, mint, rue, wormwood and garlic. Typically though, Thieves has four ingredients one ingredient for each one of the four thieves. The most common recipes for Thieves today contain cloves, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon and rosemary.
Many old newspapers from this time period are still around with the original recipes for the Thieves blend. You can find the newspaper clippings in France and England and many other European countries. It is interesting to see how the blend has changed and evolved over time. Becoming simpler and easier to make and use.
Thieves Oil Benefits and Your Health
When it comes to the benefits to your health one needs to look at each individual essential oil that makes up the Thieves blend to fully understand its powerful benefits.
Each oil used is potent by itself. But when used synergistically the powerful effects are bolstered by one another.
Many associate the scent of cloves with Christmas. Cloves support healthy digestion, provide antibacterial properties, help protect the liver, help to strengthen one’s bones, boost the immune system, contain anti-inflammatory properties, aid in curing oral diseases and is a cure for headaches. Christmas never felt so good.
For many this fruit is a lovely garish on a cocktail, but the purity of lemons has numerous health benefits for the body. Lemon provides a natural way to help relieve indigestion and constipation. Helps to reduce fevers and aids in dental, hair and skin care.
It helps to reduce scars and is a natural cooling agent helping to relieve the pain and burning sensation when it comes to burns on the body. It is a natural antiseptic and coagulant. It can help with weight loss and respiratory disorders. It also helps to soothe a sore throat. Quite the super fruit.
Cinnamon is of course known as an excellent spice, especially when it comes to baking. But cinnamon has many other potential health benefits beyond being an excellent ingredient in your cookies.
Cinnamon helps to improve brain function, remove impurities from the blood, increases blood circulation, helps with pain relief, helps to rid the body of infections. It is a coagulant, helps with indigestion, is a breath freshener, helps with respiratory ailments such as colds and flus and congestion and helps with discomfort and cramping during menstruation.
Typically eucalyptus is associated with cold, flu and respiratory care due to its potent clearing aromatics. Eucalyptus helps to boost one’s immune system and helps to maintain respiratory health. It helps to lower and/or relieve anxiety and stress levels. It helps to promote healthy skin and helps in managing infections. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties.
Rosemary is most commonly seen as a cooking herb, but it has many more health benefits to offer in addition.
Rosemary helps to boost your memory, improve one’s mood, decreases stress levels, helps to support and strengthen the immune system, is an antibacterial, aids in stomach problems such as bloating, constipation and diarrhea.
It helps to fresh one’s breath, stimulates blood flow increasing circulation, is a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties, helps to promote healthy skin and helps to detoxify the body to flush out toxins. This sure is one powerful spice, one that’s more than just for cooking!
So when you put it all together the Thieves blend has quite a few health benefits. Some of the benefits do overlap, but that in turn helps to boost that health benefit quality in the body. When it comes to Thieves you want it to be a powerful immune booster, respiratory aid with antibacterial properties.
How to Make your own Thieves Blend
The Thieves essential oil blend blends five essential oils together. These blended oils help to create an amazing potion with multiple health benefits as well as multiple uses for the body and home.
The essential oils that are blended together to make Thieves are Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus and Rosemary. It should be noted that there is certain formula as to how much of each essential oils is required to make the blend; they are not equal parts.
- Clove essential oil helps boost the immune system because of its antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
- Lemon essential oil is not only a powerful antioxidant but also helps to clean and purify the body and skin. It helps to strengthen the immune system as well.
- Cinnamon essential oil helps to support a healthy body by helping to aid the body in healing many of its health problems such as respiratory problems, skin infections and colds and flus.
- Eucalyptus essential oil helps to boost the respiratory and immune systems. It also helps to protect skin health and helps to fight against bacterial infections.
- Rosemary essential oil to protect the body from bacterial infections, increases circulation, helps to boost the immune system and helps to reduce inflammation and pain.
These five oils blended together sure do have a knockout punch when it comes to disease.
Homemade Thieves Essential Oil Blend
- 40 drops Clove EO
- 35 drops lemon EO
- 20 drops cinnamon EO
- 15 drops eucalyptus EO
- 10 drops rosemary EO
- 15ml dropper bottle
Blend the oils together in the dark bottle. Be sure to keep in a cool place out of the sun. (One 15mL bottle of essential oils contains about 255 drops while a 5mL bottle contains about 85 drops.)
12 Thieves Essential Oils Uses for Your Health
Aches and pains
For common aches and pains the anti-inflammatory properties of Thieves help to decrease the pain and inflammation associated with sore muscles. It also helps to increase blood flow to the area which is important when relieve muscle pain. Simply massage the oil blend on the problem muscle.
Related: 9 EOs for Sore Muscles / Muscle Pain
The antibacterial properties that are associated with Thieves make it a perfect cleanser. It helps to clean the skin of impurities while also reducing the risk of infection.
Thieves anti-bacterial properties support many regions of the body. The blend helps to rid the digestive system of bugs and prevents infection throughout the body, whether it’s taken hold inside the body or a newly present on a cut or scrape.
This property also makes it highly effective when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting the home helping to stop the spread of infection throughout the home.
Cold and flu
When it comes to colds flus Thieves has majorly desirable qualities that help prevent and aid in getting rid of a cold or flu. In fact it was designed for this kind of treatment.
The antibacterial properties along with pain, anti-inflammation, immune and respiratory boosters helps with the prevention of colds and flus but also helps to shorten the length of a cold or flu. Simply take orally or inhale or massage on the chest and back it help prevent and get rid of the problem.
Related: 5 EO Remedies for Coughs
For the Home
Thieves antibacterial properties make it an amazing and thorough cleaning agent for the home. It is also an pleasurably clean fragrance that’s great to have infused throughout your home. It can help to clean and disinfect stuffed animals, cell phones, laundry, the dishwasher, pet bedding and dishes, floors and counters and disinfect the air in your home.
Thieves can help to relieve some of the pain and inflammation that is associated with headaches. Rubbing a drop of Thieves on the roof of your mouth with your tongue has been known to aid in headache pain and discomfort. Personally I have found it quite a soothing application when my head is pounding.
Related: 7 EOs for Headaches & Migraines
Your immune system can be vulnerable, especially at certain times of the year, hence why Thieves is very important to have around. It helps to boost your immune system which will help you to ward off disease and infection. If you’re feeling something coming on try putting a drop of Thieves into your water bottle and drink it throughout the day to help boost your immune system.
Thieves helps to relieve the pain and inflammation that is associated with bug bites. It also helps to clean the bug bite preventing infection. It’s very effective for bites.
Related: 7 EOs for Bee Stings, Bug Bites
Thieves can also provide support for the lungs by helping to relieve congestions and inflammation. Massaging the Thieves blend on the chest and back will help to clear up the lungs.
You could also try putting some Thieves in a bowl of hot water and cover your head with a towel over top of the bowl and inhale to help clear out the respiratory system.
Related: How to Safely Inhale Essential Oils
Diluting Thieves by making a foaming soap. You can use this mixture to cleanse your face or wash your hands. The antibacterial properties of Thieves make it perfect for soap; not to mention the lovely smell it leaves on your clean hands! It can provide a good motivator to help kids appreciate hand washing.
It you have a sore throat try gargling with some (diluted) Thieves oil. Or perhaps have some in some tea to help heal that sore throat. Maybe even use a spray bottle spray some down your throat (dilute of course).
Whichever method you chose to cure your sore throat you will feel great relief because of the anti-inflammatory, pain reduction and antibacterial properties that Thieves has on offer.
Related: 8 EO Remedies for a Sore Throat
Thieves antibacterial qualities make it great for would care. Apply diluted Thieves to the affected area and cover as needed. It will help to speed up the healing process as well as helping to reduce scaring. It is especially antiseptic so it’s use at the onset of injury greatly improves the likelihood of avoiding infection.
Related: 11 EOs for Healing Scars
DIY Thieves EO Recipes
When it comes to recipes for Thieves there are so many to choose from because of the broad applications for the oil. This is the wonderful thing about Thieves, the multitude of uses for home and body.
Thieves can be applied to the body topically by simply applying a drop or two to the affected area and massaging it in. It can also be diluted with a carrier oil or lotion and applied topically to the affected area which is important for those with sensitive skin.
Thieves can also be taken orally daily by putting a drop into your water or tea to help heal you from the inside out. Taking it orally will help this oral health as well as digestive health.
Thieves can also be inhaled through a steam bath or an inhaler. This method is especially beneficial for respiratory or immune problems such as a cold or flu or congestion.
Homemade Foaming Soap
- 1/3 cup liquid castile soap
- 2/3 cup filtered water
- 1/8 sp. Thieves essential oil
- Jar with soap dispenser
- In the jar mix together the soap and Thieves.
- Fill the jar with the water.
- Place pump in jar and use.
Homemade All-Purpose Thieves Spray
Mix ingredients in spray bottle.
- Shake well and spray to deodorize or clean throughout your home.
- Note it you would like to use a bigger or smaller bottle it is 1 drop of Thieves per ½ oz of water.
- It you find it too strong dilute with more water or if you wish to make it a more powerful cleaning agent increase the amount of Thieves to water.
Thieves Topical Application
- 15 drops Thieves EO
- 15 drops carrier oil (argan, coconut, sesame, sweet almond, jojoba, grapeseed, macadamia)
- Non-reactive Bowl
- Simply combine ingredients together in a bowl and apply to affected area.
For those with sensitive skin Thieves may need to be diluted with more of the carrier oil you have chosen. For those with not very sensitive skin Thieves can be applied directly to the skin. Test first!
The topical application is great for applying to sore muscles or for applying to the chest or back to help boost the immune and respiratory function or when having respiratory problems.
Homemade Thieves Toothpaste
- 2 drops Thieves EO
- 4 Tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp activated charcoal (optional)
- 1 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
- Small glass container
- Place the ingredients into the glass container and mix together well.
- Dip your toothbrush into the mixture and brush away.
Homemade Thieves Chocolate
- 1 cup coconut oil
- ½ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 drops Thieves EO
- Dash of salt
- Double boiler or pot and glass bowl
- Food processor
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheet
- Using a double boiler or a pot and glass bowl heat up your coconut oil on the stove; heat until it is mostly melted. NOTE: do not heat up the coconut oil in the microwave as it will kill the antimicrobial properties in the oil and this making it hard to blend with the cacao powder.
- Allow the coconut oil to come to room temperature. While it is coming to room temperature place all other ingredients into the food processor. Add in the coconut oil to the food processor and blend with all the other ingredients until well blended.
- Line the cookie sheet with the parchment paper. Making sure it goes over the edges of the cookie sheet. Pour the chocolate mixture onto the cookie sheet. Even out the mixture on the cookie sheet by shaking it and banging it on the counter or by spreading it around with a rubber spatula.
- Place in fridge or freezer to set. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes or in the fridge overnight. Once set take out and cut into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge. It can also be stored in the freezer for later consumption. Yum Yum.
Possible Side Effects and Cautions When Using Thieves
When it comes to side effects and cautions with Thieves there aren’t too many beyond the typical EO warnings, but that is not to say there are none because as with everything different people are affected by different things and this is the case as well for Thieves essential oil.
- Caution should be exercised for those with sensitive skin as Thieves can irritate the skin. If you happen to have sensitive skin be sure to dilute Thieves before applying to the skin and be sure to test in a small area before full topical application.
- Caution should be used by women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. Be sure to consult a doctor when it comes to your pregnant and Thieves.
- Caution should be exercised when it comes to use around those under the age of 18. Be sure to consult your doctor when it comes to using Thieves essential oil blend around the house for cleaning and disinfecting purposes.
Repeated use of Thieves can cause sensitization or extreme sensitivity to the essential oils blend. If this occurs you will need to stop use immediately and avoid sunlight or UV rays for at least 12 hours. As always moderation is recommended.
Caution always should be used when using the Thieves essential oil blend around animals because some essential oils can be highly toxic to animals; especially to cats. Cats cannot process essential oils through their system hence why it is highly toxic for them. Be sure to consult your pet’s veterinarian when it comes to essential oil use.
What to Look for When Purchasing Thieves
When it comes to purchasing Thieves you want and need to make sure you are getting a pure essential oils blend. You want to make sure that there are no other additives to the blend. You want to ensure that the Thieves essential oil blend you purchase contains on the five essential oils.
- Be sure to research the company you are purchasing your Thieves essential oil from. You want to ensure they are using pure and high quality essential oils in their Thieves blend. This will ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck as well as the proper health benefits you are expecting.
- Be sure to read the ingredients list on the bottle prior to purchase. This will ensure no surprises if the blend is wrong.
If you wish to go about making your own blend at home be sure to follow the recipe closely and correctly. If mixed incorrectly the benefit will not be there as well you may have an adverse reaction to you blending method which could be dangerous.
Be sure to always store your essential oils in dark bottle with a proper cap, no eye dropper; and store in a cool dry place away from sunlight and heat.
I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions or something to add, please let us know in the comment section below.