Thieves Oil: Recipe, Uses, & Benefits

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Thieves essential oil is well known to ease the discomfort caused due to sinus congestion, neutralize bacterial and viral pathogens, reduce inflammation, and help heal skin conditions. The benefits and uses of thieves essential oil may be particularly valuable for people suffering from a weak immune system, inflammatory conditions, and poor respiratory health, among others. So, let’s take a look at what exactly is thieves essential oil.

What is Thieves Essential Oil?

Thieves oil, also known as thieves essential oil, is a blend of five essential oils, which include clove essential oil, rosemary essential oil, lemon essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, and cinnamon bark essential oil. It has a rich, spicy, and earthy aroma. This essential oil has potent antiseptic, disinfectant, and antibacterial properties, according to a report published in The American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products. It is commonly used as a home remedy for colds & coughs, as well as for domestic purposes such as house cleaning. However, scientific research is limited and the few studies available on thieves oil are based on animal models. Human studies are required to understand its health-promoting benefits better.

Thieves Oil Recipe

You can make thieves essential oil in several ways, but most recipes include five essential oils: clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. But before we get to the recipe, here’s a little bit of history of the origin of thieves oil. Legend has it that in the 15th century, when a terrible plague spread like wildfire across Europe claiming more than millions of lives, four thieves from Marseilles were busy notoriously robbing people, who were dead, of all their possessions. The thieves themselves did not contract any infection as they had applied a powerful herbal blend of natural oils on their bodies. This came to be known as oil of the thieves or thieves oil.

There are various recipes that have been popularized over the centuries, but these are the five base ingredients you will find in most thieves essential oil preparations. In all recipes, clove, and lemon essential oils are the dominant ingredients.

A woman holding 3 bottles of essential oil

Thieves Essential Oil Blend Recipe

An essential oil blend well-known for its potential germ-killing abilities
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Keyword: Thieves Essential Oil, Thieves Oil Blend
Appliance: Glass Spray Bottle, 15 ml Glass Spray Bottle
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Author: Raksha Hegde

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp clove essential oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon essential oil
  • 2 tbsp eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 tbsp rosemary essential oil
  • 2.5 tbsp cinnamon bark oil

Instructions

  • Gather all five essential oils and a 15 ml glass bottle, tinted blue or brown. Tinted glass bottles help reflect the sun's rays and protect the essential oil blend. 
  • Add all five ingredients to the bottle.
  • Shake vigorously to blend the oils well. You can store the bottle in a cool, dark, and dry place.
    A woman pouring essential oil drop by drop in her hand

Thieves Oil Uses

Thieves oil is good for mucus decongestion, air purification, household cleaning purposes, and as a personal roll-on blend. Let’s look at these uses.

Diffusion To Purify The Air

Thieves essential oil can be diffused throughout your home, filling the space with a warm, inviting smell, while also purifying the air by killing airborne microbes. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) suggests adding 50-100 total drops of essential oil to your diffuser and leaving the room with closed doors for a few hours. When you re-enter the room, open all the doors and windows to clear the air.

Steam Inhalation For Respiratory Support

You can add a few drops to a bowl of boiling water and inhale the therapeutic steam to clear mucus congestion and to ease a sore throat. Place a towel on your head and breathe through your nose for a couple of minutes. You can also apply a few drops on a warm compress and hold it over your chest for faster recovery from cold and cough.

Thieves Oil Spray For Household Cleaning

You can make A DIY thieves oil spray with 15 drops of thieves oil, 1 teaspoon of organic witch hazel, and about 2 ounces of distilled water. Put it in a dark spray bottle to avoid the oil from getting degraded. You can use it to disinfect kitchen counters, bathroom spaces, toilet seats, steering wheels, and remove musty smells from shoes or closed spaces. You can also carry it in your handbag to disinfect public restroom spaces before use. Try freshening your carpet or upholstery with this handy spray!

Note: The spray is also used to wash fruits and vegetables, cutting boards, as well as mixed with dishwashing liquid. However, it is best to know if you are allergic to any of the oils before using it in places where it may get accidentally ingested.

Use Thieves Spray To Disinfect Your Plants

The handy non-toxic spray can be used on houseplants to keep mold or fungus away. It also helps repel small insects.

Add It To Your Skincare Lotion

You can dilute thieves oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil and apply it to your skin to keep it germ-free. You can also add it to your skincare lotions.

Massage To Ease Aches & Pains

Mix a few drops of thieves oil with a carrier oil for use as a relaxing massage oil. A home remedy often used to boost immunity is the application of a few drops of diluted oil to the soles of the feet. However, there is no scientific evidence for the same.

Benefits Of Thieves Oil

The health benefits of thieves essential oil are mainly due to the potent properties of the five essential oils. We have used the studies of the individual essential oils to understand the health benefits of thieves oil better. So, let’s get straight to it.

Reduces Fever

Lemon oil can effectively reduce fevers and lower levels of free radical activity, according to a 2018 research report on citrus oils published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Also, a study by naturopathic doctors, Angela E Sandlon and Davis W Lamson found that eucalyptus oil and its major component, 1,8-cineole, have antimicrobial properties. It can fight all kinds of bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, viruses, and even Candida. This makes thieves oil a good remedy for colds, coughs, and fever.

Anti-inflammation

Clove, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils, present in thieves essential oil, have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. According to a 2010 study by Japanese researchers, clove and eucalyptus essential oils helped suppress COX-2, an enzyme that creates inflammation, pain, and fever in the body. The study suggests that the essentials oils helped suppress the production of COX-2 by 25 percent. Furthermore, an experimental animal study revealed that rosemary oil had potential anti-inflammatory properties.

Improves Respiratory Health

A study conducted in Italy published in Phytotherapy Research examined the antibacterial effects of various essential oils on respiratory pathogens including Staphylococcus aureus, pneumoniae, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Cinnamon oil showed the strongest antibacterial effect, followed by clove oil – both of which are present in thieves essential oil. Furthermore, the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, in its June 2012 report, said that eucalyptus oil has the potential to treat certain respiratory bacterial infections and fungal diseases.

Strengthens Immune System

All of the ingredients in thieves essential oil have an impact on the immune system, either with antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, or antioxidant. A 2017 study, published in Cogent Medicine, suggests that essential oil blends can potentially impact cells by improving immunity and speeding up wound healing. This is what made this oil so popular back in medieval times, as it was believed to be a protective shield against the plague.

Antibacterial Properties

Many people use thieves essential oil, in small amounts, as a house cleaner due to its antibacterial properties. According to a Journal of Essential Oil Research report, when thieves oil was diffused in a controlled environment, it significantly reduced the number of airborne bacteria and prevented transmission of pathogens. With a fragrant aroma (the cinnamon cuts through the strongest) and powerful antiseptic properties, giving the surfaces in your home a quick wipe with thieves essential oil makes it much harder for germs and bacteria to take hold.

Word of Caution: Children and pregnant women should avoid using this oil undiluted as cinnamon and clove oil may cause skin irritations. According to a report by Johns Hopkins Medicine, cinnamon bark oil can cause an allergic reaction or irritation. If you are on medication, it is best to check with your doctor before using this oil blend as one of its ingredients, eucalyptus oil can cause certain drugs to be less effective. According to NAHA, essential oils need to be brought from a reputable seller and should be used under the guidance of a knowledgeable professional.

Where To Buy Thieves Oil?

You can buy thieves essential oil on e-commerce websites such as Amazon. Sometimes, the oil may not be sold under the name ‘thieves oil’ as the word has been trademarked by an essential oil company. You can look in the ingredients list to see the oil blends and check if it is the same as a thieves oil blend.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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