When Thieves Can Be a Good Thing
According to legends of the 15th century European history, when the plague struck Europe and had been spreading mercilessly through every community, four thieves from the French city of Marseilles made a name for themselves by robbing the dead of their valuables. What made them unusual was the fact that they didn’t become ill despite close contact with the bodies of people that died of the highly contagious plague. According to the legend, these four thieves applied a powerful blend of herbal oils to themselves and it apparently kept them from becoming sick. This combination of oils became known as “Oil of Thieves” or “Thieves Oil.”
Over time, this oil has become very popular for those seeking to relieve congestion, purify and detoxify the air, as a steam to open up sinuses and breathing pathways, to alleviate coughs and chest pressure from the common cold, to clean home surfaces and to boost general immunity. The oil can be mixed with witch hazel and sprayed on plants suffering from mold or funguses, as well as being mixed with a pleasant carrier oil, like almond or jojoba, in order to be applied directly to the skin. A few drops can be added to skincare products for the immune boosting benefits and also to help ease achy muscles.
Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients of this legendary oil combination. It is rather simple to make and can easily be combined into a dark glass bottle container. Quantities can be adjusted as needed, but the most common “recipe” for Thieves Oil includes:
2 Tbspns Clove essential oil
2 Tbspns Lemon essential oil (some recipes use orange rather than lemon)
2 Tbspns Eucalyptus essential oil
2 Tbspns Rosemary essential oil
2.5 Tbspns Cinnamon Bark essential oil
These oils can be adapted to the individual’s needs or preferred scents. Once combined, to apply it topically to the skin, it must be added to a carrier oil as mentioned above. The oils can also be used in a diffuser and with witch hazel or vinegar in a larger container to use as a spray to clean produce and / or countertops and kitchen or bathroom surfaces. The blend of oils leaves a spicy, pleasant scent and opens the breathing pathways with ease.
While there is little scientific study to back up the claims about Thieves Oil, it is reputed to be an excellent anti-inflammatory, a respiratory health strengthener, an immune booster, and an anti-microbial. Anyone with allergies to any of the individual ingredients should not use the oil, as the ingredients are quite potent and should be used with care and in small quantities.
Was there something that the four thieves from Marseilles knew that most of society didn’t know back in the 15th Century?? It’s hard to know for sure, but they became the legendary source of the well known “Thieves Oil” and many people have benefited from it to this day. While it’s not something to be relied upon in the face of a modern plague, it certainly has it’s usefulness with symptoms of a common cold, to refresh air, to clean and sanitize, and to boost the senses when we don’t feel great. If nothing else, this wonderful oil combination can spice up a room and make the air smell spicy and invigorating.
Stephanie Schneider LAc, Dipl.OM, CH