Thieves Oil – The Secret To Staying Alive During The Bubonic Plague

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The season of germs, runny noses, congestion, and coughing is nearly knocking on our door. Since I JUST got over being sick, it occurred to me that all of those cold and flu medicines on that were in my medicine cabinet could be replaced with more natural alternatives that wouldn’t be near as destructive on my family’s bodies. I have been obsessively reading and re-reading “Treatment Alternatives for Children” by Dr. Lawrence Rosen and Jeff Cohen. It has become one of my favorite sources for information on natural alternatives. I have found quite a few options (both in books and online) that require all those essential oils that you have on hand as well. Next week I will give you more natural remedies to use all of those essential oils.

My goal this winter is to keep my family free of sickness. Honestly, I know just how epic that kind of statement is, and that I have slim chances of accomplishing this goal 100%, but I am serious about trying everything that I can to keep my family healthy and happy all the way through the winter. To do this, I am going to have to battle with my best foot forward. My secret weapon this year is going to be “thieves” oil! This stuff is so amazing, i just couldn’t wait to tell you guys about it! The story that goes along with it, is even more amazing though.

Strong enough to kill the plague

Thieves oil is an essential oil blend based on a story from around the 15th century, when the bubonic plague was running rampid through Europe and Asia. Four thieves from Europe, who were notoriously robbing the infectious dead bodies of all their possessions. They, miraculously, never contracted the highly infectious plague and this led to deep inquiry in court after they were caught and charged. The magistrate offered them a deal, their secret for a reduced sentence. Taking the deal, they told stories of their herbal knowledge and their powerful medicinal properties when combined in certain ways. This specific herbal blend that they had created, concocted from aromatic herbs, was HIGHLY EFFECTIVE in killing all of the airborne bacteria. Some of the stories told speak of it in a vinegar form, while others talk about a blend that was in a mask over their faces. In 1997, Weber State University did a study that found the Thieves essential oil blend to have a 99.96% success rate at killing airborne bacteria. We don’t know whether or not thieves story is true, but the essential oils are truly antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-infectious. They will stimulate the immune system, circulation and respiratory system, and help protect against the flu, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, cuts, and more.

“Research conducted at Weber State University in cooperation with D. Gary Young, as well as other documented research, indicates that most viruses, fungi, and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils, especially those high in phenols, carcacrol, thymol, and terpenes. This, perhaps, offers a modern explanation why the Old Testament prophet Moses used aromatic substances to protect the Isrealites from the plagues that decimated ancient Egypt. It may also help us understand why a notorious group of theives, reputed to be spice traders and perfumers, was protected from the Black Plague as they robbed the bodies of the dead during the 15th century.” (Essential Oils Desk Reference, 4th Edition, p6)

If you are interested in thieves oil, but don’t want the “inconvenience” of mixing your own oils, you CAN buy Thieves oil from the Young Living website. I will warn you, it’s like $35 to buy 1 oz of Thieves oil, but I bought all five of the essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are all certified organic and 100%, not cut with any outside contaminants. You can diffuse this oil around your house to try and kill off and prevent any future illnesses. Here is my recipe for thieves oil.

Medicine Woman Essential Oil Blend


200 drops of clove essential  oil (or 2 1/2 tsp.)
175 drops of lemon essential oil (or 2 tsp. + 25 drops)
100 drops of cinnamon leaf essential oil (cinnamon bark will work if you are diffusing but if you want to make anything to go on the skin, use cinnamon leaf) (or 1 tsp. + 25 drops)
75 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (or 1 tsp.)
50 drops of rosemary essential oil (1/2 tsp.)


Store in a dark glass container away from heat and sunlight, preferably in a cool location. Don’t forget to always use a carrier oil with all your essential oil blends. Some people find its warming sensations to be quite nice when they have a cold or the flu. It’s very effective to create a mixture of 1 drop thieves oil and 4 drops carrier oil (an oil that is used to dilute essential oils, such as olive, almond, coconut, hemp seed, etc. It is important to dilute essential oils as they are very strong and concentrated and can cause skin irritation and more) and massage into the lower back, tops of achy thighs, and on the back of the neck. Don’t forget the most important place to do this ritual though; on your feet. Yes, you heard me. At the slightest tickle in the back of your throat you can rub this baby on your feet, throw your socks on, and sleep on it over night; the next morning you are fit as a fiddle!

The wonderful spicy smell that this oil provides, is a perfect warm inviting scent in your home, for the holidays. If you want to go even further with your de-germing your household, you can use this oil in everything you clean with; from your all-purpose cleaning spray, to your mopping solution, and even your laundry! The sky is the limit, just be careful about how you apply it to your body!

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I have been on an on-going educational journey to keep my family healthy. Most recently though, through my studies at the Herbal Academy of New England, I have learned that health doesn’t come from plastic bottles, vitality grows naturally from the way you live your life. You can learn all about herbs and how to use them as food and as medicine, online at your own pace. Join ME and thousands of others around the world, with these convenient and comprehensive online herbal courses provided by the Herbal Academy of New England. They've now added even MORE content to upgrade your herbal education! You can take the courses individually or you can choose your own herbal learning path with their new Clinical Herbalist path, Entrepreneur Herbalist path, Professional Herbalist path, and Family Herbalist path! Choose the path that suits you and your herbal learning needs!

FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may  receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this article. However, I only recommend products or services I have personally used myself and are in alignment with The Hippy Homemaker's ideals. Christina Anthis a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

All information on The Hippy Homemaker is meant for educational and informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products and/or information are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician.

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  • Tamara

    Hi I am wondering if the version of “theives” including rosemary & ecualyptus is safe for cleaning reasons, floors, counters, & such in a home with a toddler & infant, ( not to diffuse or skin only for cleaning). I am wondering how it could be any more harmful than say commercial cleaners and disinfectant wipes which are often used around children. Also is the kid safe version of theives AS affective? Especially for like a hand sanitizer?

    • Christina

      hi there! yes the adult Medicine Woman is fine to use in your cleaning products! The Medicine Woman Jr is just as effective as the adult version, it is formulated with highly anti-infectious essential oils!

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  • Joelle

    Would you use this blend to make an antibacterial hand gel? Thanks. I love all the information you put out. You are so thorough and make me feel so comfortable as I delve into this new aspect of natural health.

    • Christina

      totally! Just mix a couple drops into 1 oz. of aloe vera gel and keep that on hand!!! You can make a child friendly version and make that into a hand gel as well!

  • Norm Welsh

    Interesting article on thieves essential oil. You make an important point in your article about using food grade essential oils. Please note that Mountain Rose oils are not food grade. I purchased some oils from them since they are certified organic. There is a statement on the bottles that states Not for internal consumption. I called the company to find out why. They said the oils are not produced in food grade facilities and therefore must put that disclaimer on the bottles.

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  • Megan

    I want to try this. I have always wondered why there is supposedly ‘eucalyptus’ in a remedy dating back to medieval formulas when there would not have been access to such a plant. Other than that.. very positive on trying this as I’ve heard about it many times.

    • Christina

      Yeah I too am pretty sure the original recipe did not include eucalyptus, but it was likely added on to the herbalist recipe in later years because of its antibacterial/antiviral qualities, leading them to make it one of the essential oils to go into the Thieves essential oil blend. It does work very well!

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  • cece chavez

    Where can I get oils cheaper.

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  • O. O

    I like what I hv read hear. I would like to know if there is any EO good for arthritis and stretch marks

  • Cathy

    what is a “carrier oil”?

    • Roberta

      It is a milder oil that you mix your essential oil for topical use. It can be olive oil, almond oil and others that I can’t remember. Look it up and there are some other options I cant remember now.

      • Christina

        It sure is! Thanks Roberta! A carrier oil is an oil that is moisturizing and is used to “carry” the essential oils so that they don’t harshly irritate the skin. There are a TON of carrier oils that you can choose from some from your pantry (coconut, olive, hemp seed, avocado, almond) and some a little more expensive but extremely healing (raspberry seed, rosehip seed, jojoba, etc.). It is very important to use a carrier oil with essential oils, when applying topically as there are only a handful of essential oils that do not cause irritation when applied neat (alone, without a carrier oil).

  • Michelle

    Hi Christina :) I was just wondering, I have been using Cinnamon Leaf EO and not Cinnamon Bark as shown here. There is a pretty big difference in price. Is there a significant difference in functionality between the two?

    • Christina@TheHippyHomemaker

      though both are antibacterial and antiseptic cinnamon leaf oil is the better option for skin contact than cinnamon bark essential oil. Both should be avoided during pregnancy but cinnamon leaf is the one you would also be able to utilize in body butters and lip balms whereas the cinnamon bark essential oil works great in diffusion, cleaning, room/air sprays etc. So, to answer your question you can use the cinnamon leaf essential oil! :)

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