Essential Profile: Thieves Oil

thieves oil infographic


Name(s): Thieves Oil

Type: Blend

Ingredients: Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary

Uses: Immune System Support

Price Per Drop: $0.15

Historical Information

According to legend, Thieves Oil originated during the time of the Bubonic Plague (or the Black Death).  As the story goes, a group of bandits was going about raiding the bodies of the dead.  When they were finally apprehended, everyone was stunned that the thieves had been able to continue their illicit activities for so long without dying of the plague.  They begged the plunderers to tell them the secret of their immunity in return for a lesser sentence.  In return, the thieves gave up their recipe for a special concoction that had allowed them to avoid contracting the plague.

According to Wikipedia,

Early recipes for this vinegar called for a number of herbs to be added into a vinegar solution and left to steep for several days. The following vinegar recipe hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937, and is said to have been an original copy of the recipe posted on the walls of Marseilles during an episode of the plague:

Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of champhor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.

Young Living Thieves Oil contains no vinegar and is a somewhat modified blend, but the concept – using the oil to help fight off bacteria and illness – remains the same.

Modern Usage

Young Living Thieves Oil can be diffused, applied “neat” (topically and undiluted) or diluted in a carrier oil, or ingested in a capsule.  As studies surrounding Thieves Oil suggest that it is an effective microbial, most uses for this oil involve prevention and treatment of minor illnesses such as the common cold.  When I recently came down with just that, I used Thieves in a diffuser as well as diluting a few drops in coconut oil and rubbing it on my neck, chest, and back.  I also tried applying it neat to the bottoms of my feet as suggested in the Essential Oils Pocket Reference, but found that the smell was a little strong for me.

For more Thieves usages than you ever wanted to know, check out this article on 101 Uses For Thieves Oil!


These cautions apply to any self treatment or Essential Oil.  Additionally, Young Living mentions “possible skin sensitivity” – this is because Thieves is considered a “hot oil”, or one that may cause a warm or burning sensation when applied topically in undiluted form.  Because of this, Young Living recommends always diluting Thieves before topical application.  However, the Essential Oils Pocket Reference suggests that Thieves may be applied neat, or undiluted, to the bottoms of your feet – probably because the skin there is much less sensitive than elsewhere on the body.  At any rate, I would suggest testing out Thieves oil on a tiny spot of your skin before slathering yourself in it.

Final Thoughts

Thieves Oil is one of the most versatile oils available – I mean, just take a look at those 101 uses listed above!  It also has quite possibly the most interesting backstory of any oil offered by Young Living.  It can be used in a wide variety of ways, and in my book it’s a must-have in anyone’s Essential Oil kit.

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