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With cold and flu season in full swing, everyone should have a bottle of Thieves®* oil in their natural first aid kit to help kill germs in your body and around your home.
Powerful and versatile, Thieves®* oil can stimulate the immune system, circulation and respiratory system, and help protect against the flu, colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, sore throats, cuts, and more. Here’s how to make it…
History of Thieves®* Oil
Legend has it that a band of spice merchants became thieves in the 15th century, when pandemic Plague crashed the economy. They used a blend of herbs and spices to rob the gravely ill and deceased without becoming infected themselves. When finally caught for their crimes, the thieves supposedly traded their recipe for a lighter sentence.
Whether or not the legend is true, the ingredients in this mixture are antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral, and have immune-stimulating properties. That means it should keep just about any flu, cold or virus at bay.
In fact, Thieves®* oil blend (sometimes called Four Thieves oil) was tested by Weber State University in Utah in 1997, and found to kill 96% of airborne bacteria when diffused into a room.
How to Use Thieves®* Oil
This Thieves oil recipe is one of 10 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System, but that is not all the oil blend can do for you. Here are some suggestions for how you can use it.
Thieves®* Oil for Household Use
Diffusing – Diffusing the oil will purify the air, kill germs and eliminate odors. Diffuse several drops of thieves oil for 20-30 minutes three or four times a day in an essential oil diffuser, nebulizer, or in a pot of simmering water on the stove.
If our house or family members have been exposed to any colds, flu or other infectious illnesses, we run the diffuser continuously for a few days. At the very first sign of any cold or flu we diffuse the oil continually until symptoms subside.
We also run the diffuser in the bedroom of anyone who is sick, while they sleep at night. This provides a constant flow of the therapeutic oils into the respiratory tract, and is very healing.
Thieves®* Oil Blend Recipe All-Purpose Spray – This all-purpose spray solution cleans and disinfects around the home, purifying the air and eliminating odors. Add 1 drop of oil for each ounce of water in a spray bottle. Add the oil first, then add water. It mixes better that way. Shake vigorously before each use.
Use in the air or on countertops, doorknobs, toys, phones, litter boxes, pet beds, and other places that need disinfecting.
Dishwasher and Laundry – Add 4-5 drops to your dishwasher soap cup or to the water in your laundry machine to thoroughly clean, eliminate bacteria and odors. This is especially great to use for washing cloth diapers.
Floors– add a 10-15 drops to ½ bucket of cleaning water.
Pests– To repel aphids, ants or bedbugs, spray plants, surfaces, floors, and mattresses with a mixture of 2 drops oil to every 4 ounces of water.
Thieves®* Oil for Common Ailments
Basic massage oil – Add 1 drop of the essential oil blend to 4 drops of a nice massage carrier oil like almond, jojoba, grapeseed or olive oils. Massage on the feet, lower back, neck and behind the ears. On children, dilute 8 to 1 and massage just their feet. Test for sensitivity first.
Colds, flu and bronchitis – Dilute 15 drops the oil blend with 15 drops of a carrier oil like almond, olive or jojoba. Apply to lower back (where viruses and bacteria tend to hibernate), to the upper back of thighs, and back of neck to help with symptoms. For coughs and bronchitis, also apply to your feet, sternum, chest and throat.
If you can take a stronger blend, add a few more drops of the oil blend, to tolerance. (See caution below)
Head and lung congestion – Place a few drops in a steaming bowl of hot water, cover head with towel and inhale vapors.
Sore throat – Add 2-3 drops to 2 Tablespoons of water and gargle, or add 1 drop of Thieves®* and 1 drop lemon essential oil in warm water, drink as tea. You can also make a throat spray using 1 drop of thieves oil blend to 1 ounce of water.
Headache – Place a drop of the oil blend on your thumb and place your thumb on the roof of your mouth. May require repeated applications. Be careful not to lick your lips because the cinnamon bark oil in the mixture can burn. Use vegetable or carrier oil to wipe off if you do.
Cuts, scrapes – Dilute 1 drop the essential oil blend to 4 drops of carrier oil apply to wound or scrape to help prevent infection, reduce pain and inflammation, and speed healing. You can also apply diluted Thieves®* oil to your gauze or bandage.
Poison ivy, insect bites (mosquito, bee & wasp stings) – Combine 1 drop of oil blend and 1 drop of lavender essential oil for each ounce of water in a spray bottle, and use on insect bites, poison oak, and poison ivy rashes to reduce inflammation, pain, itching, and irritation.
Bad breath, tooth decay – Add a drop of the oil blend to your toothbrush to kill germs in your mouth and sanitize your toothbrush. Or, alternatively, add a couple drops to 4 tbsp. of baking soda, place in small container (not plastic) and shake well. Dip toothbrush in mixture and brush.
Immune support – For protection against colds, flu, and other infectious disease apply a few drops of the oil blend undiluted directly to the bottom of feet. You can also rub a few drops into your hands as a safe, natural hand sanitizer.
Caution: The cinnamon bark, clove and eucalyptus oils in the recipe can feel very “hot” or irritating to babies, children and people with sensitive skin. Always test yourself or your child for sensitivity, and dilute your oil blend with a carrier oil like almond, grapeseed or olive oil to the strength you can tolerate. If for some reason you use too much or it feels too strong, use carrier or vegetable oil to quickly remove it from your skin.
Note: Some people recommend ingesting diluted or encapsulated Thieves®* oil blend for health purposes. I am not comfortable with this because the cinnamon bark, clove and eucalyptus oils in the mixture can be very irritating—or even toxic—if not used properly.
Essential oils should only be taken internally if you have received a detailed consultation or a prescription from a trained and qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
For those who have some time, it is easy to make your own Thieves oil recipe for a fraction of the cost of the trademarked blend of Thieves®* oil available from online distributors. Here’s my recipe for making the blend yourself.
- Mix all essential oils together in a 1 or 2 ounce dark glass bottle with eye dropper cap.
- Shake well to mix.
- Adjust the ratios to suit your needs and smell preference, if you wish. (I always add more cinnamon and rosemary.)
- Shake well before each usage.
Recommended for This Recipe
*The word “Thieves®” (yes, just the word) is a registered trademark of Young Living Essential Oils, LLC. Small Footprint Family is not affiliated with Young Living Essential Oils, LLC in any way. (And recipes for the oil blend existed long before trademarks did.)