Four Thieves Oil is a recipe that dates back to Medieval times. During the 15th century, it is said that the blend was created by a group of “four thieves” to protect themselves from the plague while robbing the sick and dying. When apprehended, authorities demanded to know how they escaped contracting the plague and would lighten the sentence if the secret was disclosed. The thieves admitted to using a special formula of aromatic herbal oils that warded the plague.
Whether or not this fable is true, the oils in the four thieves recipe may indeed help maintain a strong and healthy immune system during cold and flu season.
How to Make Four Thieves Oil
Four Thieves Oil is such a classic and well-known recipe that is easily customizable not only for the amount needed but also which essential oils can be used. There are many essential oils that contain similar properties and constituents meaning you can easily swap oil one oil for another and still get a powerful blend that will keep you well all winter long.
Thieves Essential Oil Recipe
To make a 5ml bottle of Four Thieves Oil, you will need:
Add each essential oil to the 5ml essential oil bottle one by one, cap closed, and roll between your palms to mix.
This blend is VERY strong and should be diluted before use at a 1-2% dilution for any given recipe. For easy reference, that means you can add 6-12 drops to 1oz of carrier oil or any other menstruum like witch hazel, alcohol, water, glycerin, etc. You can read more about dilutions and conversions here.
You can substitute many different essential oils in this recipe. A few of my favorites include:
10 Ways to Use Four Thieves Oil
I love using Four Thieves Oil this time of year because it’s such a fall scent that fits in well with the coming holidays. Guests will wonder what smells so nice in your home when they come to visit!
Thieves Essential Oil Uses and Benefits
Freshen the air with the warm spicy scent of fall by diffusing Four Thieves Oil in your home. Not only will your home smell amazing, you will also be protecting your family and your guests from sharing cold and flu germs. Diffuse for 20-30 minutes at a time. This is my favorite diffuser at the moment.
You can also use this blend in a spritzer bottle that can be sprayed on sheets and pillows or around the room when you’re sick.
Clove and cinnamon essential oil are amazing antibacterial and antiviral oils. Using this blend at a 2% dilution mixed in water and sprayed on surfaces countertops, desks, doorknobs, the kitchen and bathroom sink, the toilet, etc. to kill germs. Plus, it smells amazing! Who wouldn’t want to clean their house with Four Thieves Oil?
3. Cold and Flu
If you’re feeling congested, mix a 1-2% dilution of oil in a bit of carrier oil and rub the feet and chest. Cup your hands with the remaining oil over your nose and mouth and inhale to help open the lungs and sinuses. You can also make a quick roll-on at the same dilution for easy use while sick.
4. Sore Muscles
Mix a 1-2% dilution of Four Thieves Oil in your favorite carrier oil and massage sore tired muscles and knots.
5. As a Gargle
Add 1 drop of Four Thieves to 1tsp of sea salt to a glass and mix. Next, add some warm water and stir well. Gargle the infused salt water for several minutes until the solution is gone. Use twice a day to help relieve sore throat. It will also freshen breath and kill oral bacteria.
6. As a Deodorant
I’ve made a lovely cream deodorant that smells wonderful because it has this blend in it. So perfect for smelling like fall and NOT like BO.
Add it to your homemade toothpaste recipes for a new spin on supporting oral health! Clove is especially good for tooth and gum pain.
8. For Blemishes
Using this blend at a dilution of 1-2% in your favorite facial oil is a great way to help control acne and future breakouts. I find it most handy when used as a roll-on on freshly cleansed skin. Make sure to swap out the rosemary in the Four Thieves Oil recipe above with thyme essential oil as it’s proven to be just as effective as benzoyl peroxide! Apply morning and night.
9. Wound Care
Add to homemade salve recipes and apply to wounds for faster healing. You can dip the tip of a toothpick in your Four Thieves Oil and use it to stir into a pea-sized amount of a salve your already own.
Mix up 1-2% dilution in some coconut oil and apply to nail fungus with a clean cotton swap 2-3 times a day. The strong oils in this blend will kill fungus and bacteria. Use it daily for a few weeks even after symptoms have disappeared.
What have been your favorite ways to use homemade four thieves oil? Please share below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Chao, Sue C., D. Gary Young, and Craig J. Oberg. “Effect of a diffused essential oil blend on bacterial bioaerosols.” Journal of essential oil research 10.5 (1998): 517-523.
Donaldson, Jack R., et al. “Assessment of antimicrobial activity of fourteen essential oils when using dilution and diffusion methods.” Pharmaceutical biology 43.8 (2005): 687-695. (full version)
Siegfried, Sara A., and Jennifer R. Schroeder. “Toxicity of thieves oils to MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells.” Am. J. Essent. Oils Nat. Prod 6 (2018): 1-8.
Selected Antimicrobial Essential Oils Eradicate Pseudomonas spp. and Staphylococcus aureus Biofilms
Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Essential Oils against Human Pathogens and Their Mode of Action: An Updated Review
Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases
The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy in Reducing Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis