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Thieves’ Oil Recipe – Research Says It Really Works

During the Middle Ages while the black plague was trying to wipe out the population of Europe. The story goes that thieves capitalized on the situation by stealing the belongings of the dead and dying. Yet, despite their contact with the deadly bacteria, the thieves didn’t contract the disease. The theory is that is because these thieves were also merchants of herbals and oils. Ergo, a product was created containing the same oils the thieves used and that product is called thieves oil.  Recent research says that thieves’ oil really works and so we’ve provided a recipe so you can make it yourself.

The Research

Research at the University of Manchester by Dr. Peter Warn demonstrated that using three essential oils destroyed bacteria and fungi. Though the three oils were not divulged due to “commercial sensitivities,” We know that two of those oils were geranium and tea tree.

In addition to this, there have been numerous studies showing the effectiveness of essential oils as antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents. For this reason, you can find numerous Thieves’ Oil recipes that differ in their ingredients. However, since I know that two of the ingredients in the Manchester project were geranium and tea tree oils. I will use those in addition to eucalyptus oil since it is also renowned for its antibacterial properties.

The Thieves’ Oil Recipe


1 tsp geranium oil

1 tsp tea tree oil

1 tsp eucalyptus oil

1 tbsp Jojoba oil – Can substitute olive oil, but olive oil is a bit heavier.

Add the four oils to a 2+ ounce bottle with cap or add the 3 essential oils plus 2 ounces distilled water to a 2+ ounce spray bottle for use as a room spray.

How to use your thieves’ oil

  • You can use it as a room spray to sanitize and freshen
  • Add a few drops to your laundry to sanitize clothing
  • Add a few drops to the water used to clean appliance, floors, counters etc.


Thieves’ oil is one of those creations that is handy to have any time, but particularly during the cold and flu season. I have this enormous aversion to pain of any kind and when I know something will help me avoid the achy nastiness of the flu, I’m all for it. Also, in the past when I canned my fruit I always swabbed my counters and kitchen floor down with a strong Clorox solution. It sanitized my work area and helped to prevent accidental contamination. Thieves’ oil is a better option because it’s a healthier.

In other posts we have recipes to help you have beautiful skin, hair and nails. The reason for this post is to help keep you, your family and your friends healthy. Think what a totally cool gift to give your friends. It’s inexpensive to make and when you package it in attractive spray containers they’re sure to be delighted. Just copy and print this post or write your own note and add it to the package so they’ll understand the value of Thieves’ Oil in their lives.

Now go have fun and relax.


7 Comments on Thieves’ Oil Recipe – Research Says It Really Works

  1. Guest

    I have to question the possibility that Tea Tree Oil can be one of the oils used in the original Thieves Oil. I’ve read that, other than the Australian Aborigines, Tea Tree oil wasn’t discovered until 1770 by Captain John Cook, long after the Black Plague in Europe.

  2. Guest

    Very interesting, but I’d really love to know what oils the thieves in Europe actually used during the Middle Ages that protected them from the plague. It couldn’t have been Tea Tree or Geranium. They didn’t have those 2 in Europe until the 1700’s.

    • SpaFromScratch

      Okay, okay I cheated a bit with this recipe and I have some explaining to do. The actual thieves oil probably consisted of cinnamon bark, cloves, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. At least this is what legend says, but no one knows for 100% sure.

      We know to be effective the oil had to possess strong antibacterial properties in order to destroy enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes bubonic plague.

      In addition to the lymphatic (bubonic)form of this nasty critter characterized by sores, it can also infect the lungs and blood. So, that means you can contract the plague when the organism is airborne.

      Due to the sensitivity of many people to lemon and the caveats associated with lemon and clove oils, I selected an antibacterial recipe designed to just as effective with a minimal negative impact. Even so, some folks have problems with tea tree oil.

      I hope I have redeemed myself in some small way to all the wonderful goddesses and gods who read the posts on

  3. Guest

    To Author: Is that you in picture? Or is this a stock photo? I can tell by the eyes and hands that it’s a female, whoever it is. 😀

  4. Guest

    So much for credibilty, I won’t be back to your site. Truth and trust. #1

  5. Guest

    It’s interesting how some people, after just skimming through an article, jump to conclusions without re-reading it again. My first thought was also ‘tea tree in medieval Europe? No way!’ but then I went back and found out that you never said that. It is quite clearly said at the beginning that tea tree and geranium oils were used in the research at the Uni, bearing the results that are considered to be the same or similar enough to the original medieval effects.

    I got on this site trying to find how to make oil for oil burner (got one as a present, but any oils I can buy I don’t really like as they are much too sweet, e.g. rose), but lots of the things here sound like fun.

    I’ll definitely be back – keep posting please.