I first heard of the four thieves blend when a good friend of mine was hired as the custodian at our school. We had a few students with super bug MRSA infections, and we were all very paranoid about germs. Essential oils green cleaning is very effective and safe compared to other harsh cleaners like toxic bleach. Thankfully, her homemade thieves blend kept the infections from spreading to other students and staff. This year, my son’s teacher requested
What is the thieves blend?
The history of essential oils green cleaning dates back to the Plague. The Bubonic Plague caused massive deaths in Europe over many centuries. Outbreaks caused massive deaths. For example, 60% of the city of Florence, Italy perished from the Black Death.http://www.historytoday.com/ole-j-benedictow/black-death-greatest-catastrophe-ever During this time of chaos, fear, and death, there were four thieves in Marseille, France who would steal from the dead but never got sick. I always assumed the name four thieves blend refered to the number of essential oils; however, it refers to the number of thieves.
There are various thieves blend recipes, but in general they contain these essential oils:
The thieves of medieval times placed the oils in vinegar and then covered their bodies and clothing. The recipe of essential oils was revealed after they were caught. http://tipnut.com/four-thieves/
The Four Thieves Vinegar. Perfumers by day, robbers by night. Four men made a concoction of herbs and essential oils in a base of vinegar and would douse their body with this before they went our plundering! They had a pretty good track record of stealing riches until the King found out and captured them, forcing them to give up their secret weapon against the plague. The herbal ingredients were wormwood, meadowsweet, juniper berries, rosemary, camphor, sage, cinnamon and cloves in a base of white wine vinegar.https://www.quantumbalancing.com/news/thieves_oil.htm
The use of herbs and vinegar to ward of infection and illness predates the 1720 plague outbreak in Marseille. According to Thieves, a company that makes cleaning and health products based on the Four Thieves blend:
The earliest online English reference found so far is in the 1825 Pharmacologia. After recounting the story of the aromatic vinegar used by the four thieves of Marseilles, it goes on to note that, “It was, however, long used before the plague of Marseilles, for it was the constant custom of Cardinal Wolsey to carry in his hand an orange, deprived of its contents, and filled with a sponge which had been soaked in vinegar impregnated with various spices, in order to preserve himself from infection, when passing through the crowds which his splendour or office attracted. The first plaque raged in 1649, whereas Wolsey died in 1531.” The Pharmacologia then sites the French Codex and The German Dispensatories as possible earlier sources of the vinegar recipes.http://www.secretofthieves.com/four-thieves-vinegar.cfm
How effective is essential oils green cleaning?
If essential oils could prevent Cardinals and thieves from getting ill, what can they do for your home in modern times? According to EMR Labs:
The essential oils contained within this formula have been noted for anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic and anti-catarrhyal properties while stimulating the immune system, circulation and the respiratory system. According to research at Weber State University, Thieves was found to have a 99% kill rate against airborne bacteria when diffused.https://www.quantumbalancing.com/news/thieves_oil.htm
The Society for General Microbiology reports:
Professor Yiannis Samaras and Dr Effimia Eriotou, from the Technological Educational Institute of Ionian Islands, in Greece, who led the research, tested the antimicrobial activity of eight plant essential oils. They found that thyme essential oil was the most effective and was able to almost completely eliminate bacteria within 60 minutes.
The essential oils of thyme and cinnamon were found to be particularly efficient antibacterial agents against a range of Staphylococcus species. Strains of these bacteria are common inhabitants of the skin and some may cause infection in immunocompromised individuals. Drug-resistant strains, such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are extremely difficult to treat. “Not only are essential oils a cheap and effective treatment option for antibiotic-resistant strains, but decreased use of antibiotics will help minimise the risk of new strains of antibiotic resistant micro-organisms emerging,” said Professor Samaras.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100330210942.htm
We were sent six Thieves essential oils green cleaning and natural health products from Young Living.
Thieves® Spray is ideal for use on door handles, toilet seats, and any surface that needs cleansing to protect from dust, mold, and undesirable microorganisms. This small bottle is perfect for traveling or keeping in your purse or backpack.
Thieves Spray combines the powerful essential oil blend of Thieves with a patented liposome complex that binds grease and oil to lecithin for unparalleled cleaning power and germ-killing action.
Thieves Wipes are ideal for use on door handles, toilet seats, and any surface that needs cleaning to protect from dust, mold, and undesirable microorganisms. Keep a pack handy in your bathroom, kitchen, car, office, or anywhere else you want to keep your environment clean.
Thieves Household Cleaner
Thieves Household Cleaner is a natural and healthy catch-all product that can serve as a replacement for a number of cleansers with problematic ingredients you may currently have in your house. This is a green, ecologically friendly, plant-based cleaner containing Thieves essential oil blend plus additional therapeutic-grade lemon oil for extra cleaning power.
The Thieves household cleaner will kill mold which will help you avoid toxic bleach.
Thieves Essential Oil
Thieves® essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the dead and dying. Young Living’s one-of-a-kind Thieves blend, crafted in the spirit of that legendary combination, can be found in all of our Thieves products. When taken internally, Thieves supports healthy immune function*, and it includes Eucalyptus radiata essential oil, which may help maintain a healthy respiratory system.* When taken as a dietary supplement, Thieves is an ideal complement to a daily wellness regimen.*
Young Living Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon (Citrus limon) essential oil includes the naturally occurring constituent limonene. Lemon may also be used to enhance the flavor of foods.
It takes 75 lemons to make one bottle!
Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for supporting normal digestion, including promoting healthy intestinal function and gastrointestinal system comfort.*
Not only is peppermint great for essential oils green cleaning (put a few drops in the dishwasher, sink, laundry machine, and trash can for odor control), it also relieves upset stomachs and headaches.
Why you should rid your home of toxic cleaning products
Not only does cleaning with essential oils smell wonderful, they are effective at killing germs and bacteria. The smell of most conventional cleaning products we associate with a clean house are actually toxic off-gassing similar to that new car smell.
Antimicrobial cleaning products are adding to antibiotic resistance and potentially super bugs.
Scientific American explains exactly what happens when you use antibacterial cleaning products:
Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria, Levy notes. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them.
When a bacterial population is placed under a stressor—such as an antibacterial chemical—a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop. These lineages survive and reproduce as their weaker relatives perish. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is the governing maxim here, as antibacterial chemicals select for bacteria that endure their presence.
As bacteria develop a tolerance for these compounds there is potential for also developing a tolerance for certain antibiotics. This phenomenon, called cross-resistance, has already been demonstrated in several laboratory studies using triclosan, one of the most common chemicals found in antibacterial hand cleaners, dishwashing liquids and other wash products. “Triclosan has a specific inhibitory target in bacteria similar to some antibiotics,” says epidemiologist Allison Aiello at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
There is no evidence that I can find that such resistance develops when using practicing essential oils green cleaning. Certainly historical evidence that they still remain effective and have been in used since the Plague is supportive.
There are many more health and environmental issues related to convential cleaning products. From water contamination to asthma, there are many reasons to switch to essential oils green cleaning. They are safe and effective!
Image credit: See page for author [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: comment-economiser.fr via Foter.com / CC BY
Mariah Trejo says
Really interesting post! I knew about the amazing cleaning powers of vinegar and essential oils but I’ve never known that they were actually used in the time of the Plague by thieves as protection from the deadly disease. I love natural cleaning solutions and use often vinegar, baking soda, lemons and salt in the daily cleaning routines. Thanks for sharing!
Soulful Sister says
What a great article! Fantastic tips for anyone who wants to keep their family healthy and their house clean with essential oils!