There are various recipes and blends for Thieves oil in circulation today. In addition, the origins of the original Four Thieves Vinegar (or blend) vary wildly. However, the common consensus today is that the essential oils of rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, clove and cinnamon are the basis of any Thieves blend recipes. All of these essential oils possess the antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties that make the blend popular for use against cold, germs and any other nasty diseases that might be lurking in you home.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) belongs to the Lamiaceae botanical family. It is an evergreen bush or shrub that has pale blue flowers and silver-gray leaves shaped like needles. It flowers in the spring.
Rosemary has been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. In Medieval times, sprigs on rosemary were hung in doorways and carried for protection against the Plague, a devastating epidemic that wiped out millions of lives.
Rosemary essential oil is used for its anti-microbial, antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties, amongst others. Rosemary was effectively used in a blend with pine, thyme, peppermint, lavender, clove and cinnamon oils to purify the air and reduce the existence of pre-existing microorganisms in a laboratory test (Valnet 1980) (source: Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Shirley Price, Len Price).
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon (Citrus limon) belongs to the Rutaceae plant family. The lemon tree is native to Asia but is now found in many different places, such as the Mediterranean region, South America and some states of North America.
Lemon has traditionally been used in Europe to treat many types of infectious diseases. It has been used for malaria, typhoid and to treat scurvy on English ships (source: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Julia Lawless). Franchomme and Penoel, 1990, state that lemon essential oil has anti-viral properties (source: Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, Shirley Price, Len Price).
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
There are various species of eucalyptus essential oil which are used in aromatherapy practice; Eucalyptus radiata and Eucalyptus smithii are two of the most common species used. Eucalyptus is native to Australia and belongs to the Myrtaceae plant family.
Eucalyptus oil is predominately used for its antiseptic, anti-viral and and anti-bacterial properties in aromatherapy practice. According to Valerie Ann Worwood, in The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, the disinfectant properties of eucalyptus oil actually improve with age.
Clove Essential Oil
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) also belongs to the Myrtaceae botanical family. The clove tree is cultivated in tropical places such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Common as a spice, clove has traditionally been used as a tincture for skin and digestive problems, in addition for the treatment of intestinal parasites.
Clove essential oil is a potent essential oil and should be used with care in aromatherapy practice; use in low dilution and be aware that it might cause skin and mucous membrane irritation in some individuals.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is a member of the Lauraceae plant family; it is tropical tree which is native to Sri Lanka, southern India and Indochina. Just like clove, cinnamon has traditionally been used as a spice. However, it has also been used medicinally since ancient times in the treatment of colds, flu and digestive problems.
Cinnamon essential oil is also a potentially toxic oil if not used correctly and in moderation. However, it has strong antiseptic and anti- microbial properties. The essential oil is extracted from both the bark and the leaf of the plant, with a difference in the percentage of chemical components.
Essential Oils With Anti-Bacterial Properties
The majority of essential oils possess antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and therefore there are several other essential oils that can also be used effectively in an anti-bacterial blend such as that of Thieves. However, the above essential oils are commonly used for this particular blend. Consult a qualified aromatherapist for advice on how to use Thieves blend for a particular problem.
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