On the wall of the museum in Marseille a recipe of a very special remedy is hanging, the vinegar of the four thieves. It is obtained by macerating several herbs in vinegar to create a lotion that should be applied on the body. This tradition has its roots in the legend of the four thieves, four friends that, it is said, in order to plunder the houses without being infected by the plague that hit Marseille in 1720 made this special medicinal vinegar. In the course of time the recipe changed, some plants were replaced by others and also the maceration in vinegar was abandoned in favor of a blend of essential oils. In this way a powerful blend, composed usually by 5 essential oils, was born, able to strengthen the immune system and counteract infections, perfect for this time of the year where flu, cold, cough and sinusitis may hit us. Let’s see what are these essential oils, their properties on the basis of scientific studies and their amount in order to make at home our blend of the four thieves! Get a bottle with the dropper and add
40 drops of clove essential oil
This essential oil is antibacterial and anti inflammatory (Nunez et al, Braz J Microbiol, 2012). It is included in the blends of essential oils, together with rosemary, eucalyptus and cinnamon, the other ingredients of the thieves blend, considered effective to counteract the flu virus (Wu et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, 2010 ).
20 drops of cinnamon essential oil
This essence is antibacterial so much that, in some studies, it has been demonstrated in vitro the synergy between the cinnamon essential oil and the antibiotics to stop the proliferation and growth of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Atki et al, J Adv Pharm Technol Res, 2019).
10 drops of rosemary essential oil
Also the rosemary essential oil acts with a powerful antibacterial, antifungal, insecticidal and anti inflammatory effect (Nieto et al, Medicines, 2018).
Moreover, scientific studies have observed that inhaling this essential oil helps improve the quality of sleep and counteract fatigue and exhaustion (Choi et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2016).
15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is antiseptic and it is considered able to soothe symptoms such as cough, cold, sinusitis and sore throat (Mulyaningsih et al, Pharm Biol, 2011).
35 drops of lemon essential oil
Lemon essential oil is considered one of the most active essential oils against bacteria. This essence is also antifungal, in addition to this, it is antispasmodic, relaxing and helpful to improve memory and concentration (Dosoky et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2018).
How to use the blend of the four thieves, synergies and applications
Beyond the properties of the single essential oils there is also a scientific study (Chao et al, Journal of essential oil research, 2011) that has analyzed the antimicrobial action of the blend of the four thieves. In particular, the diffusion in closed rooms of houses and offices of this blend has reduced significantly the presence of bacteria, thus resulting useful to prevent the transmission of illnesses and pathogens through breathing. For what concerns the use of the blend, you can add 5 drops of the four thieves blend to the oil burning lamp. In alternative, you can pour in 100 ml of jojoba oil 10 drops of the blend and massage on the chest. However, in this last case, don’t exceed with the applications to avoid irritations of the skin, especially caused by cinnamon and cloves.
Moreover, the lemon is photosensitizing, for this reason don’t expose yourself to the sun right after you have applied the blend topically.