The story of Thieves oil has always been an example of the evolution of medicine and and example of how many old medicinals have fallen into obscurity. Historically, doctors would use herbs and plant compounds to heal and protect from ailments.
During the terror of the Bubonic Plague, doctors wore an old type of hazmat suit, a protective suit created by the 17th-century physician Charles de l’Orme, someone multiple French kings had trusted. Doctor’s Review described it well:
“Made of a canvas outer garment coated in wax, as well as waxed leather pants, gloves, boots and hat, the costume became downright scary from the neck up. A dark leather hood and mask were held onto the face with leather bands and gathered tightly at the neck so as to not let in any noxious, plague-causing miasmas that might poison the wearer. Eyeholes were cut into the leather and fitted with glass domes.”
The masks they wore had long, curved snouts, and the doctors would fill the snouts with herbs to combat the smell of those infected by the plague. Not only was this used to protect them from the awful stench, but they also used it to prevent contracting the horrible disease. Most people believed that the plague was being spread by poisonous vapors in the air. Thus, the Medico della Peste was created.
Doctors aren’t thieves, I know you’re thinking this! I’m supposed to be telling the story of thieves, not doctors!
Well, the doctors kind of got the idea from a group of French thieves, who were spice traders. These spice traders understood the medical properties of natural herbs and spices better than anyone. It’s been said that they would soak bandanas in a combination of specific spices to wrap around their faces while they loot the houses infected by the plague. No one else would go in there for fear of succumbing to the terrifying disease.
The French thieves used Four Thieves Vinegar, or Marseille Vinegar. There have been various recipes floating around, but one particular recipe stated that it is a combination of rosemary, sage, lavender, rue, camphor, garlic, cloves, and distilled wine vinegar. By combining the different ideas of the various recipes and using current research on plant compounds, Gary D. Young, the founder of Young Living Essential Oils, has fine tuned it to what he believes is the most powerful combination of plant compounds to combat most viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
Essential oils are the blood of the plant–they’re volatile oils that have compounded medicinal properties of the plant. “Research conducted at Weber State University, as well as other documented research, indicates that most viruses, fungi, and bacteria cannot live in the presence of many essential oils, especially those high in phenols, carcacrol, thymol, and terpenes. This, perhaps, offers a modern explanation why the Old Testament prophet Moses used aromatic substances to protect theIsraelites from the plagues that decimated ancient Egypt. It may also help us understand why a notorious group of thieves, reputed to be spice traders and perfumers, was protected from the Black Plague as they robbed the bodies of the dead during the 15th century.” (Essential Oils Desk Reference, 4th Edition, p6)”