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DIY Four Thieves Essential Oil Blend for Wellness

Thieves Oil Recipe by Mountain Rose Herbs

Many aromatherapists and natural wellness folks are familiar with a certain notorious essential oil blend of ne're-do-wells past, a mysterious potion based on a recipe that originated in the 15th century. According to legend, the concoction was created by a group of four thieves and grave robbers to protect themselves from contracting the plague while robbing the bodies of the ill and deceased. When apprehended, the thieves admitted to using the formula and disclosed the recipe in order to receive a less severe punishment for their crimes.

Whether or not this story is true, the essential oils in this blend may be beneficial during the winter months and are commonly used to freshen the air.

This is a classic recipe, but you can customize it by adjusting the proportions or adding other air-freshening essential oils such as tea treeoreganothymesageravensara, lavenderjuniper berryhyssopbay laurel, or scotch pine.

Hand placing bottle of essential oil down with other bottles on rustic piece of wood in natural setting in fall.

Homemade Four Thieves EO Blend



  1. Mix all essential oils together in a dark glass bottle.
  2. This blend is very strong and must be diluted for safe use. The essential oil content should only account for 1 to 2% of the total formula. This means that when formulating homemade cleaning products or other creations, 6 to 12 drops of essential oil can be added per ounce of carrier oil or other menstruum (for more information about diluting essential oils, check out our essential oil dilution guide with calculator). 

Hand pouring essential oil into cobalt glass bottle with other essential oils displayed on rustic wood.

Safety Note: Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can be harmful if not used carefully and properly. We encourage you to exercise caution when using them, and we do not recommend using essential oils internally. This is an especially potent blend of essential oils which, for some individuals, can cause irritation when applied to the skin, even in diluted amounts. Please keep all pure essential oils out of reach of children, and we do not advocate using preparation of this recipe on children or infants. It also may not be appropriate for use around some pets.

Uses for Four Thieves Essential Oil Blend 

  • To freshen the air in your home or workplace, add a few drops of the blend to an essential oil diffuser (consult diffuser's use guide for amount) or a pot of simmering water on the stove. Diffuse for approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Make an all-purpose spray for cleaning your home or workplace. Fill a spray bottle with half water and half 91% isopropyl alcohol and add the essential oil blend at a 1 to 2% dilution rate. Spray on countertops, desks, and other surfaces. Make sure to shake before using.
  • Mix the essential oil blend at a 1 to 2% dilution rate with organic jojoba or olive oil. Use as a massage oil for weary muscles and tired feet, or dab on skin throughout the day for general support (test on a small patch of skin first in case of personal skin sensitivity).
  • To help clear up occasional stuffiness, mix a 1 to 2% dilution of the essential oil blend with organic jojoba or olive oil and rub under the nose or on the chest. Or, place 1 to 2 drops in a bowl of hot, steaming water and inhale the vapors under a towel.


LOOKING For more ways to cleanse your space with Plant power? 

Learn 5 Ways to Green Clean with Lemon Essential Oil!

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Pin to DIY Thieves Oil Recipe

This blog was originally published in 2012. Because it's so popular, we decided to update it for you. Enjoy!  

Topics: Aromatherapy, Recipes, Herbalism, Green Living


Written by Irene on November 23, 2018

Irene, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer, supervises the daily operations of all our customer-facing activities at Mountain Rose Herbs. Her extensive experience with herbal products and DIY recipes goes back to 1997, and since 2012 she’s owned her own skincare business where she specializes in botanical-based facial care products. Irene’s recipes have been featured in local and national publications including the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) Journal, Amaze Magazine, Willow and Sage magazine, MaryJanesFarm Magazine and Newsletter, Earth First Journal, Farming Magazine, Eugene Magazine, and the Eugene Weekly. Irene also served as a member of the Board of Directors for nonprofit Cascadia Wildands from 2013-2016. When she isn’t ensuring your experience aligns with the goals and mission of our company, she can be found taking care of her adorable twin boys, harvesting wild plants, and gardening.

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