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Thieves Oil Can Boost Your Health and Mood — Here’s The Strange Story Behind Its Name


Fans of essential oils may already be familiar with a curiously named blend known as Thieves Oil or Robber’s Relief. The mixture of cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary has antimicrobial properties that can help fight off disease, but will it also make you suddenly feel inspired to rob a bank?

Also referred to as Five Guards oil (which makes a little more sense at first), according to legend, the other odd monikers do refer to some less-than-legal activity. Back in the old days of Europe, grave-robbers apparently used this mixture to protect themselves from the ailments that led to the demise of those they were stealing from. Today, folks aren’t digging up graves, but they are taking advantage of the antimicrobial, wound healing, and mood-boosting properties found from the individual oils used in the blend.

It might sound a little far-fetched to expect that many benefits from a humble blend of essential oils, but there is research to back the claims up. A 2018 study found that clove and cinnamon oils were helpful against respiratory pathogens that cause infections. Another study from 2017 found similarly promising results from those two in combating Lyme disease. Meanwhile, eucalyptus has been shown to fight off particularly nasty bacteria like e. Coli and those that cause staph infections. There hasn’t been as many studies for lemon oil, but it has shown antimicrobial properties, too.

While fighting off bacteria is great enough on its own, eucalyptus oil has also been shown to aid in healing wounds and ease pain. As for rosemary, a small study from 2012 showed a “positive stimulatory effects” (AKA happy feelings!) from inhaling the essential oil. 

Regardless of all of those promised benefits, there’s one thing you can count on: Filling your home with the aroma from this mix of essential oils will make it smell amazing at least. Of course, like with any diffused essential oil, you should make sure to dilute it before using it in any way. 

Ready to try it out for yourself? There are plenty of options to choose from online, like the Young Living Thieves Essential Oil ($35.99, Amazon). If you’re more experienced in mixing up your own blends, you can whip up your own version depending on your preference for each oil.

Here’s hoping you find yourself feeling healthier and happier, too!

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