How to Make Thieves Oil

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There are many different versions of the story of Thieves oil, and several different recipes as well. Essentially, what the stories have in common is a period of plague (in either the 15th or 17th century) during which the spice trade was shut down to limit spread of the disease. The spice traders, reacting to the decline in their business, resorted to robbing from the bodies of plague victims, which no one else wanted to touch. To prevent getting ill themselves, these traders turned thieves used a combination of spices in oil as protection.

Things You'll Need

  • olive oil
  • cheese cloth or strainer
  • herbs:
  • rosemary
  • clove
  • cinnamon
  • oregano
  • lemon
  • eucalyptus

Gather raw ingredients. Thieves oil is said to have four or five ingredients. Clove, rosemary and cinnamon are almost universally accepted as among these. In some versions, oregano is also included, while in other it's eucalyptus and lemon peel. For the most rewarding experience, start with raw, fresh herbs in equal amounts.

Combine with olive oil. For each cup of oil you make, you'll need a total of two ounces of herbs. Or, viewed another way, for each ounce of herbs you use, add half a cup of olive oil.

Heat mixture. Using low heat, allow the oil and the raw herbs to soak for six hours. An alternative is to seal the ingredients in a jar and leave for two weeks in an area that gets plenty of direct sun. The heat, however applied, releases the essential oils in the herbs and transfers them into the olive oil base.

Strain. After the heating period is complete, strain the oil to separate from the herbs using a cheese cloth or a fine strainer. Once the oil cools, it is ready to use.

Tips & Warnings

  • As an alternative to this somewhat labor-intensive process, it is possible to simply obtain ready-made essential oils of the herbs listed above and combine them in equal measures with a very small amount of olive oil.

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