Essential Oils for Germs

essential oils for germs

Most essential oils are good at killing germs.

But a blend of five aromatic oils, modeled upon a legend of Medieval thieves, has gained the most attention.

Thieves essential oil is sold by the Young Living company. But a number of competing brands have come onto the market.

Here’s the story upon which they’re based.

During the 14th or 15th centuries, four thieves allegedly managed to stay healthy while robbing the sick. This disease was so fearsome that even the undertakers were afraid to touch the dead. But, somehow, these men didn’t suffer any harm, despite close contact with victims. According to various other published accounts, this is because they used a special herbal remedy.

Whether or not these men existed is a matter of speculation. I tend to think they did. It’s thought they lived in Marseille, France. There is a copy on an ancient germ-fighting recipe from that city, on display in the Paris Museum. This herbal formula was once posted on a wall in Marseille.

Essential Oils for Germs

Regardless of if this legend is true, it does appear as if there’s some validity to the claims that a certain essential oil recipe protects against germs.

The best-known of the germ-buster blends is Young Living Thieves oil. It has some science to support it.

Thieves oil contains cinnamon, clove, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus essential oils. This is an excellent product, and if you’d like to buy some, it’s available here.

However, for personal use, I’ve gone with a competitor that offers the same recipe of aromatics. The brand I stocked up on last winter is made by a small California company called Fabulous Frannie. It’s germ-busting recipe is known as Four Thieves. (Recently changed the name to Protect.) This is what I now use to clean and sanitize.

Plant Therapy Germ Fighter BlendPlant Therapy Germ Fighter Blend


Last year, I bought a number of bottles of Fabulous Frannie, because I wanted to stock up on germ-fighting aromatics.

One difference between Fabulous Frannie and Young Living is that the latter company oversees production of the plants used to make its oils. It has coined a motto “from seed to seal.”

Fabulous Frannie buys its oils from different suppliers around the world. It cannot guarantee that all of the plants are raised organically. However, a Certificate of Analysis, for each batch, is available upon request. This is information on the purity of a particular batch of oil.

For me, I wanted to buy enough four thieves-type oil in order to use it liberally. In this instance, Fabulous Frannie is the label that worked.

Essential Oils Antiviral

When cold and flu season hits, I reach for my essential oils. At the first sign of a sniffle, I put a little diluted four thieves-type oil on the inside of my wrist.

Throughout history, aromatic oils have been used to help people recover from viral infections. Although all the specific anti-infection blends sold by different companies haven’t been studied, we do have some information.

  • One product called OnGuard is made by the doTerra company. (This is another multi-level marketing concern that sells high-priced oils.) A study published in the journal BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that On Guard appeared to halt progression of the influenza virus in the lab. This particular formula contains orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary oils. It would be impossible to say if the same results would be seen with any other protective brand. But I’m trusting that my Fabulous Frannie oils also contain potent germ killers.
  • Another study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that rosemary oil alone was effective against certain strains of drug-resistant bacteria. (I really hope these germ-fighting blends can get into every house.)


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.

For Additional Reading

How to Use Four Thieves Oil

Essential Oils Viruses

Rosemary Oil and Infections

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