Medieval Germ Fighters

What can a band of medieval thieves teach us today?

Apparently, they’ve left us with some valuable information. According to a widely-circulated account, these dishonest men had a secret recipe.

It kept them healthy during the Black Death, which decimated Europe. During the 14th-Century, these thieves made a fortune, robbing the sick. Some people peg this time as a century or two later.

Why they didn’t get catch this disease remained a mystery. Until they were apprehended.

Facing stiff punishment, they confessed. These thieves came from a family of spice merchants. So they knew which herbs would protect them.

The men escaped the plague. But not the wrath of the king. However, as the story goes, they received a lighter sentence, in exchange for sharing their recipe.

Today, numerous companies sell germ-fighting formulas, based upon this ancient legend. These aromatic blends typically contain a mix of clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus oils. But you’ll also find different variations.

For instance, Aura Cacia, one of the best-known aromatherapy sources in the United States, sells what it calls Medieval Mix, which contains three of these aromatics, plus the addition of sweet orange, lavender, tea tree and thyme. (These oils are also known for their germ-killing properties.)

Natural antiviral and antibacterial compounds are found in herbs. When these plants are distilled, these substances become highly concentrated, and very potent. When using essential oils, you just need a little bit to derive the benefits.

Undoubtedly, the best-known modern germ-busting blend is Thieves, made by Young Living. This is an excellent product. One study even shows that it destroys certain pathogens, in a laboratory setting.

Thieves oil has many competitors, and the number of companies selling similar blends has grown exponentially in recent years.

Although these are often collectively referred to as “Thieves,” they shouldn’t be. On this site I want to make that distinction.

But, on this site, I also want to include these other brands. That’s because I want my readers to know about some of the other options out there.

We’re living in perilous time. The world is very uncertain. Some people are preparing for if and when regular medical care becomes unavailable.

Even if such a situation doesn’t happen, we continue to hear about drug-resistant bacteria. I’ve known at least two people who’ve died from what should have been minor infections.

Currently, some scientists are exploring how essential oils can fight various pathogens. So far, even though research is limited, it looks very promising.

Perhaps in the future we’ll realize what a precious gift was left to mankind, allegedly by a group of thieves.


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.