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Essential oils, Immunity, and “Quackery”

As flu season is upon us and outbreaks of dangerous diseases saturate our news media, we thought it would be a great time to look into the history of communicable diseases and their prevention methods:


Most people who have spent any amount of time researching essential oils has come across the old wives tale of the “four thieves” who were able rob the graves and houses of victims of the Bubonic Plague (c 1413) without contracting the disease because they used their special salve made up of oils from spices (the essential oils of the time period), which strengthened their immune systems so much that they never contracted the highly contagious disease. While this story may or may not be true, it is based upon some actual advances in medieval times and into the Renaissance.


The basics of germ theory was actually discovered around 1000 AD but did not become popular in practice until around the 14th-15th century, when physicians began to protect themselves against germs, as well as use certain herbs and other natural medicines of the era to protect them. One common practice was to wear a large beak-like mask stuffed with herbs or essential oil-soaked rags as a way of both filtering the air and aromatically inhaling their “medicine”.


The term “quack” predates this practice by several hundred years and is believed to refer to “healers” who used mercury to treat patients. While the terms was known and was considered an insult, the “beaks” on these masks are believed to have led to the term “quack” being used for these doctors who treated infectious diseases, as they appeared quite foolish and the beak often resembled a duck’s bill. Pictured below is a Plague Doctor’s mask from the 17th century.



While 17th century doctors may not have fully understood the science behind their bird masks, they were willing to look foolish and be called “quacks” in these costumes for one reason: They worked.


Recipes for “immunity” medications were printed as early as the 15th century and most commonly included Clove Bud, Cinnamon (Cassia), Rosemary, and others. Some people claim the original recipe included eucalyptus; however, this would not have been possible, as it was not discovered until the late 1700’s and was not imported in quantity for yet another century. We include it with our blends today simply because it’s an effective addition.


Today, many pharmaceuticals sold as “dietary supplements” to “support your immune system” actually still contain some of the same basic ingredients (though many today are synthetically reproduced) as were used for hundreds of years.  These modern immunity boosters are sold at all major pharmacies today and have outstandingly positive reviews from their customers.  


At By Faith, we offer two versions of essential oil blends which also mimic these ancient recipes:

Our standard Immunity blend contains: Rosemary, Lemon, Clove Bud, Cassia, and Eucalyptus.

Our Advanced Immunity includes the oils listed above plus: Frankincense, Oregano, and Tea Tree.


We recommend diffusing these blends in your bedroom at night, alternating nights between each blend. Advanced Immunity should be avoided around children and pregnant women due to the potency of Oregano. For children, use 2 drops of our Immunity blend diffused in a well ventilated room. 


Have a Blessed Day, and as always, please let if you have any questions about any of our products.


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