The essential oil blend found in our Grave Robber’s Collection is a long-standing protection from germs, bacteria, and disease. During the 15th century, when the Bubonic Plague was rampaging Europe and Asia, it was the tool used by thieves, as protection from the dreaded disease. The image, to the left, is actually a physician from the period and the long beak-like mask was filled with fresh herbs and spices.
Legend dictates that these fresh herbs included cloves, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and more. All the herbs, spices, and their accompanying essential oils are known to contain constituents that are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-fungal; thus killing airborne bacteria. It should also be noted that many of the ingredients are also natural flea repellents which is how the disease was spread.
So, the story goes that thievery was running amuck and four such thieves were caught robbing homes and graves to acquire the possessions of the deceased. Surprisingly, these thieves showed no signs of the deadly plaque.
When questioned by the courts, they were offered a plea bargain, of sorts, to relinquish the recipe for their wellness. There follows the name of the life-saving blend of which we can no longer speak its name. (That’s thanks to a well known and somewhat controlling network marketing company that felt the need to copyright the name of the legendary blend.)
Meanwhile, once armed with this information, physicians were able to protect themselves. It is said that not only did they pack their masks but also doused their robes with the miraculous blend. Below is said to be the original recipe which was actually an herbed vinegar. The recipe is said to have been hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937 and the original document was posted on the walls of Marseilles during the time of the plaque.
Of course, it should be noted…
There are as many versions of this story as there are recipes. And sadly, I could find no evidence of what happened to the thieves after they relinquished their secret
And though it is quite a fun story to tell, the actual event was devastating to the world and will never be forgotten.
Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy (CW Daniel Company, Ltd. First published in Paris, France in 1937 by Girardot & Cie.), 85-86.
Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of camphor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears, and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.[