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The Tale of Thieves

Updated: 19 hours ago

The tale of thieves, disease, lockdowns and leaning into the beautiful plant world for protection. 


Once upon a time, not so long ago the entire world went into a lockdown. Remember that?

Most of us don’t want to remember for all the different reasons that that time brought and this post isn’t about that, this one is about being inspired by a tale of a combination of essential oils called thieves oil. 

Like any legend and story, true or false, passed down through generations there are threads of truth and if a story inspires creativity surely it has its value. This tale has its roots in the dark days of the Bubonic Plague in Europe. 



The legend has various versions of course but this is my favourite as I do love happy endings.  $

The year was around 1350 or thereabouts, over 600 years ago. The Bubonic Plague had hit Europe. Many millions of people became sick, and many millions died. At the time they thought it was an airborne disease sweeping from household to household but it was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis that lives inside the gut of the Oriental Rat flea. Likely brought by ships into Europe from Asia during the spice and other trading between continents.    

During this time in France, four opportunistic looters which may have been spice and perfume merchants were now unemployed due to the closure of the seaports and took to robbing the dead to survive. Yet never actually catching the disease themselves. Word began to spread about a special concoction that the thieves were using to protect themselves. 

These survivors were captured and taken to the King of Marseille, who declared he would have them killed for their crimes but gave them a chance of freedom if they revealed their secret. They revealed a special aromatic blend of herbs and spices they used to protect themselves and were set free and everyone lives happily ever after….

Well not really as the Plague went on to decimate Europe for 4 years and took the lives of over 50 million people. A great reminder of how Europe has coped with devastating losses and still thrives, evolves and drives the world. Much power comes from its genetic history of survival in the most adverse times.  



archie brown's health shop in penzance uk

But back to the inspiration this story gave me. I wanted a hand sanitiser I could spray on my own hands when entering shops and other public indoor environments. I looked up the ingredients said to be the foundation of Thieves Oil and created Sōlseed’s Natural Defence Spray. And instead of using any artificial hand sanitisers, I carried this with me.

Whilst the legend is certainly colourful, there is no documented evidence to support the existence of these thieving heroes or the magical properties of their secret but upon reading up the main ingredients the essential oils used are highly anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. So a great believer in nature this combination certainly resonated with me. 

The 5 main essential oils in Thieves Oil: 

CLOVE OIL - (warming, soothing, comforting) The essential oil from this fragrant spice is believed to fight bacteria.

CINNAMON OIL - (warming, comforting, energising) Research has found that cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial and anti-fungal

LEMON OIL - (refreshing, cheerful, uplifting) This oil acts as a powerful disinfectant and is an anti-oxidant.

EUCALYPTUS OIL - (revitalising, invigorating, clarifying) The strong, active ingredient of this oil is proven to be effective against many viruses, is anti-bacterial and can help to relieve respiratory conditions

ROSEMARY OIL - (purifying, uplifting) Rosemary contains compounds that can help protect against inflammation, it is a strong anti-bacterial and has lasting anti-inflammatory properties.



When I moved from up country and started my job in Archie Browns Health Shop in Penzance, Cornwall, UK. I started bringing in my Natural Defence Spray for customers and staff to use as an alternative to what most shops provided at the door as a disinfectant. 

I didn’t launch this product as I felt there wasn’t a want for it. People didn’t want to be reminded of the lockdown and so I just kept replacing these for people to use. 


We have interactions with a lot of people and some aren’t very well, hence why they would come into a health shop. I spray my hands and apply some to my nostrils periodically through the day as a protection from whatever nasty bugs that may be around. So far I have avoided getting any colds or flu this winter. 




Can I give the accolade to the Natural Defence Spray? No, but it certainly may have helped at purifying and disinfecting anything I may have touched or breathed in. 


Recently I have had people ask if they could buy it and so I decided to properly launch this product as I do feel it has its place in protecting us and it smells nice too. A warm mix of winter spices and floral essences, as I have added Lavender and Chamomile hydrosols. Hydrosols are water-based products made from the distillation of essential oils — by water or steam — of plant matter. The distilling process produces two end-products: Essential oil: the oil-soluble parts of the plant. Hydrosol: the water-soluble parts of the plant which still hold microscopic essential oils but also the quantum botanical frequency of the plant itself. 


The amazing benefits of Witch Hazel hydrosol– the main base ingredient I use in the Defence Spray. 



  • Wards off infection – Test-tube studies show that Witch Hazel may have antiviral properties and could be useful against certain types of viral infections. 

  • Anti-Infammatory - Studies show that topically applied witch hazel can effectively reduce inflammation and help soothe your skin.

  • Reduces Skin irritation - Some research suggests that applying witch hazel topically to sensitive skin may be beneficial in the treatment of inflamed, irritated or broken skin.

  • Soothes sore throats - Because of its ability to decrease inflammation and act as an astringent, witch hazel is sometimes used to treat sore throats. * Please note – Do not spray Sōlseed’s Natural Defence Spray into your mouth. 

  • Protects against skin damage - Witch hazel is rich in tannins, a natural plant compound with powerful antioxidant properties that can help protect your skin against damage when applied topically.



Sōlseed is about to launch this product on our website so do look out for it. Currently for sale at Archie Browns Health Shop in Penzance or email us.



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