Over the years, even during the modern era of aromatherapy extending from the 1920s when Gattefosse wrote his first definitive text, there have been hundreds of books written on the subject of aromatherapy. The level of writing ranges from scholarly tomes with detailed chemical analysis of compounds to write-ups of scientific research about the measurement of brainwave patterns in response to various olfactory stimuli to gift books intended as a way to introduce a friend or family member to the subject. Recipe books and books intended as part of a learner’s kit are definitely at the other end of the learning spectrum from the chemical analysis type textbooks. Yet the list of aromatherapy books available in print now comprises hundreds of entries.
The serious student of aromatherapy will undoubtedly enjoy the three major aromatherapy books written by the early masters of the field-Gattefosse, Tisserand and Valnet. Madame Maury is also recognized as an aromatherapy pioneer, but not for her written works.
Gattefosse was the French perfumer who is credited with the modern ‘invention’ of aromatherapy. Purportedly in a lab accident, his arm was badly burned and he thrust it into a handy vat of liquid to cool the wound. The liquid was lavender oil. The rapid healing and minimal scarring convinced him to follow the line of research which eventually became known as aromatherapy. His major work, translated into English as “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” is still in print.
Valnet used his abilities as an aromatherapist to treat soldiers wounded in battle and wrote the definitive book translated into English as “The Practice of Aromatherapy.”
Tisserand, an English chemist wrote the third of the aromatherapy books best known as comprehensive texts today. It was the first aromatherapy work published in the English language and was entitled “The Art of Aromatherapy.”
These early aromatherapy books were more scholarly in nature but are still of interest to aromatherapy students today. In selecting a library of useful volumes on the subject of aromatherapy, the practitioner would be wise to choose aromatherapy books with detailed descriptions of the plants, expected benefits and also symptoms which can be helped by the particular plant. At least a three way sort of the materials would be helpful as a reference guide. The first would list the essential oil and describe helpful benefits ascribed to it. The second would sort by condition or symptom and list the essentials oils which might help to alleviate the condition and the third would provide possible recipes and measurements of the components in use.