Even though the growth in the knowledge and use of aromatherapy has been explosive over the past few years, an aromatherapy guide written by one of the first modern day aromatherapy practitioners is still widely read today, more than 70 years after its original publication. Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy was written in 1937, translated from the original French and continues to be a standard reference book on the subject or aromatherapy.

Contents of this heavily scientific aromatherapy guide include: Human, Animal and Plant Smells, The Classification of Essential Oils, Essences in Ancient Pharmacopoeias, More Recent Works on Essential Oils, Aromatherapy, and Tests on Anti-Toxic Action of Essential Oils.

Another standard aromatherapy guide is that written by Jean Valnet entitled The Practice of Aromatherapy. Valnet is a well known aromatherapist who used his knowledge to treat injured soldiers. Contents of the Practice of Aromatherapy includes chapters on Essences classified by their Principal Properties, (B) Principal Indications; Studies of Individual Essences: Botanical name and Genus; Principal Known Constituents; Properties; Indications; Methods of Use; Formulae and Recipes, Ancient and Modern; Therapeutic Index of Ailments and the Aromatic Essences Used in Their Treatment; Some Formulae for Prescriptions in Current Use; Some Case Histories: Essences Used on Their Own and in Association; Some Formulae for Medicinal Wines and Vinegars; and How to Gather and Preserve Aromatic Plants.
The Practice of Aromatherapy is also a book meant for the serious student of aromatherapy.

The third textbook aromatherapy guide which is usually cited as a reference for the aromatherapy professional is a book called The Art of Aromatherapy. This text was written by Robert B Tisserand, an English aromatherapist and is the first text on aromatherapy published in English. Although it was published in 1977, it is a well-known and recognized authority on the subject of aromatherapy today. Chapter headings include About Essential Oils; From Ancient Times; Basic Principles; Odors; The Body; The Mind; Aromatic Baths; Massage; Skin Care; Practical Hints and Recipes; The Essential Oils; and Complementary Relationships of Yin and Yang.

No aromatherapist’s library should be without these comprehensive and scholarly texts. In addition to these texts, there are literally thousands of books which deal with the subject of aromatherapy. While reading and understanding the history of aromatherapy is admirable in an aromatherapist, the prime need is for the practitioner to have access to the aromatherapy guide that will allow him to do his job properly. The standard texts on the subject plus some recipe style books and access to the wealth of reference information on the internet is undoubtedly enough information to do one’s job efficiently.