Although essential oils have been used since ancient times, the concept of aromatherapy was first debated by a small number of European scientists and doctors, in about 1907. In 1937 the word ‘aromatherapy’, derived from the French word ‘Aromathérapie,’ was first published by the French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in his book ‘Les Huiles Essentielle, Hormones Végétales’. An English version of which was published in 1993.
In 1910, Gattefossé had burned one of his hands very badly which he claimed to have treated successfully with lavender oil.
Distilled essential oils have been employed as medicines since the invention of distillation in the eleventh century, when Avicenna (c. 980– 1037 an Iranian polymath) isolated essential oils using steam distillation.
The modes of application of aromatherapy include: