With so many books on aromatherapy available, it's difficult to know what's really valuable. The authors of so many books have few medical or scientific credentials and take a highly impressionistic approach. For this reason alone, to find a book like this written by a chemist is a rare treat. And, since this is a chemist writing in 1936, we find the source of much of today's common knowledge of the discipline - from the man who made it a discipline and coined the word 'aromatherapy'. Translator Louise Davids and editor Robert Tisserand offer us a natural-reading translation with the added benefit of an editor's introduction which places the book in its historical context. Tisserand points out that "as a chemist Gattefosse was not a part of the natural therapy movement and he did not share [today's] holistic, 'alternative' approach." That comes as a great relief to those of us who want some reliable chemical basis for our choices of oils. Even more useful are the copious notes Tisserand provides throughout the book, sometimes to explain terminology, more often with comments on Gattefosse's observations in the light of today's knowledge.