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understanding therapeutic grade essential oils and their benefits


The Research of Dr Jean Valnet – Essential Oils During the Past Century, Part IV

Meanwhile, as the U.S. Government was quietly growing and distilling essential oils to research their medicinal benefits, and the FDA was taking steps to ensure that only patentable, synthetic drugs approved by them could ever be used to treat any illness, Gattefossé’s work was not entirely forgotten in France.

Jean Valnet was born July 26, 1920 in what is now the city of Châlons-en-Champagne, France (formerly known as Châlons-sur-Marne, the name was changed in 1998).  As a boy he had opportunity to observe the healing power of plants on many occasions, used by adults who seemed to be aware of the medicinal properties of many of the local plants surrounding them, and who seemed to accept them in a matter of fact way without really understanding how they worked.  Jean Valnet wanted to know more, and tucked this observations away in his enquiring young mind for future reference.

 

He served in combat during World War II (1940-45) and began to study medicine at the Military Academy of the Arrow, at the School of the Military Department of Health, and the Medical College of Lyon. From 1944-1945 he was Assistant Chief of Surgical Services for Evacuation Hospital 412, and he earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1945, as well as Diplomas in Forensic Medicine, Psychiatry, Microbiology, Hygiene, and Colonial Medicine.  As a soldier, he earned many honors.  He was an OfficerCroix de Guerre 1939-1945 of the Legion of Honor and held the Croix de Guerre  during the years 1939-1945.  He earned six Cross TOE (Theatre of External Operations) citations and the honors he held included ” Cross of the Fighter,” “Cross Volunteer Fighter ,” “Cross of Resistance Fighter Volunteer ” and ” Medal of the Free French .”

Following his graduation in 1945, he was appointed Lieutenant and served as Assistant Surgeon for Evacuation hospitals 412 and 501 in Germany.  He also served as doctor for the School of Application of the Infantry, and the prestigious Special Military School of St. Cyr, which is the foremost military academy in France.

This academy had originally been founded in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte at Fontainebleu near Paris, using the historic buildings of the Maison Royale de Saint-Louis   The Maison Royale de Saint-Louis was originally founded in 1685 by Louis XIV for impoverished daughters of noblemen who had died for France. Several other moves of the school followed, and in 1808, the cadets eventually settled west of Paris in Saint-Cyr.

 

In 1948 he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and served as Surgeon of the Advanced Surgical Unit at Tonkin, the leading surgical unit in this location, from 1950 – 1953.  In 1954, Valnet earned a Bronze medal for his scientific work.  He found consistent results and great success in using many essential oils and aromatic solutions in dressing the wounds during this time.   Later, he served as chief physician to the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the French armed forces, including the Chief of the Secretary of State for War, Staff of the Army, and Office of the Secretary of the Army.  Dr. Valnet also earned the academic decoration of being appointed Commanding Officer  of the ” National Order of Academic Palms ” at the age of 36 for his exceptional scientific research and services to Higher Education.  He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in 1958 and served as commanding doctor and physician for Emergency Services. Other awards included the Golden Civic Star and  Silver Medal of Physical Education.  Valnet was also Officer of the Franco-British Alliance, Commander of the League for Protection of Children, and Commander for the National Order of the Ivory Coast as well as a member of numerous medical and cultural organizations.

Dr. Valnet retired from the military in 1959 and continued his medical practice at his Paris surgery in the Avenue Kléber, continuing to advise his patients that a healthy diet and phyto-aromatherapy were important in maintaining wellness.  He chaired the first Symposium of Medical Aromatherapy in Paris in 1960, and his first reference work, titled “Aromatherapy : the treatment of ailments by Plant Essences” was published in 1964.  This was followed by a second book, “The treatment of ailments with vegetables, fruits and cereals” in 1967.  He wrote “Doctor Nature” in 1971, and “Phytotherapy : the treatment of ailments by Plants” in 1972.  These works were based on Dr. Valnet’s clinical observations, and spurred him to continued research in studying the anti-infectious properties of essential oils.  In collaboration with Dr. M. Girault of Dijon, he coined the term “aromatogramme” to describe a method using essential oils to test antimicrobial
susceptibility.  Valnet also foresaw the dangers of overusing antibiotics.

Dr. Valnet founded the first association for the research and study of phyto‐aromatherapy in 1971, and from 1976 until his death in 1995, he organized a a major annual international phyto‐aromatherapy conference which was widely attended by medical doctors, research scientists, and academics. In 1981, Dr. Valnet also founded the college of phytoaromatherapy and field‐based medicine in the French language. As a result of Dr. Valnet’s extensive research, he is generally considered by many as the  “father of modern‐day phyto‐aromatherapy”.

The forward thinking ideas of Dr. Valnet were well ahead of his time.  In his book, the Practice of Aromatherapy, published in 1980 as a culmination of his research and clinical observations, he wrote, “Normal preventive medicine, which consists in giving healthy people drugs and injections of products whose future effects are unpredictable, is an aberration.  Bringing about change by non-toxic means is the only efficacious course, among which aromatic plants and their essences have been, are, and will remain in the front rank.”  Dr. Valnet was the first to record the specific properties, indications, and dosages of essential oils useful in medical practice.  His work is credited for being the foundation of two great trends, which are the clinical and scientific approach which is regularly used by doctors in France, and more general popular trend of aromatherapy geared towards wellness and a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Valnet formulated his own line of 44 specifically recommended essential oils, and in 1985 selected Cosbionat Laboratory to produce his famous preparations. Cosbionat is located in the beautiful Loire Valley of France, on the fringes of the Vendômoise forest.  The laboratory was originally founded in 1981 by Marie-Thé Tiphaigne and her late husband Jackie Tiphaigne, who had followed Dr. Valnet’s teachings for 13 years.Dr. Valnet continued to review and update his rearch until his death in 1995, after which the Tiphaigne’s continued to market his exclusive line of essential oils. Following the passing of her husband, Marie-Thé Tiphaigne still continues the work begun by Dr. Valnet.  The oils are carefully sourced from long-time organic growers across five continents and steam distilled at low pressure. Citrus oils are cold pressed.  Each batch is then tested against certified benchmarks for gas chromatagraphy, density, optical rotation, refractive index, and sensory testing of color, smell, and taste.  Additional tests are conducted for environmental contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

 

 

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
 
© 2016, Brenda L. Tippin.  Please do not copy without permission

		
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The Real Story of René-Maurice Gattefossé – Essential Oils During the Past Century Part II

Many who have tried to have find information online about essential oils may have heard something about René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist who used lavender essential oil when he suffered severe burns in his lab.  As has been pointed out by Robert Tisserand, who edited the English version of Gattefossé’s book, the story has become somewhat embellished on may blogs and websites from the original version given by Gattefossé himself, though true in the main points.  A few other details have been mentioned, such as the fact that Gattefossé was the first to use the word “aromatherapy” and wrote a book about it.  Yet most accounts seldom explore the matter further.

Who was René-Maurice Gattefossé, and why did he have lavender essential oil in his lab? Born in 1881 in Lyon, France, he was the third child born to Louis Gattefossé, who founded Gattefossé Establishments in 1880.  The business of Gattefossé Establishments was to produce essential oils, petroleum oils, raw materials for making perfumes, and other drugstore products.  Thus René-Maurice had spent literally his whole life immersed in a world of essential oils and fragrances.  As his older brothers joined the family business, he was soon to follow, attending the University of Lyon and obtaining his degree in chemical engineering.

An older brother, Robert, who had studied mechanical engineering, was deeply involved in the research of essential oils, devoting special study to the aromatic plants of southern France and the island of Corsica, where he had completed a term of military service.  He provided his observations to his brothers, which was instrumental in influencing René-Maurice and another brother, Jean, who was a botanist and chemist.

In 1907, when René-Maurice was 26, Louis Gattefossé retired from the business and the brothers took over, forming a partnership with their mother called Gattefossé & Sons. René-Maurice’s oldest brother Abel managed the administration and trade aspects of the business while the other brothers continued to research aromatic plants, their chemistry and various properties.  Later that year, the President of Agricultural Unions Southeast requested René-Maurice to research the production of in  Haute-Province, as picking wild lavender was not able to produce sufficient quantities to meet the demand. He was asked to launch a series of conferences and begin calculating the value of lavender cultivation and begin organizing plantations and distilleries.  The campaign was very successful, increasing both the quality and prices of lavender, and boosting the Gattefossé business due to improved conditions for local families and workers.   It was during this time René-Maurice learned to isolate the aromatic molecules of the essences and also first began to realize the therapeutic properties of lavender.

The brothers established a European journal of perfumery in 1908 called “La Perfumerie Moderne” of which René-Maurice was editor in chief.  It was quite popular and translated into several languages. 1910 was an eventful year in which Louis Gattefossé died.  In the earlier part of 1910 René-Maurice spent time traveling to other parts of Europe to investigate the distillation of other aromatic plants.  The company also expanded its trade to Indonesia, China, and Japan.  On July 25, 1910, the day his son Henri-Marcel was born, René-Maurice was working in his lab when an explosion occurred.  Of this he wrote, “In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, both my hands were covered with a rapidly developing gas gangrene.  Just one rinse with lavender essence stopped the ‘gasification of the tissue’.  This treatment was followed by profuse sweating and healing began the next day.” Gattefossé’s Aromatherapy, 1937.

Gas gangrene is a potentially life threatening medical emergency which may cause death within 48 hours.  It is most often caused by the bacteria Clostridium perfringens, which can infect a wound or injury.  The onset of infection occurs quite suddenly and generally spreads so rapidly that drastic changes may be observed in the skin within just a few minutes.

Meanwhile, Robert Gattefossé had also married, and welcomed the birth of his son Abel, named after his oldest brother when World War I broke out in July 1914.  He had to rejoin his command in the Eastern Marshes.  René-Maurice, despite being very near-sighted, served also and was assigned to the 109th Territorial Infantry as a motorcyclist.  He was the first of the brothers to be wounded in 1915 at the front in Artois and was sent home to support the war effort as a chemical engineer.  He was also able to resume is post as editor in chief of La Perfumerie Moderne.  Abel was killed in action in 1916.  Robert after a year and a half of service in most unhealthy districts, developed swamp fever and a serious liver condition.  He spent almost two years in various hospitals being treated, continuing to work on his writing and authoring an important work, Perfumery Throughout the Centuries.   Robert did not recover, however, and died from his war caused illnesses in 1918, leaving his younger brothers to carry on his research as well as their own.  René-Maurice and his younger brother Jean published an article in the Chemist and Druggist,  and reprinted in The  National Druggist, Vol 52, January 1922 discussing “The Medicinal Use of Essential Oils”.

Over the next several years, the Gattefossé company continued to diversify, adding product lines for cosmetics, synthetic perfumes, insecticides, veterinary dressings, and more.  In addition to this work, René-Maurice continued to write books and articles on the therapeutic uses of essential oils, attracting several doctors to collaborate in this research.  It was at some point during these years that he first began using the word “aromatherapy”, which was a new concept in the use of essential oils.  His son Henri-Marcel, joined the company in 1932, having also studied chemical engineering. The Gattefossé company began forging relationships with physicians, developing pharmaceuticals as well as cosmetics and personal care products.

René-Maurice published his classic work Aromathérapie in 1937 which was the culmination of his essential oils research, and included clinical observations by several doctors.  He wrote a second edition of this work in 1942, but it was never published as antibiotics had gained prominence by that time.  In the late 1940s he purchased some property near St. Denis, intending to cultivate such aromatic plants as rosemary, thyme, and lavender, creating a botanical garden for the distillation of pure essential oils with no pesticides.  His last book, Formulary of Perfumery and Cosmetology was first published in 1950, not long before his death. René-Maurice died suddenly in 1950, while visiting his brother Jean in Casablanca, Morocco.   His son Henri-Marcel kept the Gattefossé business which still continues today as a family run company with a presence in 60 countries around the world.  Next – Part III will look at essential oils in the United States and the little known role of the U.S. Government in essential oil research and production.

To  learn more about different therapeutic grade essential oils and how they may help support a healthy lifestyle, please visit The Oil Well.

For more information on the leading essential oil companies, their history, testing, and quality standards, check out the 45 page Young Living/DoTerra report.

If this information has been helpful, you may make a small donation to help defray the costs of research.  Thank you!

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and this information is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.