A random discovery by
René-Maurice Gattefossé?

Contrary to what we have learned in the aromatherapy literature, René-Maurice Gattefossé did not discover the healing properties of Lavender oil purely by chance. The French chemist was already aware of some of the healing properties of Lavender when his skin was scalded by a burning liquid after an explosion in his laboratory. He tried to put the fire out by rolling himself on the grass. His hands, however, were already covered with infectious gangrene. Gattefossé already knew at the time that natural Lavender essence had a medical benefit and therefore tried to treat his burnt hands with 100% natural Lavender oil. After a very short time he discovered that the Lavender oil stopped the Gangrene. This incident intensified his interest in effects and treatment with essential oils. 

The doctor Jean Valnet knew the research findings of Gattefossé and made use of them as a paramedic during WWII when there weren't sufficient medicines available. He used essential oils to disinfect and heal wounds. This was so successful that he continued to use Aromatherapy and he later trained several doctors in that field. He also published his findings in books which substantially contributed to the spread of Aromatherapy. His students Marguerite Maury and Micheline Arcier introduced Aromatherapy to England.