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The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy

Book Cover for Complete Book Of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition by Valerie Ann Worwood

The Complete Book Of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition
Author: Valerie Ann Worwood
Publisher: New World Library
Copyright: 2016
ISBN: 1577311396 / 978-1577311393
Pages: 684

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Fully updated and now containing over 800 recipes and 125 essential oil profiles, The 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy is an incredible resource for everyone who wants to use essential oils effectively.

The original 1991 edition of Valerie Ann Worwood's The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy was the first book I purchased pertaining to essential oils or aromatherapy. I am grateful to Valerie Ann Worwood as the original 1991 edition helped me begin to properly incorporate aromatherapy into my lifestyle. This, in turn, lead to my growing personal and professional interest in the field of aromatherapy.

It is now 25 years since the publication of that original edition, and I'm feeling nostalgic and am excited that Valerie Ann Worwood has significantly updated it to now include expanded content, some safety information, 125 essential oil profiles and 200 additional recipes.

Even if you already own and love the original edition of the book, you may find it worth purchasing a copy of the new 25th edition as much of the content has been significantly updated. For comparison, the new 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy is approximately 250 pages longer than the original, and the book page width is about 1" wider. It's quite a hefty paperback.

I love Valerie Ann Worwood's knowledgeable yet friendly and easy-to-understand writing style. I also like that she integrates essential oil and aromatherapy suggestions with other complementary suggestions relevant to each of the topics that she covers. I found this approach especially helpful when first reading her original version of this publication, and I continue to find this approach to be valuable.

Below are a few of the areas the book covers and my comments about them.

Essential Oil Safety

The new 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy now includes a Safety Information chapter. However, the Safety Information chapter is only 3 pages long, and it appears as the very last chapter of the book. Using essential oils shouldn't be something any of us should be fearful of, but essential oil safety is important. So, the chapter appearing as the last chapter of the book weirds me out a bit.

However, Valerie Ann Worwood does integrate relevant safety information into each of the covered topics throughout the book, and each of the 125 essential oil profiles contains a "Precautionary Advice" section with safety and contraindication information.

The safety information presented within the book is very helpful, but it should not be considered complete.

For example, the Cooking with Essential Oils chapter is a wonderful opportunity to share practical and safe information on the subject, but I do wish that the opportunity was taken to ensure that readers fully understand some key basics regarding the differences between essential oils used sparingly for culinary use and ingestion. More safety information would be prudent out of care and concern for readers who sometimes may draw drastic and unsafe conclusions.

Essential Oil Profiles

The 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy includes 125 brief essential oil profiles to this edition. Each essential oil profile averages approximately 1/2 page and includes these sections:

  • Type of Plant
  • Part Used
  • Method of Extraction
  • Data (An overview of the botanical and oil)
  • Principal Places of Production
  • When Buying Look For (Discusses Color and Aroma)
  • Therapeutic Properties
  • Therapeutic Uses
  • Blends Well With
  • Precautionary Advice

It also includes a detailed, quick reference multi-page table that includes the following information:

  • Common Name
  • Botanical Name
  • Therapeutic Uses
  • Therapeutic Properties
  • Precautionary Advice

Carrier Oil Information and Profiles

The importance of carrier oil selection and the properties of carrier oils are sometimes overlooked within aromatherapy guides. I am pleased that this edition contains 37 carrier oil profiles. Although each is very brief and averages about 1/4 page, it's nice that they are included for convenience. I wish the "Contains" section include the specific fatty acids typically present in the carrier.

Hydrolats (Hydrosols)

Worwood includes a small yet helpful Hydrolat (Hydrosol) section that introduces what hydrosols are and the importance of careful sourcing. Included are 26 very brief hydrosol profiles. Within the Fragrant Way to Beauty chapter, Worwood includes 3 helpful hydrosol tables: Hydrolats for Facial Skin Care, Hydrolats and Their Uses in Skin Care and Skin Conditions.

Topical Chapters and Recipes

Each of the topical chapters (the table of contents is shown below) begins with a helpful introduction and overview of the topic (and as applicable, each subcategory within a chapter also contains an introduction and overview). Integrated within each of the topical chapters are numerous relevant recipes and essential oil blends. The updated 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy now contains over 800 recipes. However, I know I'm not alone in wishing that she would elaborate a bit on her rationale for selecting the oils that she includes in each recipe. (Now that I type that, I feel hypocritical and realize that I haven't always elaborated on my rationale either when I share recipes on AromaWeb, and will try to do a better job of that in the future.)

Essential Oil Chemistry

Essential oil chemistry is addressed within the 3-page Appendix entitled The Chemistry of Essential Oils. It provides a nice, easy-to-understand introduction to essential oil chemistry and includes a table covering the properties for each of the functional groups. This table is pretty handy and few books do offer a general table of functional group properties. However, I'm not spotting any areas of the book that cover essential oil constituents or what functional groups they belong to. The essential oil profiles section doesn't list them either. Therefore, the reader can't easily identify how the functional groups (labeled as phytochemical groups) apply to particular essential oils or their constituents without utilizing other resources.

Review Summary

The 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy does lack elaboration in some areas. Despite the word "complete" in its title, it's just not possible for any aromatherapy or essential oil book to truly be complete.

Having said that, the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy is indeed dramatically expanded, and it is a pleasure to read and learn from. I am confident that it will prove to be of significant benefit to many beginning and intermediate aromatherapy students and essential oil enthusiasts.

Description, From the Back Cover

Completely updated, the best book on the topic available anywhere has just gotten better!

A necessary resource for anyone interested in alternative approaches to healing and lifestyle, this new edition contains more than 800 easy-to-follow recipes for essential oil treatments. No one has provided more thorough and accurate guidance to the home practitioner or professional aromatherapist than Valerie Ann Worwood.

In her clear and positive voice, Worwood provides tools to address a huge variety of health issues, including specific advice for children, women, men, and seniors. Other sections cover self-defense against microbes and contaminants, emotional challenges, care for the home and workplace, and applications for athletes, dancers, travelers, cooks, gardeners, and animal lovers. Worwood also offers us her expertise in the use of essential oils in beauty and spa treatments, plus profiles of 125 essential oils, 37 carrier oils, and more.

Since the publication of the first edition of this book 25 years ago, the positive impact of essential oil use has become increasingly recognized, as scientific researchers throughout the world have explored essential oils and their constituents for their unique properties and uses.

About the Author, From the Back Cover

Valerie Ann Worwood is a consultant clinical aromatherapist with a doctorate in complementary medicine, and the author of eight books. She has been Chairperson and Chair of Research for the International Federation of Aromatherapists, and as well as her involvement in essential oil research, she has acted as a consultant and expert on the clinical use of essential oils internationally.

Table of Contents for The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition

  • List of Tables
  • Preface
  • Introduction: The Fragrant Pharmacy
  • Chapter 1. Medicines Out of the Earth
  • Chapter 2. The Basic Care Kit
  • Chapter 3. The Self-Defense Kit
  • Chapter 4. Occupational Oils for the Working Man and Woman
  • Chapter 5. Emotional Rescue
  • Chapter 6. The Basic Travel Kit
  • Chapter 7. The Gentle Touch for Babies, Children and Teenagers
  • Chapter 8. A Woman's Natural Choice
  • Chapter 9. The Natural Choice for Men
  • Chapter 10. Essential Help in the Maturing Years
  • Chapter 11. Assertive Oils for Sports, Dance, and Exercise
  • Chapter 12. Major Health Concerns
  • Chapter 13. The Fragrant Way to Beauty
  • Chapter 14. The Home Spa - Body Beautiful
  • Chapter 15. Fragrant Care for Your Home
  • Chapter 16. Cooking with Essential Oils
  • Chapter 17. Natural Health for Animals
  • Chapter 18. Gardens for the Future
  • Chapter 19. Carrier Oils and Hydrolats
  • Chapter 20. The Essential Oils and Absolutes
  • Chapter 21. Safety Information
  • Appendix 1. The Chemistry of Essential Oils
  • Appendix 2. Glossary of Therapeutic Properties
  • Acknowledgments
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Author

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The book descriptions/reviews that appear on AromaWeb are not able to describe all possible errors, ommissions or safety issues that may be present in a book. While I strive to do my best in objectively assessing each book that is included on AromaWeb, I am not able to investigate or evaluate every statement included in each of the books. Neither AromaWeb, LLC nor its founder take responsibility for how you use the information provided. It is recommended that you conduct thorough research via multiple sources before making a book purchasing decision or relying upon or implementing any of the statements or recommendations contained within any book that you purchase.

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