Best Audience: Herbalists and Aromatherapists who want to delve deeper into their understanding of how essential oils work from a therapeutic standpoint
I love essential oils and aromatherapy. I’ve been frustrated and discouraged by the plethora of books on these topics that barely scratch the surface. More often that not, those authors ask me to either just trust them (offering no scientific or other basis for their assertions) or they dissect the topics with constituent after constituent and offer no real connection to how to use essential oils to improve life and wellness. I was hoping for so much more when I picked up Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles by Peter Holmes.
And, Holmes delivered. He begins with a solid grounding in the history of essential oil use, covering the various therapeutic approaches our elders have used and how those evolved into modern usage. In the material medica, he covers 30 basic essential oils, including information on the origins and adulteration potential, aromatherapy uses, and energetic profile of each. He does a particularly wonderful job of illustrating how each essential oil fits into the Traditional Chinese Medicine paradigm, something no other essential oil book I’ve run across yet does well.
I loved the suggestions for synergies, or pairings with other essential oils, in part because Holmes offers an understandable explanation for how each might work therapeutically and what symptoms or signs might point to that pairing. I also loved his remarks, which often include a description of the psychology or mood that calls for the essential oil in question. For folks who have a solid grounding in traditional diagnostic techniques, such as pulse diagnosis, tongue diagnosis, and observation as employed by traditional herbalists and practioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles by Peter Holmes is likely to be a valuable reference.
My sole frustration is that this is volume 1 in a two volume series. I wanted to dive into the second volume as soon as I was done with the first but had to wait. Still, if the second volume lives up to the standard Holmes sent for his first, I expect it’ll be worth the wait.
Bottom Line: Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.
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