I am going to slowly build this page. There should be lots more to recommend, given the sheer number of books on aromatherapy for sale, but many of them are full of false information, herbal cures mistakenly applied to essential oils, and poor or missing references.
The book should have:
a table of contents,
history of essential oil use and aromatherapy,
botanic and common names,
country of origin,
method of extraction,
methods of usage,
NOT confuse herbal usage with EO usage,
have simple recommendations for usage (no garbage pail dump,
e.g., cures acne, alopecia, cancer, prostate trouble, etc.),
and, most importantly, in my opinion,
REFERENCE, in any common manner*,
ANY CLAIMS TO VALID STUDIES CITED IN THE BIBLIOGRAPHY.
* e.g., number system, e.g., 1,2,3, (1), after claims, and tie that number to a specific publication,
( Smith, 1) or name of author (Smith, 1976), or footnotes at the bottom of the page linked to the text, etc.
Three simple, often-ignored basic reputable referencing methods often lost on the authors of fairy tales.
It's really not that hard,
folks, but I am shocked at all the AT books that state blithely
"palmarosa oil is effective against viruses' (Schnaubelt, Advanced Aromatherapy, p. 80). My citation of Schnaubelt seems too much for Schnaubelt to accomplish, as he just states the anti-viral fact WITH NO REFERENCES. Sheesh. His entire book is like that, a lot of in-virto info extrapolated to in vivo, sentence after sentence stating one outlandish 'cure' after another WITH NO REFERENCES.
Now here's the odd part: in the first few chapters of his book, when he does cite and reference studies, he's writing in a responsible manner. Then, when he moves on to individual oils, any semblance of professionalism breaks down. It seems he is proving his thesis that EOs do work (although, again, many of his cited studies are in vitro, which does nothing to prove in vivo efficacy), then takes flights of fancy when it comes to using the oils.
My criteria, as a published
writer and journalist and land planner (all of which require I submit to
copy editors and fact-checkers stringent criteria for citations)
is so basic to be simplistic. That said, I may, in my review of books,
or my links to others' review of books, let some poorly-cited ones slip
through because (in the case of others' reviews) I may not have seen the
book, e.g.., Martin Watt's review of Buckle's book on my bad books page.)
Martin doesn't mention the referencing, he concentrates on the errors in
chemistry and application, bad science, etc.
GOOD BOOKS -- LET THE LIST GROW AND GROW (PLEASE!)
Watt, Martin, Plant Aromatics Manual
(self-published) 2001. Available in the States from av-at.com, in the UK and Europe from aromamedical.com
In -depth referenced report and quick reference charts covering skin irritation, skin sensitization, photosensitization, toxicity and other safety issues. This book wil not teach you what oil to use for what ailment. What it will teach you is that essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that need to be handled with respect. Respect for the fact they may cause irritation, sensitization, and other physical complaints if used improperly. Some should not be used at all, even though many aromatherapy schools and book say they are OK. Martin's references are impeccible, albeit, my one sore point, missing from the text itself in Section 1, General Effects on the Skin. He redeems himself, however, in Section 2, Adverse Effects on the Skin Aromatic Plant Extracts. In this section, the reader can see the background for the assertions in Section 1.
Here, each essential oil is fully cited and referenced. You will use this Manual, I believe, by using the quick reference charts in Section 1 to look up a particular oil, then, flip to Section 2 for a more in-depth explanation and the ability to look up the references yourself. Both Sections are exhaustive in their detailed explanations of all aspects of essential oil usage.
Some of the topics covered are: irritation, sensitization, systemic sensitization, photosensitization, reactions to individual chemicals, testing for adverse effects and misc. statistics, skin absorption, accidents with oils, sensitizing oils and cross sensitization.
If you are studying aromatherapy (and Martin now offers a course), are a practicing aromatherapist, or a layperson interested in exploring the oils, you should have this manual.
Wildwood, Chrissie, The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy. 1996 Healing Arts Press. Very well written and illustrated. Ms. Wildwood seems to have a good grounding in basic medical procedures, and that knowledge shows in her writing. I like her giving the herbal remedies alongside with the aromatherapy ones, but often, I think, she attributes the herbal actions to the essential oils, and I do not agree with that.
Some of her beliefs are very New Age, and unproven, some
are very scientific and accurate (the general description of the oils,
minus the listings of the herbal cures, confused with the AT. For the money,
and the information, this book is very good, with coverage of all the body
systems, and, heck, how can you not like a book that has 'aromatherapy
and your furniture' as a subject?
Please visit her website, which is full of good information, and strong environmental research:
Chrissie Wildwood - Author and Freelance Health Writer
Williams, David, The Chemistry of Essential Oils. ISBN 1-870228-12-X Published by Micelle Press, 10-12 Ullswater Crescent, Weymouth, Dorset DT3 5HE, England http://www.wdi.co.uk/micelle (Thanks to the IDMA list member who provided me with this publishing and contact information.)
. This is recommended by one of my advisors. To quote:
" It leaves out all the rubbish about what the effects of individual chemicals
are on the body." That is succinct and enough for anyone interested in
the chemistry of EOs. The IDMA list member added: "Agree with yer advisor
about the Williams book.... BTW...it could be heavy going for someone without
background.....even if you have a science background, but not steeped in chemistry in certain sections."
Here is a list of books recommended by Martin Watt on the aromatherapy group "Aromatherapy for Everyone" in April, 2004:
>What would be the best aromatherapy books to add to ones collection?
There are very few AT books that I have any respect for.
that I do, most of the books written by Daniel Ryman are pretty good.
I recommend Chrissie Wildwood 'Bloomsbury Encyclopedia
A good basic starter is 'The Essential oils book' by Coleen Dodt.
Even in these though there are properties attributed to
oils that are based on herbal medicines, but at least these authors
tried to do the background research rather than just copying from
Gattefosse's Aromatherapy is an excellent historical work
1937 republished by C.W.Daniel and Co. ISBN. 0-85207-236-3. However,
you need to be aware that he mostly used deterpenated oils not whole
ones as many AT writers assume.
If you want accurate referenced information on essential
the fairy tails it is available via myself or via Butch.
For those with this desperate need to live in a fantasy
can buy any of the rest of this trades novels. In that respect
people should stop and think why it is that the biggest selling books
in the world are novels or semi novels. It is lovely to be able to
escape reality by being told that if you rub a bit of lemon oil over
your liver that it will cure your gallstones, boy I wish! Those
people who write well researched technical books do it for the love
of what they are writing about, not money. That applies to all good
technical works of any kind.
The list below is for those who are prepared to pay for
information resources. Many more good techical works can be added to
PERFUME AND FLAVOUR MATERIALS OF NATURAL ORIGIN by Steffen Arctander. Available from allured Press, USA.
ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF COMMON NATURAL INGREDIENTS. ISBN 0-471-50826-8
POTTER'S NEW CYCLOPAEDIA OF BOTANICAL DRUGS AND PREPARATIONS. ISBN 0-85207-1973
THE BRITISH PHARMACEUTICAL CODEX 1934, or old US PHARMACOPOEIAS.
ADVERSE EFFECTS OF HERBAL DRUGS vol. I & 2 by De Smet. ISBN 3-540-55800-4
TEXT BOOK OF PHARMACOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS 1901 by W. Hale-White M.D. F.R.C.P.
A MODERN HERBAL by Mrs M.Grieve. Various publishers.
CHINESE HERBAL REMEDIES 1984 by A. LEUNG.
THE ESSENTIAL OlLS by E. GUENTHER. Publ. Van Nostrand. New York.
BOTANICAL DERMATOLOGY 1979 by Mitchell and Rook . (out of print)
ADVERSE REACTIONS TO COSMETICS by Anton de Groot. ISBN 90-900-2597-9
SCENTED FLORA OF THE WORLD by R. Genders, Publ. Mayflower.
STURTEVANT'S EDIBLE PLANTS OF THE WORLD 1919 republished 1972 by Dover.
THE CHEMISTRY OF ESSENTIAL OILS BY DAVID WILLIAMS. ISBN 1-870228-12-X
AROMATIC PLANTS AND ESSENTIAL CONSTITUENTS. ISBN 962-238-112-X