Book review: Authentic Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Blends for Health, Beauty and Home

Authentic Aromatherapy book cover

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Sharon Falsetto
256
20cm (H) x 14.5cm (W)
7.8" (H) x 5.7" (W)
2014
Paperback, Hardcover, Kindle
Here at Amazon

What the book is about

Authentic Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Blends for Health, Beauty and Home provides thorough explanations on how to use forty popular essential oils.

The book also goes into detail about essential oils, such as their use in the ancient world, their chemical compositions, the use by specific groups of people such as women, babies and children.

What the book contains

This book consists of three parts, with several chapters in each part. There is also a list of recommended resources and an index.

Part 1

Part 1 (The Basics of Essential Oils) has 10 chapters.

Chapter 1 (Brief History of Scents and Use of Healing Plants) describes how plants are used for healing purposes in ancient China, India, Egypt, Greece and Rome. It’s an interesting read on how the different countries had used the healing power of plants.

The chapter ends with a couple of pages on how aromatherapy has evolved to its modern-day uses.

Chapters 2 to 4 (Essential Oils vs Fragrance Oils, Organic vs Non-Organic Oils and Hydrosols, Resins, Absolutes, Carrier Oils) delves into the meaning of various terms that we often come across. The book gets a little technical sometimes but it’s still quite easy to understand even for a non-technical beginner… so far.

Chapter 5 (Extraction of Essential Oils) describes why and how plants produce the essences that ultimately become the essential oils we know, and how people extract them.

Chapter 6 (Quality of Essential Oils) discusses what the factors are that affect the quality of essential oils, and how and why essential oils are sometimes adulterated (it’s usually, but not always, to lower costs).

This chapter also describes, in quite a bit of detail, on how essential oils are tested in quality checks. A chemistry-inclined reader will find this section quite interesting, though for the rest of us, it may take some effort to understand.

The earlier chapters get technical sometimes, but Chapters 7 (Basic Chemistry of Essential Oils) and 8 (Species and Chemotypes) are even more so. These chapters delve into the various chemical components of essential oils such as terpenes, esters, phenols etc., describe how plants are classified by family, genus and species, and explain what chemotypes are and why they are important.

Definitely interesting reading, but be warned – it can be too much for the non-techy reader.

Chapters 9 and 10 (Endangered Essential Oils and Home Distillation of Essential Oils) contain interesting information that I don’t often see in other books. Just for this reason alone, these chapters are worth a read.

Certainly, environmentally-conscious users will want to know which plants are in danger of extinction, and perhaps look for other plants/ essential oils to use instead. And for the do-it-yourselfers out there, you’ll enjoy the chapter on how to distil your own essential oils!

Part 2

Part 2 contains another ten chapters on how essential oils work and how to use them.

Chapter 11 (Cautions and Tips for Using Essential Oils) provides general cautions as well as cautions specific to certain groups of people. Examples are pregnant women, children and people with medical conditions.

This chapter also gives recommended dilution rates and very high-level guidelines on how to blend essential oils.

Chapters 12 and 13 (How Essential Oils Work and Ways to Use Essential Oils) describe how essential oils can be used, which are inhalation, topical application and ingestion.

Chapters 14 to 20 go into more detail on how essential oils are used for the following purposes or by the following groups of people (each purpose/ group has one chapter of its own): Body Care, Health, Women, Babies and Children, Home, Travel and lastly, other situations such as during exercise, at work or for pets.

Rather than give specific recipes, these chapters more often list several essential oils that are suitable for each purpose, group or situation. It then leaves the reader free to create his or her own formulations. This is definitely quite a different approach from the book I reviewed earlier here.

Part 3

Part 3 (Essential Oils Reference Guide) lists 40 essential oils in alphabetical order.

Each oil has about two pages of information, which includes: botanical name, family, note, method of extraction, where the plant is found, how the plant looks like, main characteristics, chemical components and therapeutic properties, how the oil is usually used, cautions and approximate cost ranges.

Others

The section on Recommended Resources is also worth a mention. It lists six vendors from whom you can buy your oils and supplies from.

And in fact, the vendor listed for essential oils is the author of this book! Yes, Sharon Falsetto sells custom blends essential oils at Sedona Aromatherapie (www.sedonaaromatherapie.com). Other than her, the other five vendors supply carrier oils, bases, candles and home distillation kits.

My thoughts on the pros

1. This book is especially suitable for beginners who don’t mind some occasional technical terms or experienced users who want to know more about the technical aspects of aromatherapy. There’re chapters on the chemical composition of essential oils, plant families and species, and even information on the kinds of quality tests that essential oils undergo.

2. It also has pretty interesting chapters that I don’t often see in other books. For instance, the chapters on endangered essential oils and the distillation of essential oils at home.

3. It has dedicated chapters for specific groups of users or purposes.

4. Overall, the book offers more flexibility for the creative beginner or the experienced user. There’re not many recipes that specify exactly which essential oils and bases to use, how many drops of oil to use etc. Instead, most recipes recommend certain essential oils, outline the general process and leave it to the reader to get creative on the details.

My thoughts on the cons

1. The book covers 40 essential oils. This is plenty for most users, but still, there’re other guidebooks out there that cover more oils.

2. The book could be too technical for some people, especially those whose eyes glaze over if they see a lot of chemical names and terms.

3. Recipes leave room for the readers to exercise their creativity and experiment for themselves. This is a pro, but can also be a con for beginners who want full and explicit instructions to jump right in, at once. In short, you do have to read more of the other chapters of the book before using the recipes.

Summary and Recommended for

Authentic Aromatherapy has interesting and unusual chapters on essential oils and aromatherapy, which aren’t usually covered in other books. It also offers plenty of solid and in-depth information on regular topics.

The book does get pretty technical in a couple of the chapters, so those of you whose eyes glaze over at the first whiff of scientific terms and Latin names may find those chapters less appealing.

Conclusion: An interesting, fairly detailed book that is suitable for the technically-inclined beginner or experienced user.

Think this book is right for you? Get it here at Amazon.

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