Book Review: Essential Oils – A Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice 2nd Edition

EOs J. Rhind

Essential Oils – A Handbook for Aromatherapy  Practice 2nd Edition    by Jennifer Rhind

I must admit to the fact that I feel I’ve known this book for a long time and have watched it blossom into this wonderful publication. I first saw it some years ago in its draft stager Rhind  when Sue Jenkins, who was then a fellow IFPA council member and work colleague of Jennifer’s, brought it to the IFPA conference to see if therapists and students would be interested in buying a copy. It obviously past this test. Soon it appeared on my Amazon recommendations list and I purchased a copy that has now become one of my ‘go to’ books and is very well thumbed. On seeing that a 2nd version (revised edition) had been released I went through the ‘do I need it?’ ponderings. This however didn’t take long and I can  honestly say I’m glad I bought it.

The preface sets the scene and conjures up wonderful pictures of childhood and aromas. After reading this and talking to other aromatherapists, I am con-vinced that we are destined from an early age to  enter this love affair with scents and aromas, tempting us deeper into a world where there is definitely no return.

This 2nd edition has essentially doubled in size from the first one. It is divided into three sections. The first supplies the essential knowledge of aromatherapy. The second focuses on blending essential oils, going into detail about the various styles and methods. The third and final section provides profiles of not just ‘true’ essential oils but also resinoids and absolutes.

I loved the fact that, in the history section, Jennifer left out the ‘ancient history’ and focused on the ‘recent history,’ bringing to life authors that are           respected and cherished as pioneers and evolutionaries of this aromatic discipline.

The second section on the approaches to creating an essential oil synergy gave me food for thought about how I approach blending essential oils and creating blends. The author starts with the concepts of synergy and antagonism, expanding this out to cover the concepts of blending essential oils, whilst covering perfumery, the five elements, Ayurvedic theories, and the chakras. Since reading this section, I have fallen down the ‘aromatic rabbit hole’ and spent hours playing with blends and using different principles in my blending and then comparing the results.

The third section may become the ‘go to’ section. It covers plant taxonomy, anatomy, and classification. Each family and genus are documented along with uses and relevant substantiating evidence. Absolutes and resinoids are covered in their own chapter.

A glossary is included at the back of the book along with extensive appendices, references, and suggestions for further reading.

My only criticism is that while many hours have been spent researching and adding information in this new edition to confirm and substantiate the text, it is not possible to read and evaluate it yourself unless you have access to a university library or pay a hefty on-line subscription.

This book is sure to become one of the classic  aromatherapy texts. It is an affordable, accessible book that I will be using myself, recommending to others, and using with my students.

Published by Singing Dragon                                                                                                           ISBN: 978-1-84819-089-4   List price: $35.00

Review by Anita James, SPdipA, MIFPA, Cert Ed.

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