I get asked for aromatherapy book recommendations all the time. And I do mean all. the. time. Most people want one book that will magically give them everything they want. So do I, buuuttt… that book doesn’t exist. And that’s actually a good thing.
There’s Not “One Book To Rule Them All”
Just like in Lord of the Rings, having one ring or one book to rule them all is a dangerous proposition. What if knowledge changes but the author of the One Book refuses to edit or rewrite The Book? What if the knowledge in the One Book is incomplete? What if it’s based on the author’s biases? These things happen ALL the time in the publishing world, regardless of subject. Besides, with the hundreds, possibly thousands of essential oils out there, do you have any idea how big the One Book would have to be (or how small a font they’d have to use) to fit them all in? For those reasons it’s best to have several references.
To that end, here are my top 5 picks:
Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand – This needs to be the first book that you get. Tisserand is THE expert on safety. It’s one of the few things that the various educated aromatherapy camps can agree on.
The Directory of Essential Oils by Wanda Sellar – This book profiles just a small selection of oils but it gives information on the origin of each oil as well as its effects on body, mind, and spirit. There’s a handy glossary at the back that defines all the weird words used to describe an essential oil’s effects, just in case you don’t speak fluent aromatherapy. It’s more complete than most glossaries because each entry is followed by oils that are known for that particular effect. It also has a blending chart and a chart of essential oils for each skin type.
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood – This book is organized differently than many of my other favorites, but the information it contains is nonetheless just as great. There are chapters on basic oils to have, women’s issues, men’s issues, pet issues, uses in the home, oils for athletes, oils for the office, and so much more. In the back are tons of charts to put all the info into a super useful, easy-to-find-things format.
Aromatherapy an A – Z by Patricia Davis – This awesome book lists everything alphabetically so information is easy to find. Want to find an oil to calm your test anxiety? Just look up anxiety in the A section. Want to know more about Melissa essential oil? Look in the M’s. The back of this book is chock full of handy charts of hazardous essential oils (but doesn’t tell you why they’re hazardous, like the Tisserand book does), the major properties of essential oils, some recipes, and recommendations for other books. I love it when authors recommend other books!
Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit by Gabriel Moray – There is something for everyone in this book. I mean, seriously, we all have some healing of our spirit to do. But the book offers way more than that. For those into the Eastern or more esoteric healing arts there are chapters on yin & yang, the five elements, and astrology. For those who take a more Western approach in their treatment of dis-ease there’s a whole section devoted to restoring balance when specific conditions or symptoms are present. And of course there’s the section profiling 40 essential oils. PS: Gabriel Moray is a highly respected aromatherapist, herbalist, and acupuncturist. His lectures sell out well in advance. PPS: In case that’s not enough, Robert Tisserand (Remember, THE safety expert) wrote the forward to this book.
I could go on and on about these books but you’ll either take my word on their usefulness or you won’t. Some of them are a bit pricey, but they’re worth every penny. If you want to start slowly, see if your local library has any of them. Libraries are a perfect way to try it before you buy it. You can also look for them in your local used book shops, where you’ll be able to get them for quite a discount off the cover price while supporting a local business.
Do you have a favorite aromatherapy book that didn’t make my list? Let me know in the comments below. (Who knows, I may not have read it yet. There are a LOT of aromatherapy books out there, you know.)
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