The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, & Well-Being (Anglais) Broché – 1 mai 2013
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It IS an "encyclopedia": it contains the descriptions of 190 + EO (= essential oils), probably the most you'll ever see compiled in a single book.
They are arranged by alphabetical order, and the entries include a detailed description of the plant & of the oil, its geographic distribution, etc.
It also includes extensive botanical, chemical and safety data. They even include traditional uses of the plant from which the EO in question is extracted. (This, by the way, is not at all necessary - or even particularly useful - information, since EO can be extracted from parts of plants different to those that are used in traditional medicine.)
All this information would be fine (if slightly superfluous) - if the data concerning the specific properties of the EO discussed had been more extensive.
Of course Lawless duly lists all the actions (such as antipyretic, fungicidal, sedative, etc.) and "aromatherapy/home" uses. But the latter are listed in a "telegraphic" way that doesn't really appear to make any distinctions between the specific benefits of each EO. Of course many oils have very similar effects. But "similar" does not equal "the same".
A typical "Aromatherapy/Home Use" rubric (in this case, for spikenard) looks like this:
SKIN CARE: Allergies, inflammation, mature skin, rashes etc.
NERVOUS SYSTEM: Insomnia, nervous indigestion, migraine, stress and tenson.
OTHER USES: Little used these days, usually as substitute for valerian oil.
First of all, what is meant by "etc."?
Those already familiar with the EO in question would know - but those who aren't probably wouldn't.
In this particular case, BTW, the data also fail to mention the cardiotonic properties of the plant, which makes the OTHER USES rubric incomplete. (And by the way: I, for one, use spikenard A LOT!)
Surprisingly, the HERBAL/FOLK TRADITION also fails to mention its restorative effect on hair colour.
And this is just an example, picked at random.
I am really, really not nit-picking, and I hope my writing doesn't come across that way. I think Lawless' book is an extremely useful primer - and, yes, an "encyclopaedia", in a concise sort of way - that absolutely should find a place on the shelves of anyone interested in aromatherapy. There is no question about that. This book is 100% recommended. It is a very good introduction for beginners, and a very useful quick-reference book for those who already are experienced EO users.
I just find that it has perhaps too many general (somewhat superfluous) data on the one hand, and too little (specific) information on the other. I think it would be a very good idea to extend the "Herbal/Folk Tradition" and "Aromatherapy/Home Use" rubrics, to include perhaps some more anecdotal information (duly labeled as such) and somewhat more elaborate indications for the specific uses of each oil.
Then this book would truly become the unsurpassed treasure of aromatherapy data that it should be.
Chapter 1 Historical Roots
Chapter 2 Aromatherapy and Herbalism
Chapter 3 The Body Actions and Applications
Chapter 4 How to Use Essential Oils and Home
Chapter 5 Creative Blending
Chapter 6 A Guide to Aromatic Materials
Part 2: The Oils
--Over 160 essential oils discussed which includes its common name, synonyms, general description, distribution, other species, herbal folk tradition, actions, extraction, characteristics, principal constituents, safety data, aromatherapy/home use and other uses
At the end of the book, it includes a few useful addresses, including phone numbers where you can contact for more infomation about essential oils
This book also includes a therapeutic index which is a guide of abbreviate terms in 10 categories which are suggested appilications of essential oils mentioned in the book. You can use essential oils for skin care; circulation, muscles, and joints; respiratory sytem; digestive system; gentio-urinary aand endocrine system; immune system; and nervos system
Includes a general glossary and a section on botanical classification
1. The fact that I have a now vast and still growing library of books on Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (Including from authors like Worwood, Cooksley, Schnaubelt and Tisserand) yet I now find myself reaching for this one more than some of these other authors.
2. The negative reviews of others.
I guess my expectations were different. While it is an Encyclopeia which should make it a valuble reference source, I feel it does what an Encyclopeia should do and what is standard for that type of reference - that is it covers a lot of information on a broad range of items that you can look up (in this case essential oils) and does a good job giving you the necessary background and basic information that you would need to get a good understanding of what it is you looked up. (Not be a master at that topic because that would result in something far more extensive and a very weighty book when covering so many oils.) Despite being concise and to the point Lawless still manages to give you a snap shot of each oil with information on 13 topics for each of the over 165 oils listed (one review said over 190 but not sure where that number came from, I counted something around 168, still quite a list!).
The only thing I will say is that she is along the lines of Cooksley and Worwood where I sometimes feel like they are overly cautious. I believe in being responsible and informed with use but I prefer authors like Schnaubelt that don't discount an oil due to one study that was done once by someone and recorded and therefore it is now considered toxic, without looking at how the study was done and what factors were involved, if constituents of the oil were isolated, etc. However, if you are new to EOs than it is best to error on the more restricted use just to be safe.
I will not list the chapters in the introductory Part 1 as another reviewer already covered. But in Part 2 "The Oils", each oil is listed with its botanical name and then given the following information in the following order:
GENERAL DESCRIPTION (Of the plant)
CHARACTERISTICS (Of the oils, scent, appearance, etc.)
PRINCIPAL CONSTITUENTS (Chemistry snapshot)
This is what the majority of the book IS (just like an encyclopedia would be) and I believe it does a good job doing what it is designed to do. The fact that it is only missing about 3 of my favorite oils (probably because they are newer, i.e. Rhododendron, Palo Santo, etc.) and lists so many others, it truely is a nicely organized and very handy and useful reference.
It is easy to find the information you need and quickly. Despite the lack of "color" complaints by other reviewers, I still found it one of the more attractive aromatherapy books. It is well laid out, in nice print, and has some lovely black and white illustrations. The book is actualy more attractive than some of the other more well know ones and I think I reach for it more often now because I don't have to wade through many reciepes and a ton of other chapters to get to hunt for the part that just profiles the oils themselves. (Other information is good, all of the recepies, uses on animals, household cleaners, etc. just not what I am looking for when I am grabbing an encyclopedia to give the basic background and profile.)
ALSO - The Therapeutic Index in the back along with the General Glossary that defines the medical terms addressed in the book (and address in several others, but are not defined in a lot of other books) for those who do not have a health science background proves very useful. There is also a rather extensive Botanical Classification and a good Botantical Index in the very back.
So I will be getting the newer Illustraded version eventually but not out of dissapointment for this one, if anything because I was so impressed with the layout and information that exceeded my expectaions of this author that I took a chance on. (Getting a good used copy of this edition will allow those pinching pennies to add a great reference book to their Aromatherapy library.)