Trova il tuo prossimo libro preferito

Abbonati oggi e leggi gratis per 30 giorni
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments

Leggi anteprima

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments

5/5 (8 valutazioni)
2,013 pagine
18 ore
Oct 15, 2016


Looking for books on essential oils?

Completely updated essential oils book:
 The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy might be the best aromatherapy book available anywhere. And, it just got better!

If you liked Modern Essentials, you’ll love this essential oils favorite: The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded is a necessary resource for anyone interested in alternative approaches to healing and lifestyle. This new edition contains more than 800 easy-to-follow recipes for essential oil treatments from Valerie Ann Worwood, a consultant and expert on the clinical uses of essential oils internationally.

Explore the multitude of benefits of essential oils and aromatherapy: In her clear and positive voice, Worwood provides tools to address a variety of health issues, including specific advice for children, women, men, and seniors. This aromatheraphy book also covers self-defense against microbes and contaminants, emotional challenges, care for the home and workplace, and applications for athletes, dancers, travelers, cooks, gardeners, and animal lovers. Worwood also offers us her expertise in the use of essential oils in beauty and spa treatments, plus profiles of 125 essential oils, 37 carrier oils, and more.

An essential oils book classic for 25 years: Since the publication of the first edition of this book 25 years ago, the positive impact of essential oil use has become increasingly recognized, as scientific researchers throughout the world have explored essential oils and their constituents for their unique properties and uses.
Oct 15, 2016

Informazioni sull'autore

Valerie Ann Worwood is a consultant clinical aromatherapist with a doctorate in complementary medicine, and the author of eight books. She has been Chairperson and Chair of Research for the International Federation of Aromatherapists, and as well as her involvement in essential oil research, she has acted as a consultant and expert on the clinical use of essential oils internationally.

Correlato a The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded

Libri correlati
Articoli correlati

Dentro il libro

Top citazioni

  • We’ve evolved together. We can’t think of plants as inferior to us, because while they can live without us, we can’t live without them. That’s the relationship between us. So turning to plants for help is like turning to our extended family.

  • One drop. And that’s another thing with essential oils: less is sometimes more. There’s no need to apply the “more is best” principle. That’s not the case with essential oils. They’re way more subtle than that!

  • CHAPPED LIPS Apply to the lips: BASIC CARE KIT BLEND Chamomile roman 2 drops Geranium 2 drops Mix well with 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of aloe vera gel or basic balm. Use a small amount for each application.

  • The interaction of particular essential oils with each other gives a vi- brancy and dynamism to the whole that might not be achieved by using a single essential oil on its own.

  • First, add 1 drop of essential oil to 2 teaspoons of water and mix well. From this mix, take a ½ teaspoon and drop it into a bowl of steaming water, placed on the floor in a corner of the room, away from baby’s head.

Anteprima del libro

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded - Valerie Ann Worwood

The Complete Book

of Essential Oils and


Also by Valerie Ann Worwood

The Fragrant Mind:

Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood, and Emotion

Aromatherapy for the Soul:

Healing the Spirit with Fragrance and Essential Oils

Essential Aromatherapy:

A Pocket Guide to Essential Oils and Aromatherapy

The Endometriosis Natural Treatment Program:

A Complete Self-Help Plan for Improving Health and Well-Being

Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child:

More Than 300 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Essential Oil Blends

Scents and Scentuality:

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Romance, Love, and Sex

Aromatherapy for the Beauty Therapist

Copyright © 1991, 2016 by Valerie Ann Worwood

All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, or other — without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

First published in the United Kingdom by Macmillan London Limited, 1990. First published in the United States by New World Library, 1991.

Text design and typography by Tona Pearce Myers and Megan Colman

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Worwood, Valerie Ann, [date]– author.

Title: The complete book of essential oils and aromatherapy : over 800 natural, nontoxic, and fragrant recipes to create health, beauty, and safe home and work environments / Valerie Ann Worwood.

Description: Revised and updated [edition]. | Novato, California : New World Library, [2016] | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2016031708 | ISBN 9781577311393 (paperback) | ISBN 9781608684267 (ebook)

Subjects: LCSH: Aromatherapy. | BISAC: HEALTH & FITNESS / Aromatherapy. | HEALTH & FITNESS / Reference. | REFERENCE / Handbooks & Manuals. | BODY, MIND & SPIRIT / Healing / General.

Classification: LCC RM666.A68 W67 2016 | DDC 615.3/219--dc23

LC record available at

First printing of revised edition, November 2016

ISBN 978-1-57731-139-3

Ebook ISBN 978-1-60868-426-7

Printed in Canada


For my mum — Vera Marion Howdown Worwood — who taught me the true value of unconditional love, and for my daughter Emma, who uplifts my heart.

The material in this book is intended for education and general interest and is not intended or implied to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed medical practitioner. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, no expressed or implied guarantee as to the effects of the suggestions can be given nor should be taken either now or in the future. Information may change over time as further research and clinical data become available. Any application of information set forth in this book is at the reader’s sole discretion and risk and is beyond the author’s and publisher’s control. The author and publisher assume no responsibility for any action taken and disclaim any liability for damages arising directly or indirectly either now or in the future.


List of Tables


Introduction: The Fragrant Pharmacy

Chapter 1. Medicines Out of the Earth

We’re All Individuals

Essential Oils — Not So New




The Timeless Apothecary

Quality Control

Quantities to Use and Blending

Conversion Charts

Table 1. Dilution Guide

Methods of Use

Table 2. Essential Oil Methods of Use: An A–Z Guide

Table 3. Special Situations to Consider

Environmental Issues

Chapter 2. The Basic Care Kit

The Basic Care Kit Oils

Lavender • Geranium • Thyme Linalol • Chamomile Roman • Rosemary • Peppermint • Cardamom • Lemon • Eucalyptus Radiata • Tea Tree

The Basic Care Kit Applications: An A–Z Guide

Abdominal Pain • Abrasions • Abscesses • Anal Fissures • Athlete’s Foot • Bilious Attacks • Black Eyes • Bleeding • Blepharitis • Blisters • Boils • Bruises • Bumps (Accidental) • Burns • Catarrh • Chapped Lips • Chapped Skin • Chilblains • Cold Sores / Fever Blisters • Common Cold • Conjunctivitis • Constipation • Convalescence • Coughs • Cuts and Wounds • Dental Abscess • Diarrhea • Diverticulosis • Earache and Ear Infections • Fainting • Fevers • Fibrositis • Frostbite • Frozen Shoulder • Grazes • Hay Fever • Headaches • Heartburn • Hiccups • Influenza • Insect Bites • Laryngitis • Lumbago • Nettle Rash • Neuralgia • Palpitations • Scalds • Shock • Sinusitis • Sore Throats • Splinters • Sties • Synovitis • Whitlows

Chapter 3. The Self-Defense Kit

The Self-Defense Kit

10 Self-Defense Kit Essential Oils: Eucalyptus Radiata • Ho Wood • Lavender • Manuka • May Chang • Niaouli • Oregano • Palmarosa • Ravensara • Thyme Linalol

Table 4. Guidelines to the Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Properties of Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils to Help Protect Against Bacterial and Viral Infections

Environmental Methods • Physical Methods

Bacterial Infection

MRSA • Helicobacter Pylori

Viral Infection

General Antiviral Blends • Flu-Like Symptoms • HSV-1 • HSV-2 • Postviral Recovery

Broad-Spectrum Antimicrobial Room Sprays, Baths, Gel, and Body Oils

Fungal Infections

Essential Oils for Fungal Infections

Hospitals and Nursing Homes

Environmental Cleansing • The Bed • Cuts and Scratches • Bathing • The Nose • Urinary Tract Infections • Infections of the Digestive System • Respiratory System Infections

Chapter 4. Occupational Oils for the Working Man and Woman

Essential Oils for the Workplace Environment

The Office • The Industrial Workplace • The Hospital • The Land

Visual Stress and Screen Stress

Interviews and Exams

Self-Hypnosis for Relaxation

The Whole Brain


Electrical Burns • Corrosive Burns

The Back: Aches and Pains

Repetitive Strain Syndrome

Tenosynovitis • Tendinitis • Ganglion • Writer’s Cramp • Tennis Elbow • Bursitis • Torticollis (Cervical Dystonia)

The Workaholic Heart

Stress at Work (Environmental Stress, Chemical Stress, Physical Stress, Mental Stress, Emotional Stress)

Table 5. Levels of Stress

Table 6. Stress Level 2 Blends

Table 7. Stress Levels 1 and 3 Blends

Stress Management at Work • Performance Stress • Burnout

Chapter 5. Emotional Rescue

Essential Oils for Emotional Problems

Emotional Stress (The Emotional Stress Kit, Stress Levels, Essential Oils to Help Alleviate Emotional Stress, Women in Stress, Stress Management) • Anxiety (General, Tense, Restless, Apprehensive, Repressed) • Depression (General, Weepy, Agitated or Anxious, Lethargic, Hysterical) • Moodiness and Mood Swings • Trauma • Bereavement

Essential Oils for Life Enhancement

Mindfulness • Positivity • Confidence • Concentration • Self-Esteem • Assertiveness • Happiness

Chapter 6. The Basic Travel Kit

The Journey

The Arrival

The Gap Year...or Weekend! — Mini Travel Kit

A Home Away from Home

The Sun

The Heat


Traveler’s Tummy

Little Things That Bite

Prevention • Bites and Stings: General Action (Animals, Insects, Snakes, Fish and Marine Animals)



The A–Z Basic Travel Kit Emergency Reference Chart

Chapter 7. The Gentle Touch for Babies, Children, and Teenagers

The Successful Child

Enhanced Memory for Exam Success • School Stress • Exam Stress • To Help Sleep • A Good Foundation

Essential Oils for Babies and Children

Table 8. Oils for Children by Age

Newborn Babies

The Umbilical Cord • Baby’s Skin • Cradle Cap • Other Early Problems

Babies from 3 to 12 Months

Baby Massage • Diaper Rash • Colic • Fretfulness • Sickness and Vomiting • Sleeping • Teething • Colds and Coughs

Children’s Health

Cuts, Grazes, Bruises, and Burns • Insomnia • Colds and Flu • Aches and Pains • Fevers • Impetigo • Constipation • Diarrhea • Tonsillitis • Sore Throats • Ears • Bronchitis • Childhood Asthma • Allergies • Migraine • Mumps • Measles • Rubella (German Measles) • Chicken Pox (Varicella) • Whooping Cough (Pertussis) • Verrucas (Plantar Warts) and Other Warts • Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis) • Ringworm • Pinworms • Head Lice

The Teenage Years

Skin Problems • Drug Abuse

Children with Special Challenges

Spina Bifida • Paralysis • Atrophy • Muscular Dystrophy (MD) • Spasticity • Cerebral Palsy • Pressure Sores • Diabetes Mellitus (DM) • Down Syndrome • Arthritis • Visual Impairment • Club Foot • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD and ADD)

Chapter 8. A Woman’s Natural Choice

Pressure to Be Perfect

Breast Care

Sore Breasts • Breast Abscess • Fibrocystic Breast Conditions


Ovarian Cysts

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Uterine Prolapse

Varicose Veins

Raynaud’s Disease

Menstrual Problems

Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder • Dysmenorrhea • Menorrhagia • Amenorrhea


Blends and Essential Oils for: Hot Flashes • Fluid Retention • Exhaustion/Fatigue • Depression • Aches and Pains • Anxiety • Digestive Problems • Sleeplessness

Pelvic Pain

Pelvic Venous Congestion Syndrome • Endometriosis

Thrush (Candida Albicans)

Vaginal Infections and Inflammation

Nonspecific Vaginitis or Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) • Vaginal Gardnerella • Atrophic Vaginitis • Leukorrhea


Essential Oils • Body Blends

Miscarriage and Preterm Delivery


Pregnancy Essential Oils • Problems in Pregnancy (Morning Sickness, Nausea, Stretch Marks, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Varicose Veins, Cramps, Edema, Exhaustion)

Preparing for the Birth

The Delivery Room • Delivery Room Essential Oil Profiles • Massage • Inhalation • Hydrolat Body Sprays

Postnatal Care

Infection • Care of the Breasts (Nipple and Breast Soreness, Breast Abscesses, Mastitis) • Postnatal Depression

Chapter 9. The Natural Choice for Men


Androgen Decline in the Aging Male (ADAM)

Sexual Vigor


The Reproductive System

Pains and Sores • Abrasions • Inflammation • Balanitis • Hydroceles • Orchitis • Prostatitis • Intertrigo • Varicocele

Other Problems

Foot Odor • Jock Itch • Candida/Thrush • Pruritus Ani • Hemorrhoids

The Liver


Hair Loss



Chapter 10. Essential Help in the Maturing Years

High Blood Pressure


Swollen Ankles and Feet

Leg Cramps

Varicose Veins

Leg Ulcers

Pressure Sores


Breathing Difficulties



Occasional Loss of Memory

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Table 9. Essential Oils for Complications of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Parkinson’s Disease



Nutritional Changes • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) • Osteoarthritis (OA) • Maintenance Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Other Skeletal Disorders


Dyspepsia (Indigestion)




Care of the Feet

Nails and Nail Beds

Chapter 11. Assertive Oils for Sports, Dance, and Exercise

Sport, Dance, and the Mind

Stress • Increased Physical Performance • Fatigue


Foot Care


Methods of Treating Injury

Cold • Heat • P.R.I.C.E. • Massage • Massage Oils • Compresses • Cabbage Leaf • Clay Poultice

A–Z of Sports and Dance Injuries

Abdominal Wall Strain • Achilles Tendinitis • Ankle and Heel Contusion • Ankle Sprain • Arm Strain • Back: Prolapsed or Herniated Disk • Back: General Strain • Breast Contusion • Buttock Contusion • Chest Muscle Strain • Elbow Contusion • Elbow: Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) • Elbow Sprain • Face Contusion • Finger Sprain • Foot Bursitis • Foot Contusion • Foot Ganglion (Synovial Cyst) • Groin Strain • Hand Contusion • Hand Ganglion • Hands and Arms: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome • Head Injury • Hip Strain • Knee: Cartilage Injury • Knee Synovitis (Water on the Knee) • Leg Sprain (Lower Leg) • Leg Strain (Lower Calf Muscles) • Neck Sprain or Strain • Nose Injury • Shoulder Strain or Sprain • Thigh Injury: Hamstrings • Wrist Ganglion • Wrist Sprain

Sports, Dance, Home, and Recreational Facilities

Showers • Saunas • Jacuzzis and Hot Tubs • Locker Rooms and Changing Rooms

Chapter 12. Major Health Concerns


Research into Essential Oils and Cancer • Essential Oil Use and Cancer • Nutrition • Caring for the Mind and Emotions (Relaxation, Well-Being, Insomnia) • Symptoms and Side Effects (Infection Control, Pain Relief, Aching Muscles, Constipation, Fatigue, Headaches, Indigestion, Nausea, Neuralgia, Skin Care, Respiratory Distress, Lymphedema) • Male and Female Reproductive Issues • Massage and Cancer • Palliative Care (Fragrance, Massage, The Family, The Spiritual Connection)

Heart Issues

Heart Care • Atheroma and Arteriosclerosis


Table 10. Essential Oils for Stroke Rehabilitation (Essential Oils for Strength, Muscles, Inflammation, Digestive Problems, Circulation, Emotions)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Multiple Sclerosis

Muscular Fatigue • Muscular Pain • Loss of Sensitivity • Exhaustion

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Muscular Fatigue • Insomnia • Depression • Loss of Memory

Chapter 13. The Fragrant Way to Beauty


Exfoliants and Face Polishes

Face Masks

Facial Steaming

Facial Sprays and Tonics


Skin Care Oils

Wrinkles and the Aging Skin

Skin-Enhancing Oil Extracts for Use in Face Oils: Acai Berry • Blackberry Seed • Black Raspberry Seed • Blueberry Seed • Borage Seed • Chia Seed • Cranberry Seed • Cucumber Seed • Evening Primrose Seed • Gotu Kola • Hemp Seed • Olive Squalane • Pomegranate Seed • Red Raspberry Seed • Rosehip Seed • Sea Buckthorn Berry • Strawberry Seed

Problem Skin

The Neck

The Eyes

Table 11. Essential Oils for Facial Skin Care

Hydrolats and Beauty

Table 12. Hydrolats for Facial Skin Care

Table 13. Hydrolats and Their Uses in Skin Care

Table 14. Hydrolats in the Treatment of Skin Conditions

Hair Care

Shampoos • Rinses • Plant Oils for Hair Care • Normal Hair • Dry Hair • Oily Hair • Fragile Hair • Afro-Textured Hair • Falling Hair • Hair Loss and Alopecia • Dandruff • Eczema and Psoriasis of the Scalp

Chapter 14. The Home Spa — Body Beautiful

Body Polishes and Scrubs

Body Masks (Clays, Other Body Mask Ingredients)

Body Lotions

Body Butters and Balms

Body Splashes and Spritzers

Baths and Bubbles

Prebath Body Oils

Deodorizing Body Oils

Dieters’ Essential Helpmates






Table 15: Beauty Body Oils

Table 16: Toning/Slimming Oils

Chapter 15. Fragrant Care for Your Home

Air Fresheners or Bespoke Perfume Designs?


Microbe Busters

The Kitchen

The Utility Room

The Living Room

The Bedroom

The Bathroom

Insects and Other Unwanted Visitors

Making a Mark in a New Home

Parties and Celebrations

Essential Oils for Parties and Celebrations • Celebrations • Christmas • Easter • Spiritual Occasions • Saint Valentine’s Day • Halloween • Creating Your Own Aromatic Traditions

Making Gifts

Perfumed Pillows and Sachets • Fragranced Wood • Potpourris • Fragrant Papier-Mâché • Spicy Beads • Bookmarks • Papers and Ink • Cards • Making Your Own Soaps • Fragrant Candles

Making Your Own Perfumes and Eau de Cologne

Table 17: Ratio of Essential Oils to Diluent in Fragrances

Equipment • Perfumery Notes • Accords • Examples of Perfume Notes • Feminine Notes • Masculine Notes • Making Eau de Cologne

Making Your Own Essential Oil Waters and Hydrolats

Essential Oil Waters • Making Hydrolats

Chapter 16. Cooking with Essential Oils

Aromatic and Flavored Oils and Vinegars


Butters, Spreads, and Cheeses

Savory Sauces





Lemon or Orange Pepper




Bread and Pastry

Flower and Herb Syrups

Aromatic Petals

Fragrant Flower Jams


Bircher Muesli

Nut Milks



Party Punches

Hangover Help

Chapter 17. Natural Health for Animals

Methods of Use for Animals

First Aid Kit for Animals

Sprays for Animals

Calming • Antiseptic • Making an Essential Oil Water

Aromatherapy for Dogs

Fleas and Ticks • Shampooing • Minor Cuts and Grazes • Coughs, Colds, and Flu • Arthritis and Rheumatism • Earwax • Doggie Breath • Diet

Aromatherapy for Cats

Treating Cat Ailments • Skin Conditions • Abscesses • Canker • Fleas



Guinea Pigs


Moving Horses • Worms • Flies • Hoof Rot • Stall Wash • Leg Problems • Nervousness and Stress

Small-Scale Farming

Keeping Insects Away • Keeping Rodents Away • Sheep • Cows, Bulls, and Calves • Bees

Chapter 18. Gardens for the Future

Using Essential Oils in the Garden

Table 18. The Natural Insect Repellents

Methods of Using Essential Oils in the Garden

Sprays • Essential Oil Teas • String • Hanging Strips • Cotton Balls • Cartons

Plant Teas

Slugs and Birds

Mold and Mildew

The Friendly Bunch

Table 19. Vegetables’ Good Companions

Table 20. Fruits’ Good Companions

Nature’s Nursemaids

Table 21. The Unfriendly Neighbors

Weed Control

Trees and Fruits

Flowers and Indoor Plants


Getting the Best from the Soil

Chapter 19. Carrier Oils and Hydrolats

Carrier Oils

Vegetable, Carrier, and Base Oils — What’s the Difference? • Blending Carrier Oils • Body and Facial Carrier Oil Blends • The Importance of Quality • The Importance of Using Pure, Organic, Natural Plant Oils

Main Carrier Oils

Almond • Apricot Kernel • Argan • Camelina • Camellia Seed • Coconut • Grapeseed • Hazelnut • Hemp Seed • Jojoba • Kukui • Macadamia Nut • Meadowfoam Seed • Moringa • Peach Kernel • Rice Bran • Safflower • Sunflower • Walnut

Oils That Could Be Used as a Percentage of the Main Carrier

Avocado • Borage Seed • Evening Primrose Seed • Neem • Olive • Olive Squalane • Sesame Seed • Wheatgerm

Specialist Oils

Blackcurrant Seed • Passion Flower Seed • Rosehip Seed • Sea Buckthorn • Tamanu

Macerated/Infused Oils

Arnica • Calendula • Carrot Root • Monoi • St. John’s Wort


Cocoa • Shea


Hydrolat Methods of Use

Examples of Some Hydrolats and Their General Applications

Aniseed • Basil • Calendula • Chamomile German • Chamomile Roman • Cornflower • Eucalyptus Radiata • Fennel (Sweet) • Geranium • Ginger • Juniper Berry • Lavender • Lemon Balm • Lemon Verbena • Linden Blossom (Lime Tree Flowers) • Marjoram (Sweet) • Orange Blossom (Neroli) • Oregano • Peppermint • Pine • Rose • Rosemary • Sage • Spearmint • Thyme • Witch Hazel

Chapter 20. The Essential Oils and Absolutes

Table 22. Quick Reference Chart

The Essential Oil Profiles

Amyris • Angelica Root • Angelica Seed • Aniseed • Balsam de Peru • Basil, Sweet • Basil Linalol • Basil Tulsi • Bay, West Indian • Bay Laurel • Benzoin • Bergamot • Birch, Sweet • Black Pepper • Cajuput • Camphor, White • Cananga • Caraway Seed • Cardamom • Carnation • Carrot Seed • Cedarwood, Virginia • Cedarwood Atlas • Celery Seed • Chamomile German • Chamomile Maroc (Ormenis Flower) • Chamomile Roman • Cinnamon Leaf • Cistus (Labdanum/Rockrose) • Citronella • Clary Sage • Clove Bud • Copaiba • Coriander Seed • Cypress • Damiana • Davana • Dill Seed • Elemi • Eucalyptus Globulus (Blue Gum) • Eucalyptus Lemon • Eucalyptus Peppermint • Eucalyptus Radiata • Fennel, Sweet • Fir, Silver • Fragonia • Frankincense • Galbanum • Geranium • Geranium, Bulgarian (Zdravetz) • Ginger • Ginger Lily Root • Grapefruit • Greenland Moss (Labrador Tea) • Hop • Ho Wood • Hyssop Decumbens • Immortelle (Italian Everlasting/Helichrysum) • Jasmine • Juniper Berry • Lavandin • Lavender • Lavender, Spike • Lemon • Lemongrass • Lemon Verbena • Lime • Linden Blossom • Magnolia Flower • Mandarin • Manuka • Marjoram, Sweet • Mastic • May Chang • Melissa • Mimosa • Myrrh • Myrtle • Narcissus • Neem (Margosa Oil) • Neroli • Niaouli • Nutmeg • Orange, Sweet • Oregano • Oregano, Greek • Palmarosa • Patchouli • Peppermint • Petitgrain • Pimento Berry • Pine • Plai • Ravensara • Ravintsara • Rosalina (Swamp Paperbark) • Rose Absolute (Rose de Mai) • Rosemary • Rose Otto (Bulgarian Rose/Turkish Rose) • Rosewood (Bois de Rose) • Sage • Sage, Greek • Sandalwood • Sandalwood, Pacific • Saro (Mandravasarotra) • Savory, Summer • Savory, Winter • Spearmint • Spikenard • Spruce • Spruce, Black • Tagetes • Tangerine • Tarragon • Tea Tree • Thyme Linalol • Tuberose • Turmeric • Valerian • Vanilla • Vetiver • Violet Leaf • Yarrow • Ylang Ylang • Yuzu

Chapter 21. Safety Information

Skin Irritation

Allergic Reaction




Pregnancy and Lactation

Essential Oils to Be Avoided

Appendix 1. The Chemistry of Essential Oils

Table 23. Phytochemicals in Essential Oils

Appendix 2. Glossary of Therapeutic Properties




About the Author


Table 1. Dilution Guide

Table 2. Essential Oil Methods of Use: An A–Z Guide

Table 3. Special Situations to Consider

Table 4. Guidelines to the Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Properties of Essential Oils

Table 5. Levels of Stress

Table 6. Stress Level 2 Blends

Table 7. Stress Levels 1 and 3 Blends

Table 8. Oils for Children by Age

Table 9. Essential Oils for Complications of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Table 10. Essential Oils for Stroke Rehabilitation

Table 11. Essential Oils for Facial Skin Care

Table 12. Hydrolats for Facial Skin Care

Table 13. Hydrolats and Their Uses in Skin Care

Table 14. Hydrolats in the Treatment of Skin Conditions

Table 15. Beauty Body Oils

Table 16. Toning/Slimming Oils

Table 17. Ratio of Essential Oils to Diluent in Fragrances

Table 18. The Natural Insect Repellents

Table 19. Vegetables’ Good Companions

Table 20. Fruits’ Good Companions

Table 21. The Unfriendly Neighbors

Table 22. Quick Reference Chart

Table 23. Phytochemicals in Essential Oils


Botanicals have always been part of my life. As a young child I tended to my own patch of earth in my grandfather’s garden, and learned about the symbiotic relationships between plants by getting stung by stinging nettles and finding dock leaves to soothe the sting. I made perfumes out of fragranced petals and extracted juice from wild berries for my toys’ tea parties. My grandfather taught me the names of flowers and weeds, while my mother and grandmother taught me how to use herbs for medicine and cooking. My mother made her own remedies and used tried-and-tested herbals before any other medication. When my siblings and I were not feeling well, we’d be given clove oil for toothache, peppermint oil for stomachache, and a sugar cube with a little eucalyptus oil on it for a chesty cough. The pharmacy also supplied something called horse oil, a blend of wintergreen and birch oils, which Mum rubbed on our legs when we had growing pains. The aroma of essential oils permeated my childhood, along with the smell of delicious food made from fresh vegetables plucked from the garden.

When I worked in Europe and discovered the great healing powers of essential oils, I knew they would form my career path. As the number of my clients grew, so too did their questions and curiosity. I was writing down advice and instructions for them because information about how to use essential oils was simply not otherwise available. My mother noticed that I always seemed to be giving advice and suggested I write a book. That was over twenty-five years ago.

Throughout my career, and to the present day, I’ve been a hands-on practitioner. Although I lecture and research, what gives me the energy to continue is observing the interaction between essential oils and patients, and watching each individual’s healing journey. That’s the experience that lies at the root of this book, which is a synthesis of experience, practical research, and facts gained from original sources. Invitations to international conferences have given the opportunity to present my work and discuss developments with researchers in both the commercial and academic fields. Traveling as a consultant has offered the chance to visit essential oil producers both large and small. And giving workshops has enabled me to pass on the information gained to a new generation of essential oil therapists.

We’ve all come a long way, with essential oils now being used in general, maternity, and oncology hospital wards and in care homes, and being studied in research departments of universities. Aromatherapy has become a worldwide movement.

I’ve been humbled by the positive responses I’ve received to my books over the years and surprised at how many travelers have carried them in backpacks, along with a basic care kit of oils. Their stories describing how the essential oils have saved many a day have been encouraging. One nurse told me that my book, along with a few essential oils and a small number of medications, was the only help she had when working at a remote location in South Africa. Yet, with this limited resource, she’d managed to solve all manner of health issues and been able to fulfill her role.

It’s wonderful to be asked to sign a book that’s so dog-eared it’s falling to pieces, because it shows that the information in it has been well used. What makes the work worthwhile is to hear from mums and dads about how much essential oils have helped their families, or from a senior now using essential oils in his garden instead of insecticides, or the woman whose aches are relieved enough to allow her to dance a little again. I shall be eternally grateful that I’ve been able to spread the word about the amazing healing properties of essential oils, and their agent in the world — aromatherapy.

Introduction: The Fragrant Pharmacy

Nature has blessed us with a treasure trove of sweet-smelling liquid essences, gems with many facets. Hold one to the light and admire its antimicrobial features, turn it again and recognize its anti-inflammatory benefits, turn it again to see how it can positively affect mind, mood, and emotion. Each essential oil, like a prism, contains a rainbow of possibilities.

We cannot but admire the ability of essential oils to operate effectively not only on the biochemical, cellular, physical level, but also in the emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and aesthetic areas of our lives. They provide a system of healing that is in total harmony with people, who are themselves multifaceted. The essential oils have been examined, dissected, and subjected to innumerable analytic processes having to do with their chemistry, weight, light refraction, polarity, and electrical qualities. Science can tell us a great deal about them, but there’s still much that remains a mystery.

There’s nothing lightweight about essential oils. Although they are sweet smelling, they’re powerful. This is recognized by corporations and private institutions that quietly work in laboratories behind the scenes to establish which of the many properties of essential oils they could develop commercially. And they’re keeping the patent offices busy. But the benefits of essential oils are already available to you.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy offers a thoroughly comprehensive understanding of what essential oils can do in a multitude of different ways. I sincerely hope that this new updated edition will bring much positivity to a new generation of aromatherapy enthusiasts. As well as expanding all subject areas, this edition contains new chapters on self-defense against microbes, emotional rescue, and major health concerns, plus detailed profiles of over 180 essential oils, hydrolats, and carrier oils.

Essential oils are valuable in so many quite different ways that it’s hard to find a word or even an expression that fully describes what they can do. They are perhaps best known as a materia medica — a system of healing; but essential oils can also be used throughout the home and workplace to enhance well-being and lifestyle. And, as can be seen from the contents of this book, they offer unique assistance to athletes, dancers, travelers, gardeners, animal lovers, and cooks. As well as all this, essential oils are invaluable in beauty and spa treatments.

People who use essential oils on a regular basis say they can’t do without them. And newcomers to essential oils will wonder how they got along before. The effectiveness and versatility of essential oils are easy to incorporate into our lives because there are so many different methods of use. The fact that they smell good is just a bonus! There seems no end in sight to the benefits of essential oils, whether newly recognized in a lab or recently experienced in our own homes. As was the case with the first edition of this book, this 25th anniversary edition is intended for use by the home practitioner, as well as by those who are experienced in aromatherapy.

Essential oils may be part of humanity’s past, but they’re also part of humanity’s future. They are an eternal gift from nature, an ongoing adventure of marvels, a friend, a support, and one of the most valuable gifts nature has given us to enjoy.


Medicines Out of the Earth

The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.

— Ecclesiasticus 38:4

Essential oils provide us with a fragrant pharmacy full of remedies and delights for all aspects of our lives. This is an extraordinary fact. Already we know the earth provides us with food and water, but to realize as well that nature offers us a huge variety of plant essences capable of solving so many problems, and in addition giving us so much joy — well, that is something to rejoice in.

People have always found around them a number of plants that can heal — medicines out of the earth. But we live in a specially blessed time because we can look around the global village and take from around the world a huge variety of aromatic essential oils distilled from healing plants. This is new. We have a vast selection to choose from, never before available to humankind.

Essential oils are extracted from certain varieties of trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, roots, fruits, and flowers. The oil is concentrated in different parts of the plant. Vetiver oil is made from the roots of the grass species Vetiveria zizanoides; bay oil is extracted from the leaves of Laurus nobilis. Geranium oil comes from the plant’s leaves and stalks, cumin oil comes from the seeds, and ginger oil comes from the rhizomes, while rose oil comes from the fragrant petals of the rose flower. Myrrh, frankincense, and benzoin oils are extracted from the resin of their respective trees. Mandarin, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot oils are extracted from the peel of the fruits, and pine oil comes from the needles and twigs of pine trees, while sandalwood comes from the heartwood of the sandalwood tree.

If you were to look at lavender under a microscope, you’d see the smooth round glands that contain the essential oil, surrounded by a forest of spiky nonsecretory trichomes. Many varieties of plants have similar sessile secretory glands that appear as round, distinct units with a cuticle, or outer membrane, protecting a package of secretory cells. In other species of plants, the essential oil–producing glands look like microscopic stalks. In seeds, the essential oil is stored in vittae, little pockets on the outer surface. In orange and lemon, oil cavities are found in the outer portion of the peel. In clove, a multitude of endogenous oil glands lie just beneath the surface, while in frankincense, resin globules are released from oil ducts. In ginger, the essential oil is found in secretory cells of parenchyma tissue, while in cedarwood the secretory cells line resin ducts.

The oil is extracted from the plant by a variety of means, depending again on the particular species. The most common method is steam distillation; other methods include CO2 extraction, expression, enfleurage, maceration, and solvent extraction. There are hundreds of species of eucalyptus tree, but they’re not all used for the production of essential oils. Likewise, there are innumerable varieties of geranium, most of which are wholly unsuitable for essential oil extraction. Having said that, aromatherapy is a science that’s expanding. New plants are being distilled into essential oils, adding to our assets in the fragrant pharmacy.

Each oil has its own medicinal and other properties. Research has confirmed centuries of experience of using the plants from which essential oils are derived. We now know that the fragrant pharmacy contains essential oils that are antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antineuralgic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, antivenomous, antitoxic, antidepressant, sedative, nervine, analgesic, carminative, digestive, decongestive, expectorant, deodorant, restorative, circulatory, diuretic, vulnerary, and much more besides.

There is a wide range of methods of using essential oils for therapeutic purposes, including external application, inhalation, oral ingestion, and suppositories. Their small molecular size means essential oils can be absorbed extremely easily and quickly. Methods used externally include body oils, compresses, gels, lotions, and baths — including hand and foot baths. Inhalation methods include diffusers, room sprays, vaporizers, and a whole range of other environmental methods, as well as simply inhaling directly from the bottle or from a tissue. Although the food and drink and drug industries add essential oils to products that are ingested orally, they are seldom used this way for medicinal purposes in the home unless under the direction of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

The method of use that’s chosen will determine both the rate and extent of absorption. Other factors to consider include a person’s age, size, diet, and genetics. The rate of healing may differ too if a person has a metabolic disorder or a condition affecting the heart, liver, or kidneys.

Each essential oil has its own story to tell. In the case of jasmine, each flower is picked by hand on the very first day it opens, before the sun becomes hot, whereas the sandalwood tree could be thirty years old and thirty feet high before it’s considered ready for distillation. Between these two extremes, a whole range of growing and picking conditions apply to the plants that will ultimately provide the precious essential oils. The price of each oil reflects these conditions; because it takes around 4 million hand-picked jasmine blossoms to produce 1.1 pounds of oil, you can understand why that is one of the most expensive oils on the market. Rose otto essential oil is also costly because it takes around 4,500 pounds of rose flower heads to make 1 pound of oil, while lavender oil is cheaper because it takes only 150 pounds of flower heads to produce the same amount. Obviously, yields vary from location to location, and this too can affect prices.

The trade in essential oils is worldwide, with consignments passing between the United States, France, China, Brazil, Bulgaria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Réunion, Australia, Argentina, Israel, the United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, South Africa, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Guatemala, Egypt, Somalia, and Spain, among many other places!

On average, an essential oil contains 100 chemical components. The main components fall within broader groups, such as alcohols, esters, ketones, phenols, terpenes, and aldehydes. But each oil also has a number of smaller trace compounds that even today cannot be identified. It’s these mysterious compounds that distinguish essential oils from a simple collection of chemical constituents and gives them their complexity and unique properties. Think of it like this: the human body is 60% to 73% water, having a higher percentage at the obese end of the body mass spectrum — yet when we look in the mirror we don’t see a big puddle of water. Likewise, an essential oil could be 30% to 60% linalyl acetate, but that’s just the beginning of its story. Some essential oils have as many as 300 components, some as yet unidentified, and the idea that all the known phytochemicals could be put in a pot and made into that essential oil is as presumptuous as thinking a person can be reduced to a number of molecules, starting with the largest in terms of volume, water.

Essential oils are not complex just in terms of their chemistry. They have a whole range of interesting properties that together make them hugely vibrant. In terms of their electromagnetic frequency or vibrational signature, some have a higher megahertz reading than others. The electrical properties of essential oils are defined in terms of positive-negative and polarity. An aroma molecule might be negative and polar, negative and nonpolar, positive and polar, or positive and nonpolar. And even individual components have their own electrical characteristics. Some essential oils have optical activity and rotate light clockwise; some, counterclockwise — being dextrorotatory and levorotatory, respectively. Their components are crystalline in structure. Put all these things together alongside the body of a human being who also has these properties, and there can be a marriage of harmony and potential.

Essential oils are hugely versatile and also come in the most convenient form to exploit that versatility. A few drops of pure lavender oil applied to a minor burn effects the most remarkable cure as the skin returns to normal within days, whereas without it there could be a blistering patch and, eventually, a scar. You can return to the same small bottle when you have a headache — one drop rubbed on the temples often brings relief. And because lavender is a natural deterrent of mosquitoes and moths, among other insects, it can as easily be dabbed onto a ribbon and hung at the window to deter the former, or put on a cotton ball and placed in the wardrobe to deter the latter. The natural antibiotic and antiseptic qualities of lavender oil make it a highly effective wash for cuts and grazes and also a good addition to the wash water for cleaning tables, tiles, and floors. Its fresh aroma makes lavender a delight to use anywhere and any time, and it’s great to include in an air freshener. One little bottle, used with different methods, can attend to issues both physiological and environmental, and just because lavender can be used as an air freshener that’s not to say it wouldn’t be of huge benefit to burn units in hospitals. Indeed, I can’t think of anything that would be more appropriate to use as an air freshener in burn units! That’s the thing about essential oils — they can do more than one thing at a time.

Plants are chemical factories inhabiting the interface between light and dark, sun and earth, drawing energy from each and synthesizing this into molecules of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. They provide our food, and the food of the animals we eat. Plant cells are similar to ours in that they have membranes, DNA, and a range of organelles including Golgi bodies and mitochondria. We’re family. We’ve evolved together. We can’t think of plants as inferior to us, because while they can live without us, we can’t live without them. That’s the relationship between us. So turning to plants for help is like turning to our extended family.

We’re all increasingly aware of the number of synthetic chemicals in our lives today, whether we like them or not. They leach from carpets, flooring, and furniture. They’re in home cleaning products. They’re used in the production of food, in our public water systems, and in the products we put on our faces, hair, and bodies. They’re in the very air we breathe. It may seem that escape from this onslaught of synthetic chemicals is impossible. However, for some jobs around the home we can replace the usual shop-bought products with essential oils, and we can make our own entirely natural body, hair, and face products, perfumes, and air fresheners. We can use essential oils in the garden to encourage plant growth and protect our plants from insects. We can use these powerful natural essences on our bodies to alleviate all manner of physical problems, and we can use them for the well-being of our family and friends. You can see from the contents of this book that essential oils are useful and effective in a staggering variety of ways. And each time we use them, we avoid using synthetic chemicals in our lives because we’re lucky enough to have been given natural alternatives.

We have been given a huge gift from Mother Nature, and essential oils are something we can feel confident about using if we treat them with the respect they deserve. It might be easy to suppose that because they’re so sweet smelling, the value of essential oils is their charm. This would be a mistake. Scientists in labs all over the world are discovering that when they compare the effects of a complete essential oil to those of its main chemical constituents, the essential oils come out on top. They might smell sweet and lovely, but they’re potent and work very hard too.

We’re All Individuals

In this book, as in the first edition, I very often recommend for particular physical or mental conditions not only specific blends but alternative essential oils, for the very important reason that not everyone is the same. That sounds obvious, but when it comes to using essential oils, although a particular essential oil might suit most people, there are likely to be some for whom that particular essential oil is not so effective. This has nothing to do with the efficacy of that particular essential oil, and possibly has something to do with genetics. Scientists are now realizing that some pharmaceutical drugs simply do not work for everyone, and they’re increasingly researching the relationship between those drugs and the genes of these nonresponsive people. For example, a whole range of statin medicines have been examined for causing myotoxicity (a toxic effect on muscle) in some people, who appear to be having these symptoms because they have a certain genetic makeup. In the future, we may all have to accept the need for our medical records to include our full genetic profile. When using essential oils, don’t be disheartened if a particular oil isn’t as effective for you as it seems to be for others; simply choose another that has similar properties.

Essential Oils — Not So New

Don’t think there’s anything unusual about essential oils — they’ve been around a long time. The original recipe for Coca-Cola, invented by John Pemberton in 1886, included the essential oils of orange, lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, and neroli. Chewing gum would never have made it off the ground without peppermint and spearmint essential oils. Today, essential oils are widely used in the food and drink industry to give natural flavor and aroma, and they are also used as preservatives. Essential oil components are even put in packaging film to protect food from deterioration. Manufacturers of cosmetics have long appreciated the cell-rejuvenating and beautifying properties of essential oils, and no respectable spa treatment would be without them. Indeed, the essential oil ingredients in products are often their chief selling point. In the past, the entire perfume industry was based on essential oils, although, unfortunately, today they’ve largely been replaced by synthetic ingredients — which is perhaps why so many people have negative physical reactions to modern fragrance products.

Essential oils are truly holistic in that they affect mind, body, and spirit. The mood-enhancing properties of certain essential oils ensured their inclusion in old-style perfumes. Put simply, they made people feel better. Also aromatics have always been used in spiritual practice — think about the frankincense and myrrh resin burned in huge quantities in certain churches, with great plumes of aromatic smoke engulfing the congregation. Native Americans put fragrant sage and cedar on hot rocks in the sweat lodge for ritual purification and spiritual connection. At the coronation of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the essential oils of neroli, rose, cinnamon, jasmine, and benzoin were included in the coronation oil with which she was anointed, the act that set the seal of God’s approval.

Today there are around 300 essential oils easily available, but a well-chosen starting selection of around 10 essential oils will provide enough choice to meet the requirements of most home practitioners. Essential oils should be treated with respect, but also with confidence. Use your common sense, follow the instructions in this book, purchase with care and deliberation, and enjoy!


When the combination is more than the sum of the parts, there’s a synergistic effect. Mixing together two or more essential oils creates a compound that’s different from any of the component parts, and these blends can be very particular and powerful. A blend can increase potency without increasing the dosage. For example, the anti-inflammatory action of chamomile essential oil is greatly increased by adding lavender in the correct proportion. The interaction of particular essential oils with each other gives a vibrancy and dynamism to the whole that might not be achieved by using a single essential oil on its own.

The important point about synergistic blends is that the proportions should be correct, and sometimes it’s necessary to prepare more, in volume, than initially needed so that the smallest component oils can be incorporated into the whole in the right proportions. Diluted in a body oil, you may have a component part that is only 0.001% of the whole, and yet that minuscule amount is integral to the whole.

Throughout this book you’ll see there are instructions for making blends, and this is best done by mixing the essential oils in a separate bottle. You can use the exact number of drops shown, or multiply all the components in the formula by the same rate. In this way you get a larger volume of the synergistic blend for future use.


Several essential oils act as metabolic regulators. These adaptogens, as they’re called, will instigate a reaction in the body that is appropriate to achieving a state of homeostasis, or balance. The reactions affect the autonomic nervous system, the endocrine system, and blood pressure, among others. For example, lemon essential oil works on the autonomic nervous system, acting as a sedative when needed, or as a tonic. Peppermint is another oil that might be found on both relaxant and stimulant lists, and this apparent contradiction can cause confusion unless you understand that these are adaptogens. Interestingly, there are other natural products that fall into this group, including the herb mint and the root ginseng.


The same species of plant can produce essential oils with different chemical components when grown under different conditions, such as variations in soil type, climate, and altitude. For example, the common herb Thymus vulgaris produces several essential oils for medicinal use. Generally, thyme can be a skin irritant and should be used with care, but thyme linalol, which is usually grown at high altitudes, can be used safely in the blends mentioned in this book and is the only chemotype of thyme that can be used in the treatment of children. Because one species of oil-producing plant can break down into several chemotypes, each with different medical potentials, the list of useful plants is more extensive than first appearances might imply.

The Timeless Apothecary

The huge volume of scientific research being carried out all over the world today into the healing properties of essential oils is a revival of work carried out in Europe in the 1880s. The anti-contagious properties of distilled plants were of course hugely important when no antibiotics were available. Then, around the turn of the twentieth century, there was a change in attitude, dismissing all things old and becoming excited at all things new — including chemistry and new drugs. We have in a sense come full circle because we now recognize that the essential oils once dismissed as old-fashioned are, in some cases, more effective for certain conditions than even the newest of drugs. And all the essential oils are being revisited in the hope they can inspire the development of new pharmaceuticals.

In 1888 two doctors from Lyons, France, Célestin Cadéac and Albin Meunier, published a paper in the annals of the Pasteur Institute proving the antibacterial power of the essential oils of cinnamon, clove, and oregano. This was just a few years after another scientist had shown that thyme was, likewise, a powerful antibacterial agent. It’s interesting that these men should choose to work with these particular essential oils because we know today that they’re among the most powerful antibacterial agents around.

In Germany, essential oils were distilled by apothecaries for their medicinal use, as can be seen in the frontispiece of the 1557 herbal Kräuterbuch by doctor of medicine Adam Lonitzer. This work followed an older tradition. For example, Hieronymus Brunschwig’s first small book of distillation, published in 1500, was followed by his big book in 1519 — and that came out in 608 editions, being translated into every European language. The book contained a section advising which essential oils could be used to treat various illnesses, including lavender, rosemary, and pine. His own special recipe, no doubt a powerful one, was a combination of clove, cinnamon, mastic, and frankincense. Glove makers used aromatic oils, probably to prevent mold, and it’s reported that only they and others who used fragrant oils and herbs were guaranteed to survive the ravages of the plagues that struck Europe during these centuries.

People throughout time have realized the protective and healing nature of certain plant materials, and they were valued for that as much as for their sweet aromas. It’s not just any plant that finds itself in the pages of herbals or in perfume history. For example, stock lists from the Venetian trader Francesco Pegolotti, dated between 1310 and 1340, itemize spices any aromatherapist would recognize today, including anise, rose water, cinnamon, cassia, cardamom, cumin, camphor, lemon, clove, fennel, ginger, spikenard, frankincense, mastic, nutmeg, pepper, pine resin, and sandalwood. Another item on his list was the delightful sugar fragranced with rose and violets.

Venice was a city-state monopolizing trade routes to the East, from where much of the more exotic aromatic material came, and Italy became the first perfume-making center in Europe, especially at Florence. The craft was taken to France by Caterina de’ Medici, the pope’s niece, when she married the son of King Francois I in 1533, and it was especially promoted by Caterina’s personal perfumer, Renato Bianco, after he set up shop in Paris.

One of history’s most famous physicians was Ibn Sīnā, who worked in the Persian Empire in the early eleventh century. He wrote over 100 books, the first of which was on the beneficial effects of rose, which he prescribed for digestive problems. Rose had been distilled in Arabic countries from at least the ninth century, and rose water was produced long before that. It was traded into China, as recorded in Chao Ju-Kua’s book of 1225 called Records of Foreign Peoples and Their Trade (Chu Fan Chih).

One manufacture process was described in a Chinese book dated 1115: the roses were heated to produce a vapor that condensed and formed a water. From various sources, we can see that rose petals were being processed at this early date to produce rose oil, rose water, and attar of roses. Distinguishing the three products can sometimes be difficult to establish, along with the meaning intended for the terms rose water and rose dew, but we do know that adulteration was a problem even in these early times. In Chao’s book of 1225 he suggests that to distinguish pure rose water from counterfeited, the liquid should be put in glass bottles and shaken to see if bubbles move up and down — if they do, it’s genuine.

Neroli essential oil, so valued today for its exquisite perfume and other valuable properties, is mentioned in a Chinese book dated 1233 by Chang Shih-nan. He says that the perfume exceeds that of all other citrus flowers or fruits, and, interestingly, it’s thought he was referring to the same flowers from which neroli is distilled today — Citrus aurantium. Chang then goes on to explain how perfumed wood shavings were made: alternate layers of orange blossom petals and wood shavings were placed in a tin steamer, causing drops of liquid to collect and be siphoned off to a container; the old flowers were taken out, the distilled liquid was put back onto the wood shavings, and fresh petals were put into the still. The whole process was repeated three or four times. The wood shavings were then dried and put into porcelain vessels, producing a perfume Chang describes as extraordinarily elegant.

Records of neroli being distilled in tin stills in China go back even further, to Han Yen-Chih’s Orange Record of 1178, and Wang Shih-Pheng’s Mei-Chhi Shih Chu of 1140, in which it is recorded that the distilled flowers make a perfume that also keeps insects away from clothes. Although this all sounds very early, records show that steam-distilled peppermint oil was certainly known in China in 982, and even as early as 659, according to a book called the Hsin Hsiu Pen Tshoo. The orange tree, still used in Chinese medicine, was carried from China to Europe by Arab traders in the tenth century, while the ninth-century trade between China and Indonesia is known to have included aromatic medicines.

The so-called father of Western medicine, Hippocrates, said in the fourth century BCE that the way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day, and certainly the Greeks, and later the Romans, took this advice to heart. Hippocrates also recognized that burning certain aromatic substances offered protection against contagious diseases. The ancient Greeks had a very high opinion of aromatics, attributing sweet smells to divine origin. In ancient myths, gods descended to earth on scented clouds, wearing robes drenched in aromatic essences. The Greeks believed that after death the virtuous went to Elysium, where the air was permanently filled with a sweet-smelling aroma that rose from perfumed rivers.

The holy anointing oil that God directed Moses to make from flowing myrrh, sweet cinnamon, calamus, cassia, and olive oil would have been a powerful antiviral and antibiotic substance, the use of which gave protection and treatment to all those to whom it was administered. Cinnamon is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial agent; myrrh is an effective antiseptic and is cicatrisive — that is, it stimulates cellular growth — and its healing effects on open wounds, ulcers, and boils was legendary even before biblical times.

The ancient Egyptians used aromatics for incense, embalming, and perfume. These included frankincense, myrrh, mastic, cinnamon, juniper berry, mint, and pine resin. Most aromas were of the base note type, thick and cloying, although lotus flower had a much lighter fragrance. The aromatic material was incorporated into different mediums, depending on the purpose. Linseed oil was used in embalming, for example, while honey or honeycomb wax was included into incense, and perfumes were carried in animal fats. The Ebers Papyrus of 1500 BCE described many recipes for health using aromatics and also outlined the earliest known recipe for making a body deodorant. The Egyptians described remedies for mental health issues including manias, depression, and nervousness. Aromatic unguents were stored in fabulous, elaborately carved containers made from alabaster (calcite), often decorated with animals that, curiously, have their tongues poking out of their mouths.

Cuneiform clay tablets from Babylonia dating from around 1800 BCE detail an import order that included the aromatic wood of the cedar tree, myrrh, and cypress — all used as essential oils therapeutically today. Myrtle too was a favorite. The Assyrians also loved aromatics, going so far as to perfume the mortar of their buildings. The first known perfumer was a woman, Tapputi, an overseer at a palace in Mesopotamia in the second millennium BCE. Clay tablets tell us that she used oil, reeds, flowers, resin, and water to make perfumes by a process of distillation and filtration. Throughout the Middle East, perfume was valued and written about by Islamic scholars over hundreds of years, and the appreciation continues today when the walls of mosques and other holy places are washed with rose and oud.

One of the earliest pieces of written evidence that perfume was a commodity commonly available to the man or woman in the street comes from an Indian epic of 2000 BCE, the Ramayana, which includes an episode in which the hero-prince, Rama of Ayodhya, returns after a period of exile to a triumphant homecoming in his village. Everyone, we’re told, pours into the street cheering, including the lamp makers, jewelers, potters, bath attendants, wine sellers, weavers, sword millers, perfumers, and incense sellers.

Some people might suppose that perfumes were used in early times to cover up bad smells caused by lack of hygiene, but apart from the fact that nature provided unpolluted rivers and streams long before the Industrial Revolution produced internal plumbing, there’s evidence that early civilizations were as concerned with cleanliness as we are. Around 3000 BCE the people in the city of Mohenjo Daro, in modern-day Pakistan, were obsessed with cleanliness according to archaeologists, who found plumbing in every house, a covered municipal drainage system, and a communal bath measuring 39 by 23 feet. Some of the oldest temples in India were built entirely of sandalwood, ensuring an aromatic atmosphere at all times.

The oldest archaeological site of a perfume-making center is at Pyrgos-Mavroraki on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Dating back over 4,000 years, a wide range of materials have been discovered there, including stills for distilling plant materials and small perfume bottles made of translucent alabaster. From residues remaining at the site, archaeologists believe that lavender, bay, pine, coriander, rosemary, parsley, myrtle, anise, and cinnamon were processed at the site. All these plant materials are produced as essential oils today. And at that time, like today, fragrant plant material was used not only for cosmetic and pharmaceutical purposes but also in religious ceremony.

The only reason we’re here now is because our ancestors survived in conditions far harsher than we will ever have to experience. They had no pharmaceutical drugs and could use only the natural plant materials they found in their environment. Clearly, any useful medicinal plant was remembered because it was so important. In this way, humanity built up knowledge of the medicine chest growing around them. And that chest is remarkably like our own, because even if times change, the healing power of certain plants does not.

Quality Control

The global market in essential oils is pretty much like every other business environment — it’s monopolized by a few huge corporations, determined to drive down the prices they have to pay to the producers. They want essential oils to put in food, drink, cosmetics, fragrance, and medications, and they want certainty. Perfume companies need ingredients with aromatic constancy so they can create perfume formulas that always smell the same. Very often they’ll incorporate synthetics to achieve this consistency. The food and drink companies, on the other hand, have to use natural essential oils to comply with the U.S. 1996 Food Chemicals Codex IV. Pharmaceutical companies test essential oils against standards set by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia (USP), the British Pharmacopoeia (BP), the European Pharmacopoeia, or the pharmacopoeia of other nations, including China. Various organizations around the world certify the authenticity of particular essential oils, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO Standards TC 54) and the Association Française de Normalisation (AFNOR).

Unless you buy an essential oil that specifically states that it complies with these standards, you can’t be sure that what you’re buying is exactly what it says on the label, and that’s because there are many ways in which essential oils can be adulterated. Expensive essential oils may be extended by adding cheaper, but similar smelling, essential oils. Also, an essential oil could be diluted with something that makes no change to the aroma — isopropyl myristate, for example — or in the case of more viscous essential oils such as vetiver, it could be mixed with a little rapeseed oil.

Another issue is that one essential oil might be labeled as another, a practice made possible by the fact that the two essential oils have a similar aroma. Or two essential oils could be blended to create another: for example, black pepper and ylang ylang could be combined to create the aroma of carnation. Another ploy is to bulk out one essential oil by adding to it a particular component extracted from a different essential oil: for example, eucalyptol — pure and natural — could be taken from eucalyptus globulus and added to another essential oil that contains eucalyptol. Once we get to the very rare, precious, and expensive oils and absolutes — rose, jasmine, neroli, gardenia, and so on, some of which are not produced by steam distillation — many devices might be employed to bulk out the oils. These methods include using other essential oils, single or multiple natural components within essential oils, or synthetic chemicals.

If the essential oil is distilled in a country other than the one in which

Hai raggiunto la fine di questa anteprima. Registrati per continuare a leggere!
Pagina 1 di 1


Cosa pensano gli utenti di The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded

8 valutazioni / 0 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori