This book starts out by taking you through the history of aromatherapy and lightly hits some of its origins. The general overview of where and how essential oils come from is very nicely done and put together. The Methods of Application portion of the book is a must read on my list. Even though I do feel it could have had more information regarding the safety and precautions of using essential oils.
I have not been schooled in Oriental Medicine; so, I did find the chapters on Yin/Yang and The Five Elements interesting. In no way does it make one an expert but it does give you the jest on these two subjects. It will either be enough to spark an interest for further studies or it will signal to you it is not your kind of thing. It sparked my interest.
In this book I also found one of the longest explanation that I have seen regarding essential oils and astrology. I say the longest because I lost interest after the first paragraph under the chapter called : Essential Oils & Astrology: the symbolic relationship of plants and planets. I actually tried to hold on and move forward to the second paragraph just because Hippocrates was mentioned and I have always had a natural curiosity for the “father of medicine.” I was not successful. In the book’s defense astrology has never been a topic that has held my interest for long.
I did enjoy reading the second section of the book where the actual essential oils were discussed in detail. Sometimes finding their historical folklore quite amusing and enjoyed historical information on each oil. What I did find most interesting under each oil was the writers comments on the effects of the oils. The words were written in a way that one can read each section of the essential oil and dismiss what one already knows, dislikes, and tune in to what one might find interesting.
The third section of the book was my favorite and it is I believe this book’s pride and joy. In my opinion this is where the book has found much glory and why many aromatherapy authors mention this book either as a suggested book to read or in their actual bibliography. This chapter is called Restoring Balance . The descriptions used to for each oil to help one sort out what oil to use for what is quite impressive. Even though I lack in knowledge regarding the five elements this book is a start for any massage practitioner that is interested in those fancy five element massages that are starting to surface here and there. I took a five element/aromatherapy massage class and truly wished that I had found this book first. Studied the book and THEN taken the class. I truly believe I would have gotten more out of that class.
I found very interesting that Gabriel had a section in the back that listed the main chemical constituents of each essential oil he discusses. I do believe in order to build a bridge between aromatherapy and modern medicine could be done by studying the chemical constituents of the oils. If you are looking for a book that deals with the chemistry of essential oils, this is not your book; but it was a nice surprise to have the list of the main chemical constituents.
A lot of aromatherapy books are books that are used for reference and are quite dry to read from cover to cover. Even though I found a few moments of non interest it is still a book that I will keep in my reading library versus my reference library.