Next the reader encounters the important relationship of the fats and oils to the human skin and

health. This includes what actions and uses they are known to possess. Halfway into the text, 50 individual oils are presented alphabetically in monographs. Each entry includes the Latin binomial, general information, properties and uses, and a typical fatty acid profile. Included are uncommon vegetable oils such as kiwi fruit seed, chaulmoogra, babassu, milk thistle, and moringa. This section of monographs is followed by a cursory mention of herbal infused oils or macerations. A valuable odour and taste guide is provided for evaluating oils. The book does not totally lend itself for a ready reference. The author tells the reader he draws from his experience in presenting this material. While the practical knowledge is provocative, the digressions could be a distraction to the subject at hand. Ultimately the book is a good read for someone interested in the topics presented. EDC
DOI:10.1016/S0962-4562(03)00091-2

accurate information on core subjects such as chemistry, toxicology and safety, olfaction, quality control issues and research principles, to name but a few. None of these subjects are dealt with in an informed, instructive way, and in the case of the latter the only mention I could find was the authors’ helpful advice that anecdotal information and that gained from the Internet ‘‘is not concrete fact. If you carry out research ensure you know the value of that information’’. Skin absorption is skimmed over and olfaction is relegated to a paragraph beginning with the informative sentence, ‘‘Substances such as essential oils give off smelly gas particles’’. Inaccuracies and what I can only hope are typos, rather than reflections on the author’s understanding of the subject are found throughout the text. There are too many to mention in this review, but a few examples should serve to illustrate the general level of information and inadequate attention to detail found in this book. Some of the more benign examples include basil and lavender being referred to as Omicum basilicum and Lavendula angustofolia, cypress becomes Cyprus, chemotypical variations are confused with environmental differences and diagrams showing ‘‘Marma’’ points used in Ayurvedic medicine are used to illustrate a paragraph on Chinese acupressure.

So much for benign errors. Now to more serious areas of concern. Chapter 4 entitled ‘Understanding the essential oils’ takes the reader through the rudiments of extraction methods, then onto ‘Essential oil chemicals’. Here we find a total of 10 sentences on the subject, followed by tables giving some examples of chemical family, properties and safety. The data here is brief and often inaccurate. Under the ketones heading we find the curious statement ‘‘Also known as camphor’’. Camphor is then given as an example of a non-toxic ketone. No references are included in the book anywhere, least of all here where it would be useful to see where the data presented has arisen from. Chapter 5 covers 44 essential oils, and on the cover we are told the information is detailed, allowing the student to ‘‘gain a thorough understanding of each oil and its use’’. I have to disagree, as the uses and cautions given appear arbitrary, not albeit brief chemistry Surreally, there are for each oil related to the data provided. child-like line

Aromatherapy for Holistic Therapists
Francesca Gould

drawings of each plant with the instruction to ‘‘Read the plant description and colour the illustration’’. Is this what student aromatherapists need to spend time doing one wonders. On the positive side at least the botanical origins of each oil are referred to, with each one being provided with a plant description. Rosa damascena is described as a ‘‘shrub with green leaves and pink flowers’’ not to be confused with Pelargonium graveolens, a ‘‘plant with green leaves and small pink flowers’’. Each oil is given a breakdown of chemistry, with percentages for each functional group found in the oil, followed by notes and cautions which can at times be illuminating. For example,

Published by Nelson Thornes
£12.95 256 pages; Softback ISBN: 07487-7102-6

T

he introduction to this book explains it has been written for those studying professional aromatherapy courses and claims to provide students with the ‘‘essential knowledge’ required for such training. So I expected to find detailed,

155

this is not a book that I would like to see being used by any student aromatherapist. that ‘‘red contains large amounts of phenols. are particularly concerning. Disturbingly this book is published at a time when complementary medicine in the UK is under more scrutiny than ever before. Curious then to find no mention of this ‘toxic’ potential in the section of the book dealing with extraction methods. it is described as a ‘‘balsamic’’ oil. The quality of information presented is lower than any I have previously seen. As this book is aimed at student aromatherapists. Using the thyme profile as an example of what is at best useless information and at worst a potentially hazardous approach to essential oil use. which are found throughout the book. aromatherapy teacher. In summary. insect bites and stings’’. Those who seek to regulate aromatherapists could be forgiven for thinking training standards are below what they should be for a body of people seeking professional status if this book is given any credence by any aromatherapist or worse still.1016/S0962-4562(03)00090-0 156 . psoriasis. useful for ‘‘eczema. Indeed solvent extraction is described as a ‘‘gentle extraction method’’ and the only mention of a potential problem being when traces of solvent in the absolute ‘‘may cause skin irritation’’. JB DOI:10. The difference apparently being. we find two types of thyme being described – red thyme and sweet thyme. In the caution section we are told thyme is not to be used during pregnancy or on those with high blood pressure – presumably this also includes alcohol-rich ‘‘sweet thyme’’ and then in the uses.we are told that rose absolute may contain traces of chemical solvents that can be toxic and the author suggests using distilled rose oil or one produced by carbon dioxide extraction. discrepancies in safety data. sweet contains mostly alcohols’’. dermatitis.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful