Book Review: The Aromatherapy Companion – Medicinal Uses, Ayurvedic Healing, Body-Care Blends, Perfume & Scents, Emotional Health & Well-Being

This week the Kitchen Cupboard Underground reviews another book on aromatherapy and herbology. The goal of these book reviews is to provide you insight if a book would be a good addition to your library. Enjoy! 

The Aromatherapy Companion – Medicinal Uses, Ayurvedic Healing, Body-Care Blends, Perfume & Scents, Emotional Health & Well-Being, Victoria H. Edwards
Storey Publishing, 1999, 281 pages

The intent of Edwards’ book is to take a novice and introduce them to the world of essential oils and their uses. The book has fifteen chapters that cover the introduction of essential oils, production, properties, safety usage, carrier oils, applications, and goes a little beyond the typical use of essential oils. As with many books, the preface covers Edwards’ personal introduction into the world of smells and aromatherapy which endears the reader to her story and makes you want to join her on a learning journey.  Rather than cram the book full of huge blocks of text, Edwards breaks it down in to digestible segments for each page. This includes side information and tip boxes as well as hand drawn images.

In covering the history of aromatherapy, Edwards goes beyond the usual basics. She covers its history through the ages including ancient: India, China, Babylon, Egypt, the Mideast, Greece, Rome, Arabia and Europe and includes information about René Maurice Gattefossè (who coined the word aromatherapy). In an effort to properly educate the reader, Edwards dedicates four pages to discussing synthetic oils including their history and side effects. The chemistry of essential oils is covered in such a way as to gently introduce the reader to the subject. The internal use of essential oils is not presented as being bad, but rather as a less common practice in areas outside of France. Edwards encourages the reader to seek the advice of a well versed aromatherapist if they want to explore the ingestion of essential oils.

The bulk of the book covers the application of essential oils with recipes that cover: basic use; personal blends; perfumery; aphrodisiacs; Ayurveda; mythology; and recipes for children, teens, pregnant women, menopause, men, and for successful aging. With each of these topics, Edwards provides additional, in-depth information such as the history of bathing, hydrotherapy and thalassotherapy for example. The mythology section is fun as various Greek goddesses are discussed.  Edwards provides recipes she created that embody a particular goddess, such as Aphrodite’s Milk and Flower Bath.  

I recommend this book to those interested in learning about aromatherapy from the ground up or to add to the collection of any aromatherapist. It is a book that can be referenced for many day to day needs, pampering and for dabbling in perfumery. Edward’s The Aromatherapy Companion is available through iTunes, Kindle and online retailers for around $16. 

Until next time, discover the power of learning something new.

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