The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood was first published in 1991.  I initially bought a copy in 2002 and have enjoyed this classic reference guide ever since.  The book has been revised and updated for it’s 25th anniversary edition and is available from New World Library.

Two groups of people will most likely read this review.  The first group are those new to essential oils who may never had heard of the book or Worwood.  The second will be those of us who already have a copy and are familiar with the content as well as aromatherapy content from other authors in the industry.

If you’re new to essential oils and aromatherapy:  

This book is a truly complete guide for understanding essential oils and safely incorporating them into your lifestyle.  What sets this book apart from similar aromatherapy guides is the extensive catalog of recipes.  There are over 800 essential oil recipes for wellness, skin care, travel, children, work and home.  In addition to the recipes readers will find:

  • Over 120 profiles of essential oils and absolutes in a quick reference guide format.
  • What to look for when buying each of the essential oils profiled.
  • Over 20 different tables offering easy visual information search.
  • Information on carrier oils, hydrolats, and dilution ratios.
  • Recommendations for using anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal oils.
  • Several sections devoted to using essential oils for stress, anxiety, depression and emotional relief.
  • Sections devoted to essential oils for concerns specific to kids, women, and men.
  • Information on cooking with essential oils as well as care for home and garden.

If you’re new to aromatherapy it’s very important to have at least one or two comprehensive reference books.  A common problem with learning about essential oils on the internet is the information tends to be collected in bits and pieces.  Someone can offer a recipe in a blog post without explaining why it works or the safety limitations.  Owning a good reference book is a must for helping you know whether what you find online is therapeutically valid and safe.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy solves this problem.  Valerie Ann Worwood is a clinical aromatherapist who also holds a doctorate in complementary health.  She trains aromatherapy practitioners and has been well known in the aromatherapy world for decades.  This is a source you can trust and the information provided in this book is holistic and delivered in a simple and searchable format.

If you own the original edition of this book: 

You’ll find some cool updates and revisions but your level of excitement will depend on how much other reading you’ve been doing since this book was first published.  I was excited about these new features of the book:

  • An outstanding section on hydrolats including 25 profiles, production details and what to look for when buying.
  • An expanded section on carrier oils with 37 profiles (+ shea and cocoa butter).
  • A more in depth introduction discussing the history of essential oil use and extraction.
  • A section discussing the role essential oils can play for those dealing with cancer, including recipes.

Over the years I’ve found books that cover these topics but I appreciate having another trusted reference, especially for hydrolats.  The other relevant differences between the first edition and the latest include:

  • A better detailed EO quick reference guide with 50 more essential oil profiles than the first edition.
  • More information devoted to essential oils for exhaustion, stress, anxiety, depression and emotional trauma.
  • The formatting is easier to read and the addition of detailed tables make the book visually easier to navigate.

The 25th anniversary edition of The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood is definitely worth buying to replace your old copy.  I paid $19.95 for the first edition 14 years ago.  The new edition is $26.95, an incredible value, and I look forward to using it for many more years to come.  I haven’t decided if I’ll donate my old edition or keep it as a reminder of how much the aromatherapy industry has grown the past few years.  Do you have plans for your old edition?  Share in the comments.

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