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154 of 158 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 100% recommended - BUT...
As someone who has been actively involved in aromatherapy for almost ten years, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Lawless' acclaimed book. Based on its title and description, I was expecting a true encyclopedia - something like Worwood's The Fragrant Pharmacy, only more comprehensive and without specific recipes (I prefer it that way).

It IS an "encyclopedia":...
Published on July 23, 2005 by Kallisto

versus
76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recommended but NOT THIS edition
This is the first edition of the acclaimed book. You want to buy an updated one - The ILLUSTRATED encyclopedia of Essential oils by the same author. The difference is huge. Not only the Illustrated version has beautiful pictures of the plants, oils, ect but it also has tons of new, updated info that the first (this) edition misses. In other words, yes, this book is kind...
Published on June 19, 2008 by Starless


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154 of 158 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 100% recommended - BUT..., July 23, 2005
This review is from: Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well-being. (Paperback)
As someone who has been actively involved in aromatherapy for almost ten years, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Lawless' acclaimed book. Based on its title and description, I was expecting a true encyclopedia - something like Worwood's The Fragrant Pharmacy, only more comprehensive and without specific recipes (I prefer it that way).

It IS an "encyclopedia": it contains the descriptions of 190 + EO (= essential oils), probably the most you'll ever see compiled in a single book.
They are arranged by alphabetical order, and the entries include a detailed description of the plant & of the oil, its geographic distribution, etc.
It also includes extensive botanical, chemical and safety data. They even include traditional uses of the plant from which the EO in question is extracted. (This, by the way, is not at all necessary - or even particularly useful - information, since EO can be extracted from parts of plants different to those that are used in traditional medicine.)

All this information would be fine (if slightly superfluous) - if the data concerning the specific properties of the EO discussed had been more extensive.
Of course Lawless duly lists all the actions (such as antipyretic, fungicidal, sedative, etc.) and "aromatherapy/home" uses. But the latter are listed in a "telegraphic" way that doesn't really appear to make any distinctions between the specific benefits of each EO. Of course many oils have very similar effects. But "similar" does not equal "the same".

A typical "Aromatherapy/Home Use" rubric (in this case, for spikenard) looks like this:

SKIN CARE: Allergies, inflammation, mature skin, rashes etc.
NERVOUS SYSTEM: Insomnia, nervous indigestion, migraine, stress and tenson.
OTHER USES: Little used these days, usually as substitute for valerian oil.

First of all, what is meant by "etc."?
Those already familiar with the EO in question would know - but those who aren't probably wouldn't.

In this particular case, BTW, the data also fail to mention the cardiotonic properties of the plant, which makes the OTHER USES rubric incomplete. (And by the way: I, for one, use spikenard A LOT!)
Surprisingly, the HERBAL/FOLK TRADITION also fails to mention its restorative effect on hair colour.

And this is just an example, picked at random.

I am really, really not nit-picking, and I hope my writing doesn't come across that way. I think Lawless' book is an extremely useful primer - and, yes, an "encyclopaedia", in a concise sort of way - that absolutely should find a place on the shelves of anyone interested in aromatherapy. There is no question about that. This book is 100% recommended. It is a very good introduction for beginners, and a very useful quick-reference book for those who already are experienced EO users.

I just find that it has perhaps too many general (somewhat superfluous) data on the one hand, and too little (specific) information on the other. I think it would be a very good idea to extend the "Herbal/Folk Tradition" and "Aromatherapy/Home Use" rubrics, to include perhaps some more anecdotal information (duly labeled as such) and somewhat more elaborate indications for the specific uses of each oil.

Then this book would truly become the unsurpassed treasure of aromatherapy data that it should be.
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76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Recommended but NOT THIS edition, June 19, 2008
By 
Starless (St. Louis, MO) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well-being. (Paperback)
This is the first edition of the acclaimed book. You want to buy an updated one - The ILLUSTRATED encyclopedia of Essential oils by the same author. The difference is huge. Not only the Illustrated version has beautiful pictures of the plants, oils, ect but it also has tons of new, updated info that the first (this) edition misses. In other words, yes, this book is kind of the basis for the Illustrated edition but it is very pale in comparison to it. I would not waste your money on this one and buy the Illustrated one, which is a must have for anybody interested in aromatherapy as one of the best references/encyclopedias out there. Hope this review is helpful in your choice.
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107 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not practical for home users, January 30, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well-being. (Paperback)
The first thing you notice about this book is that there's no color in it, which is misleading because the cover is so beautiful. I thought there would be photos of each plant and it's uses. Although it is in alphabetical order, it all sorta runs together. For practical home use, I do not recommend this book. For each plant it gives synonyms, general description, distribution, other species, herbal/folk tradition, actions, extraction, charactistics, principal constituents, safty, and FINALLY aromatherapy and home use. For me half of those catergories are of no interest. Lots of the aromatherapy and home use seems to be the same from plant to plant. It never describes how one should apply or administer these plants and essential oils for therapy. Its just not what I was looking for as far as a practical guide that you can grab and look up a certain symptom or oil...
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Reference Guide, December 13, 2001
Part 1: An Introduction to Aromatics
Chapter 1 Historical Roots
Chapter 2 Aromatherapy and Herbalism
Chapter 3 The Body Actions and Applications
Chapter 4 How to Use Essential Oils and Home
Chapter 5 Creative Blending
Chapter 6 A Guide to Aromatic Materials
Part 2: The Oils
--Over 160 essential oils discussed which includes its common name, synonyms, general description, distribution, other species, herbal folk tradition, actions, extraction, characteristics, principal constituents, safety data, aromatherapy/home use and other uses
At the end of the book, it includes a few useful addresses, including phone numbers where you can contact for more infomation about essential oils
This book also includes a therapeutic index which is a guide of abbreviate terms in 10 categories which are suggested appilications of essential oils mentioned in the book. You can use essential oils for skin care; circulation, muscles, and joints; respiratory sytem; digestive system; gentio-urinary aand endocrine system; immune system; and nervos system
Includes a general glossary and a section on botanical classification
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, April 10, 2012
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I was actually surprised by two things:
1. The fact that I have a now vast and still growing library of books on Aromatherapy and Essential Oils (Including from authors like Worwood, Cooksley, Schnaubelt and Tisserand) yet I now find myself reaching for this one more than some of these other authors.
2. The negative reviews of others.

I guess my expectations were different. While it is an Encyclopeia which should make it a valuble reference source, I feel it does what an Encyclopeia should do and what is standard for that type of reference - that is it covers a lot of information on a broad range of items that you can look up (in this case essential oils) and does a good job giving you the necessary background and basic information that you would need to get a good understanding of what it is you looked up. (Not be a master at that topic because that would result in something far more extensive and a very weighty book when covering so many oils.) Despite being concise and to the point Lawless still manages to give you a snap shot of each oil with information on 13 topics for each of the over 165 oils listed (one review said over 190 but not sure where that number came from, I counted something around 168, still quite a list!).

The only thing I will say is that she is along the lines of Cooksley and Worwood where I sometimes feel like they are overly cautious. I believe in being responsible and informed with use but I prefer authors like Schnaubelt that don't discount an oil due to one study that was done once by someone and recorded and therefore it is now considered toxic, without looking at how the study was done and what factors were involved, if constituents of the oil were isolated, etc. However, if you are new to EOs than it is best to error on the more restricted use just to be safe.

I will not list the chapters in the introductory Part 1 as another reviewer already covered. But in Part 2 "The Oils", each oil is listed with its botanical name and then given the following information in the following order:

BOTANICAL FAMILY
SYNONYMS
GENERAL DESCRIPTION (Of the plant)
DISTRIBUTION
OTHER SPECIES
HERBAL/FOLK TRADITION
ACTIONS
EXTRACTION
CHARACTERISTICS (Of the oils, scent, appearance, etc.)
PRINCIPAL CONSTITUENTS (Chemistry snapshot)
SAFETY DATA
AROMATHERAPY/HOME USE
OTHER USES

This is what the majority of the book IS (just like an encyclopedia would be) and I believe it does a good job doing what it is designed to do. The fact that it is only missing about 3 of my favorite oils (probably because they are newer, i.e. Rhododendron, Palo Santo, etc.) and lists so many others, it truely is a nicely organized and very handy and useful reference.
It is easy to find the information you need and quickly. Despite the lack of "color" complaints by other reviewers, I still found it one of the more attractive aromatherapy books. It is well laid out, in nice print, and has some lovely black and white illustrations. The book is actualy more attractive than some of the other more well know ones and I think I reach for it more often now because I don't have to wade through many reciepes and a ton of other chapters to get to hunt for the part that just profiles the oils themselves. (Other information is good, all of the recepies, uses on animals, household cleaners, etc. just not what I am looking for when I am grabbing an encyclopedia to give the basic background and profile.)

ALSO - The Therapeutic Index in the back along with the General Glossary that defines the medical terms addressed in the book (and address in several others, but are not defined in a lot of other books) for those who do not have a health science background proves very useful. There is also a rather extensive Botanical Classification and a good Botantical Index in the very back.

So I will be getting the newer Illustraded version eventually but not out of dissapointment for this one, if anything because I was so impressed with the layout and information that exceeded my expectaions of this author that I took a chance on. (Getting a good used copy of this edition will allow those pinching pennies to add a great reference book to their Aromatherapy library.)
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended standard text for Aromatherapy education, February 14, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well-being. (Paperback)
This book is recommended or required reading for almost every aromatherapy educational course, home use workshop, or personal study bibliography I have ever seen produced by leaders in the aromatherapy field in the United States, Canada, or Great Britain.
Application guidelines and chemistry overview are located at the front of the book.
To throughly learn a subject, whether by reading or class work, more than one source of information is necessary. I recommend at least 4 different sources of information and 7 is better. This text should definately be one of the 4 for aromatherapy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars get the updated publication..., January 5, 2011
This review is from: Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well-being. (Paperback)
I had ordered the newer version of this book (circa 1995 or later) which is under a slightly different title (The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism). I was quite disappointed to receive this version, which is not illustrated and does not have the same detail of information (i know this because i used the "search inside this book" capability for the one i ordered). I have emailed the seller to return it, but just thought I would post my review so that others know that it is absolutely worth buying the newer publication!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Wife Really Loves This Thing, October 8, 2010
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My wife is big into the aromatherapy essential oils stones things like that. She's taken courses on it, she talks about it with their friends, and she reads about them on the Internet. I wanted to be nice to her so I got her this book as a surprise. She loves it.

The book covers a lot of stuff. It's got some history of different routes and things so information about aromatherapy and a herbalism. The stuff she found more interesting though is it also tells about the body and actions and applications for the oil basically how whales work what they do to different parts of the body and how they can affect things. Later in the book it shows how to use them at home for things such as massage, skin oils and lotions, hair care, etc. I personally enjoy the massage aspect. The book also teaches about creative blending of the oils which she really enjoyed. She's been mixing different ones according to the book and having a great time doing.

At 194 pages, this book is a great buy for somebody who likes essential oils aromatherapy and such. I don't want to mislead you though, this isn't like a paperback book on aromatherapy. The portions I mentioned before that she liked reading are only about 38 pages. The rest of the book just tells about the different types of oil. Essentially, you'll see a family, synonyms, general description, distribution, herbal/folk tradition, actions, extraction (how the oil is obtained), characteristics, principal constitutes (chemical makeup), safety data, home applications, and other uses for each oil. The book is really more of a reference material than a book for beginners. There are a few pictures, but they're just drawings and the not all that interesting; I don't want to give the impression that they don't break up the text a little bit and some of them are actually useful diagrams or representations of the source plant, but were not talking about full-color pictures of everything. I kind of wish there were more diagrams a more different plants, but maybe that would've made the book too long. Anyway, good book and I suggested if you're already into oils otherwise start off with a different book and come back to this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the encyclopaedia of essential oils, December 20, 2000
By A Customer
I have the repint of this book ( published in Great Britain in 1992) and as a certified Aromatherapist and Reflexologist have found this book very helpfull. I have not seen the new one so I can't say about it. The older one (1992)was for someone that has experience with the oils and wanted a quick guide for Family, Actions, anf Principal Constituents of the oils. This is a book for someone that is wanting to go beond the every day use of Aromatherapy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Short course in essential oils, February 11, 2014
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It's an ok guide but I would not go so far as to call it an encyclopedia. I use essential oils and wanted a version for my computer tablet to use as a quick reference. There are better guides out there.
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Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The complete guide to the use of aromatic oils in aromatherapy, herbalism, health and well-being.
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