For a total beginner, I like any of Valerie Ann Worwoods books, such as “The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy”. Her books are filled with exact recipes that let you begin to play around with making blends. Once you get the feel for it, you can change them a little to be more personal for you. I compare this to cooking – you get a great recipe out of a book and make it for dinner. Everyone likes it, but the next time you make it you add a little more of this and less of that, plus your own secret ingredient because that’s how YOU cook. But you have to start somewhere.
It’s very important to do research on the essential oils you are using. You should always know what they do, methods of use, cautions and contraindications. The main book I pull off my shelf for this is “Essential Oils for Healing and Ascension” by Kathryn Sharp. This book provides an alphabetical listing of essential oils with bulleted information on the physical, emotional, and spiritual properties of each oil, and the information applies to any brand of essential oils.
A great companion to this book is “Aromatherapy Guide for Healing and Ascension” also by Kathryn Sharp, also applies to any brand. This book gives an alphabetical list of symptoms, with a list of suggested essential oils for each one. In this way, you can look up – for example – anxiety. From the list of suggested oils, you can see which ones you already have in your stock to use, or maybe get an idea of one or more you want to buy and try out. You can go back and use the Essential Oil guide to read specific details about each oil on the list to help make your decision about which one(s) would be best to use.
Kathryn is my inspiration and original teacher in essential oils. Literally living an essential oil lifestyle, she has put many years of work, experience, and direct knowledge into her books and I can’t speak highly enough of them. Her books are self-published and well worth every cent! Click on the links above to order directly from her website, or if you’re local to Anchorage stop by Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine. I try to keep a set in our bookstore.
For more advanced research, I like “Medical Aromatherapy” by Kurt Schnaubelt. I love his scientific background and strong attitude about health and healing. His book is a little more technical by going into the chemistry of essential oils, but this is great information you can use to back up many claims of effectiveness. He also outlines a number of important essential oils, and has a section on their application to a variety of symptoms. I have used his recommendations with great success. (UPDATE: 2012, his latest book, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils is a wonderful reference.)
My newest favorite is “The Essential Oil Cookbook” (now re-named as “Weigh Less, Eat Like Royalty”) by Menkit Prince. The author is an Australian woman with a background in Oriental medicine. Her recipes are incredibly delicious! What a fun and healthy way to use essential oils. If you want to really explore the many benefits of essential oils that go beyond putting them on your skin or smelling them, you need this book!
Hope this helps you out!
Cynthia McMullen is a Master Massage Therapist, Internationally Certified in Aromatherapy, and teaches outstanding courses in Oriental bodywork, Five Element Nutrition, and Essential Oils at Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine, Acupuncture & Massage Therapy
Learn tons of great information from my On-Line Essential Oil Course series. You can study here at our school in Alaska from anywhere in the world!