Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: Review by LJ Byers

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils 

by Julia Lawless

An ‘oldy’ but a ‘goody’.  Published in 1995 and my first reference book. You may be able to track this down second-hand.

It is notably different from her 2016 ‘Sourcebook‘ (which I will soon be reviewing as well); the plant names appear alphabetically but by their latin/botanical name – which I love because this format helped me memorize my botanical names 🙂  But may be frustrating to most everyone else.

This book remains one of my primary reference books when developing a new blend. While newer books may have added new essential oil profiles, I have found Lawless’ attention to detail for each essential oil easy to read and understand. But is definitely for the advanced aromatherapist, whether professionally certified or not. She includes the primary chemical constituents and therapeutic actions (the medicalized terms) for each essential oil. She also writes about how the essential oil works in different body systems (e.g. Respiratory System, Nervous System, etc.). Each profile includes illustrations of plant parts as well.

Other valuable sections include:
The Body – Actions and Applications‘ — This section is invaluable for those studying towards certification, as she has a write-up for each system (e.g. Skin care, Digestive System, Genito-urinary System etc.). I used this book when studying to qualify for my Canadian Federation of Aromatherapy exams.

A Guide to Aromatic Materials‘ is also pertinent to those taking on advanced study in the field, as she reviews methods of extraction and covers in some detail the chemistry of essential oils.

Her ‘General Glossary‘ includes an extensive dictionary of the medical terms, which will help you read & understand the individual profiles.

And her ‘Botanical Classification‘ will also be of keen interest to those pursuing advanced study in the field.

If you have decided to purchase this ‘oldy’ but ‘goody’, please consider supporting my book review blogging efforts by clicking through to my affiliate site,

Thanks again and happy blending!

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