Recommended Books 2017-06-02T22:05:17+00:00

Robert Tisserand’s Recommended Reading

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” 
Mortimer J. Adler

Welcome to my recommended reading list!

We live in a time of instant discovery, and the Internet is a truly wonderful resource. But it can be confusing and misleading. How do you tell truth from fiction? How do you navigate the seemingly infinite voices? One way is by having a library of good books to complement what you find online. How do you know what’s “good”?

Read my list. 🙂

I have compiled a variety of texts – ones that address different levels of learning, from introductory to seriously academic, and ranging from fragrant wellness to the history of distillation and aromatic healing. Books are organized by area of interest, and are listed alphabetically by title. I have shown the publisher’s list price for comparison, though you will rarely pay full price. Links are to US Amazon. Click on any category toggle below to see all of the titles listed in that section.

Aromatherapy: A complete Guide to the Healing Art

aromatherapy-a-complete-guide-to-the-healing-art

written by: Kathy Keville & Mindy Green
published: 2009
page count: 246
list price (US): $19.99

Publisher’s Blurb: “A comprehensive guide to using essential oils in health, beauty, and well-being. Expanded and revised throughout, including new material on ayurvedic and ceremonial aromatherapy, massage, and herbal treatments, as well as updated resources and scientific findings.”
Amazon reviewer: “Finally a complete guide that is easy to read and affordable. The descriptions, explanations, and step-by-step preparation methods are written for the novice and are easy to follow. I especially like the quick reference on page 30 outlining the basic essential oils. The book is full of them, and I think they’re wonderful to use in concocting new, safe and different aromatherapy mixtures. The authors have done a remarkable job of translating the seemingly enigmatic language of aromatherapy. The charts in chapter four are especially helpful. Now lavender oil has become a relaxing addition to all my baths!”

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The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness

aromatherapy-and-essential-oils

written by: Nerys Purchon & Lora Carbo Cantele
published: 2014
page count: 480
list price (US): $24.95

Amazon reviewer: “Essential oils can be useful in many ways, and this beautifully designed book contains a feast of information, including many valuable safety tips. I urge you to follow them. I have known Jennie for many years, first as an aromatherapy student, and then as a teacher at the Tisserand Institute. Jennie has a passion for plants and essential oils, and she writes with vitality and wisdom. I can appreciate how much work has gone into researching the history and tradition of each plant, and into creating the hundreds of blends in this book. Jennie’s breadth of knowledge and years of experience are showcased here in this wonderful introduction to aromatherapy and massage.”

Buy Now

The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils In Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well Being

the-encyclopedia-of-essential-oils

written by: Julia Lawless
published: 2002
page count: 226
list price (US): $18.95

Publisher’s blurb: “The definitive A-Z reference guide to essential aromatherapy oils. Aromatherapy expert Julia Lawless shares her extensive knowledge in this detailed and systematic survey of more than 190 essential aromatherapy oils. From commonly used oils such as lavender and tea tree oils to the more obscure oils including deertounge, oakmoss, cananga, and angelica, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils offers a wide variety of uses and cures for everything from wrinkles to kidney stones.”

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The Essential Oils Handbook: All the Oils You Will Ever Need for Health, Vitality and Well-Being

the essential oils handbook

written by: Jennie Harding
published: 2008
page count: 288
list price (US): $13.95

Publisher’s blurb: “This attractive new addition to the Essential Handbook series is both a reference and a guide to these oils and their life-enhancing properties. The main attraction is a directory of 100 oils, complete with a discussion of the benefits of each for body, mind, and spirit, and suggestions on how it can be used. Gorgeous photographs showcase the plants that yield each oil, and an introductory section describes their traditional applications in different cultures around the world.”
R.Tisserand about the author: “I have known Jennie for many years, first as an aromatherapy student, and then as a teacher at the Tisserand Institute. Jennie has a passion for plants and essential oils, and she writes with vitality and wisdom. I can appreciate how much work has gone into researching the history and tradition of each plant, and into creating the hundreds of blends in this book. Jennie’s breadth of knowledge and years of experience are showcased here in this wonderful introduction to aromatherapy.”

Buy Now

Aromadermatology: Aromatherapy in the Treatment and Care of Common Skin Conditions

aromadermatology

written by: Janetta Bensouilah & Philippa Buck
published: 2006
page count: 250
list price (US):  $42.95

From Robert Tisserand’s foreword: “This subject area is only lightly touched on in most aromatherapy books, and it has remained a source of debate and confusion. Bensouilah and Buck have gone a long way to dispelling this confusion through their detailed discussion of, for example, transdermal permeation and skin barrier issues, excipients, and dosages and concentrations, as well as therapeutic effects. These discussions are woven into a foundation covering the basics of skin structure and function, essential oil chemistry and safety issues. A thorough understanding of dermatology underpins the book, and both current research and clinical knowledge are elegantly applied to the skin conditions discussed.”

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Aromatherapeutic Blending: Essential Oils in Synergy

aromatherapeutic-blending

written by: Jennifer Peace Rhind
published: 2016
page count: 336
list price (US): $39.95

Amazon blurb: “The author covers new and exciting developments in research into the use of essential oils, explores the merits and limitations of holistic, psychosensory and molecular approaches to blending and suggests effective ways of choosing the most suitable approach for individual clients. Evidence-based profiles of essential oils and absolutes are included and the comprehensive tables summarising their actions enable practitioners to identify easily potential contenders for synergistic blends.”

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Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers

aromatherapy-for-body-workers

written by: Jade Shutes & Christina Weaver
published: 2008
page count: 374
list price (US): $77.00

Amazon reviewer: “An excellent book that is informed with an outlook that can only come from a working professional. Includes some sound scientific principles – down to how the size of the dropper bore will affect what you measure out. They even cover some basic chemistry though I’m glad there was only one chapter on that. The information includes dilution charts, blending tips and a comprehensive section on carrier oils as well as the in-depth profiles of a number of essential oils. Appropriate safety precautions are included. Each chapter has a worksheet at the end to allow you to test your own understanding of the preceding information.”

Buy Now

Aromatherapy for Health Professionals

aromatherapy-for-health-professionals

written by: Shirley Price & Len Price
published: 2012
page count: 380
list price (US): $67.95

Publisher’s blurb: “Covers the full spectrum of theory and practice from essential oil science and the foundations of practice to the application of aromatherapy for specific conditions. The fourth edition of this highly successful book provides a clear and authoritative introduction to aromatherapy as practiced in modern health care settings. It gives valuable information for any health professional wishing to develop their understanding of the subject, providing the in-depth knowledge needed to use essential oils in the practice environment.”
Robert Tisserand about the authors: “I have known Shirley and Len since 1980. Shirley and I are both the recipients of aromatherapy lifetime achievement awards from the Association of International Aromatherapists.”

Buy Now

Aromatherapy for Massage Practitioners

aromatherapy-for-massage-practicioners

written by: Ingrid Martin
published: 2006
page count: 336
list price (US): $60.99

Amazon blurb: “If you are a massage therapist or massage therapy student with an interest in adding aromatherapy to your practice, this book is for you! It addresses your specific needs and concerns, and provides useful answers to the questions about aromatherapy that most practitioners only learn after years of experience. Information on practical concerns, such as pricing sessions to account for the cost of oils, proper dilutions, sending products home with clients, and effective formulations for specific ailments, make this an indispensable resource.”

Buy Now

The Chemistry of Aromatherapeutic Oils

the-chemistry-of-aromatherapeutic-oils

written by: E. Joy Bowles
published: 2003
page count: 236
list price (US): $35.00

Amazon blurb: “This revised study of the chemistry and pharmacology of aromatherapy oils offers a practical approach to learning the basics of essential oils. Moving step-by-step at the molecular level through 89 essential oils, this work includes useful diagrams as well as techniques for oil extraction. Discussed are techniques for applying the benefits of aromatherapy to different body systems including muscles and joints, the respiratory system, and the immune system. An ideal handbook for those interested in aromatherapy as a holistic therapy, this work also provides many tips for how even the most simple applications of aromatherapy can improve one’s quality of life.”

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Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Healthcare

clinical-aromatherapy

written by: Jane Buckle
published: 2003
page count: 416
list price (US): $69.95

From the back cover: “Dr. Buckle brings together those elements most important to practicing clinicians – grounding in the physical sciences, safety information, evidence from the scientific literature, and a wealth of personal clinical experience…This work is an important addition to the aromatherapy practice literature, and I strongly recommend it to all health professionals who are interested in this rapidly expanding complementary therapy.” Linda Halcón, PhD, MPH, RN.

Buy Now

Complementary Nursing in End of Life Care

complementary-nursing-in-end-of-life-care

written by: Madeleine Kerkhof-Knapp Hayes
published: 2015
page count: 412
list price (US): $119.00

Amazon blurb: “Unique book on complementary nursing care, written for professionals in palliative and terminal care. Nurses, physicians and other palliative care workers, aromatherapist, massage therapists and herbalists alike will find a wealth of well founded information on aromacare and the way some 30 essential oils and a small but well chosen range of base oils and other base substances can be used in end of life care. You will find a full chapter on simple but wholesome massage techniques and a chapter on aquacare, which allows you to offer patients the great benefits of warm compresses, washings, affusions and baths.”

Buy Now

Essential Oil Safety, second edition

essential-oil-safety

written by: Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young
published: 2014
page count: 780
list price (US): $99.95

From Roberttisserand.com: “A comprehensive safety resource for professional, practitioner and industry reference. Essential Oil Safety provides a rational basis for an analysis of hazards and risks of each essential oil based on current scientific understanding of their biological actions. The 600 newly structured and extended profiles (either of essential oils or constituents) provide the only comprehensive, evidence-based guidance currently in publication to safe formulations and use of an encyclopedic range of essential oils.”

Buy Now

Essential Oils

essential-oils

written by: Jennifer Peace Rhind
published: 2012
page count: 318
list price (US): $35.00

Amazon blurb: “The author provides the historical and cultural context for our understanding of aromatherapy, with an overview of its relationships with Greek, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. She gives a detailed account of how essential oils are created, how and where aromatherapy is used, the underlying pharmacology, and the current research. The characteristics of over 100 essential oils, absolutes and resinoids are provided in detail, including botanical and chemical information, usage and combinations. This will be an indispensable text for all students and practitioners of aromatherapy and related disciplines, as well as anyone interested in the use of essential oils for health and well-being.”

Buy Now

Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils

aromatherapy-for-healing-the-spirit

written by: Gabriel Mojay
published: 2000
page count: 190
list price (US): $19.95

From the foreword: “Traditional Chinese Medicine is a massive edifice, built of painstaking observation, practice and skill. Making this inherently complex subject accessible and real, and at the same time merging it with the practice of aromatherapy, is no easy task, but one which Gabriel accomplishes with clarity and confidence. Every page draws the reader inexorably in to an intricate web of holistic truth. There is a complete rationale for selecting essential oils appropriate to the needs of the whole person, and many aromatherapists will find this ancient yet novel approach an enlightening one.”
Robert Tisserand about the author: “Gabriel and I have known each other for several decades, and we have hosted each other at live events.”

Buy Now

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles

aromatica-a-clinical-guide

written by: Peter Holmes
published: 2016
page count: 400
list price (US): $65.00

Amazon blurb: “This detailed and practical database of clinical experience of essential oil therapeutics takes a truly holistic approach, focussing on the psychological, the physiological and the energetic or Chinese medical aspects. Skilfully blending the evidence of scientific research with that of clinical practice, the book builds a comprehensive therapeutic profile for each oil it presents to the reader. Based on the different administration methods used and the absorption pathways activated, it clearly differentiates the psychological, physiological and topical uses of these essential oils. An extensive Materia Medica section is included. Reliable clinical reference material is offered for all complementary therapists, including aromatherapists, medical herbalists, Chinese Medicine practitioners, energy medicine therapists and massage therapists.”

Buy Now

Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing

aryuveda-and-aromatherapy

written by: Light Miller & Bryan Miller
published: 1955
page count: 366
list price (US): $21.95

Amazon reviewer: “An excellent book that is informed with an outlook that can only come from a working professional. Includes some sound scientific principles – down to how the size of the dropper bore will affect what you measure out. They even cover some basic chemistry though I’m glad there was only one chapter on that. The information includes dilution charts, blending tips and a comprehensive section on carrier oils as well as the in-depth profiles of a number of essential oils. Appropriate safety precautions are included. Each chapter has a worksheet at the end to allow you to test your own understanding of the preceding information.”

Buy Now

Aromatherapy and the Mind

aromatherapy-and-the-mind

written by: Julia Lawless
published: 1995
page count: 240
list price (US): $80.00

Amazon blurb: “Offers an exploration into the realm of fragrance. Throughout the history of civilization, perfumes, incense and aromatic plants and oils have been used to enhance human experience, and today aromatherapy is attracting widespread interest. We are all aware of our individual responses to fragrance, but the psychological and emotional effects of essential oils have been little explored. Can aromas be used therapeutically to bring about predictable results? Here the latest scientific research, primitive beliefs and traditions re-examined in an analysis of the development and role of fragrance – and its promise of healing for the human psyche.”

Buy Now

The Aromatherapy Garden: Growing Fragrant Plants for Happiness and Well-Being

the-aromatherapy-garden

written by: Kathi Keville
published: 2016
page count: 276
list price (US): $24.95

Amazon blurb: “The Aromatherapy Garden explains how fragrant plants can be as therapeutic as they are intoxicating, and how easy it is to add this captivating element to gardens large and small. It reveals the scents, secrets, and science behind fragrant plants, and how to optimize the full benefits of fragrance. Hone your powers of concentration with lemon verbena. Beat the blues with wintersweet. And use rose geranium to relieve anxiety and stress. Revealed here are the scents, secrets, and science behind plant aromatherapy, and how to optimize its full benefits. Detailed plant profiles will help you create a beautiful source of restorative aromas, oils, sachets, teas, and more. The nose knows—and with Keville’s expertise, now you too can create your own sanctuary of health and happiness”

Buy Now

Fragrance and Wellbeing: Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche

fragrance-and-wellbeing

written by: Jennifer Peace Rhind
published: 2014
page count: 448
list price (US): $45.00

Amazon blurb: “This book explores the impact of fragrance on the psyche from biological, anthropological, perfumery and aromatherapy viewpoints. Beginning with an exploration of our olfactory system and a discussion of the language of odour, the author examines the ways in which fragrance can influence our perceptions and experiences. She introduces us to a broad range of fragrance types – woody, resinous, spicy, herbaceous, agrestic, floral and citrus, as well as the attars that form part of Unani Tibb medicine. Traditional and contemporary uses and the mood-enhancing properties of fragrance types are presented. The book then provides an overview of the theoretical and philosophical frameworks that have been used to analyse how and why we choose fragrance. Finally readers are given guidance on how to cultivate their olfactory palate, which reveals a new dimension in the use of fragrance to enhance wellbeing.”

Buy Now

Aromatherapy: Basic Mechanisms and Evidence Based Clinical Use (Clinical Pharmacognosy Series)

aromatherapy-basic-mechanics

edited by: Giacinto Bagetta, Marco Consentino & Tsukasa Sakaruda
published: 2016
page count: 464
list price (US): $135.75

Amazon blurb: “The book encompasses all aspects of successful clinical use of aromatherapy, including phytochemistry, technology, and clinical trials. It outlines a rational basis for clinical translation of aromatherapy for treating human diseases in need of safer therapies. It also describes evidence-based use of aromatherapy in controlling clinical manifestations of severe diseases for which conventional therapies often fail, such as managing agitation and aggression associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Buy Now

Bioactive Essential Oils and Cancer

bioactive-essential-oils-and-cancer

edited by: Damiao Pergentino De Sousa
published: 2015
page count: 292
list price (US): $189.00

Amazon blurb: “This volume provides a general overview of the therapeutic potential of the essential oils in cancer and highlights some promising future directions. It integrates chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine while discussing bioactive essential oils in experimental models and clinical studies of cancer. The book is a valuable resource for all engaged in the study of natural products and their synthetic derivatives, particularly for those interested in academic research and pharmaceutical and food industries dedicated in the discovery of useful agents for the therapy or prevention of cancer.”

Buy Now

Fighting Multidrug Resistance with Herbal Extracts, Essential Oils and Their Components

fighting-multidrug-resistence-with-herbal-extracts

edited by: Mahendra Rai & Kateryna Kon
published: 2013
page count: 272
list price (US): $75.99

Amazon blurb: “Fighting Multidrug Resistance with Herbal Extracts, Essential Oils and their Components offers scientists a single source aimed at fighting specific multidrug-resistant (MDR) microorganisms such as bacteria, protozoans, viruses and fungi using natural products. This essential reference discusses herbal extracts and essential oils used or under investigation to treat MDR infections, as well as those containing antimicrobial activity that could be of potential interest in future studies against MDR microorganisms. The need to combat multidrug-resistant microorganisms is an urgent one and this book provides important coverage of mechanism of action, the advantages and disadvantages of using herbal extracts, essential oils and their components and more to aid researchers in effective antimicrobial drug discovery.”

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Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications

handbook-of-essential-oils-science-technology-and-applications

edited by: K. Husnu Baser & Gerhard Buchbauer
published: 2016
page count: 1,092
list price (US): $199.95

Amazon blurb: “The book covers a wide range of areas applicable to essential oils research, including sources, production, analysis, storage, transport, chemistry, aromatherapy, pharmacology, toxicology, metabolism, technology, biotransformation, application, utilization, and trade. It includes discussions of biological activity testing, results of antimicrobial and antioxidant tests, and penetration-enhancing activities useful in drug delivery.”

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Lipids and Essential Oils as Antimicrobial Agents

lipids-and-essential-oils-as-antimicrobial-agents

edited by: Halldor Thormar
published: 2011
page count: 316
list price (US): $182.00
Amazon blurb: “Lipids and Essential Oils as Antimicrobial Agents is an essential guide to this important topic for researchers and advanced students in academia and research working in pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food sciences, biochemistry and natural products chemistry, microbiology; and for health care scientists and professionals working in the fields of public health and infectious diseases. It will also be of interest to anyone concerned about health issues and particularly to those who are conscious of the benefits of health food and natural products.”

Buy Now

Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell

aroma-the-cultural-history-of-smell

written by: Constance Classen, David Howes, Anthony Synnot
published: 1994
page count: 248
list price (US): $69.95

Publisher’s blurb: “Smell is a social phenomenon, invested with particular meanings and values by different cultures. Odors can enforce social structures or transgress them, unite people or divide them, empower or disempower. This book breaks the “olfactory silence” of modernity by offering the first comprehensive exploration of the cultural role of odors in Western history – from antiquity to the present – and in a wide variety of non-Western societies. Its topics range from the medieval concept of the “odor of sanctity”, to the aromatherapies of South America, and from olfactory stereotypes of gender and ethnicity in the modern West to the role of smell in post-modernity.”
Robert Tisserand about the authors: “I met Constance and David in 1995, when Constance gave a presentation at an aromatherapy conference that I organized. She spoke on “A Short History of the Role of Smell in Medicine.”

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What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life

what-the-nose-knows

written by: Avery Gilbert
published: 2008
page count: 290
list price (US): $39.99

Robert Tisserand about the author: “Avery describes himself as a “psychologist, smell scientist and entrepreneur” – certainly, few people know more about the sense of smell. This beautifully written popular science book perfectly blends the author’s rich personal experience with fact. In this entertaining and enlightening journey through the world of aroma he elegantly dismantles some popular myths, illuminates the latest scientific discoveries, and offers keen observations on modern culture. From brain-imaging laboratories to the high-stakes world of scent marketing, What the Nose Knows takes us on a tour of the strange and surprising world of smell. I met Avery at the second Psychology of Perfumery conference, in 1991.”

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The Hidden Power of Smell: How Chemicals Influence Our Lives and Behavior

the-hidden-power-of-smell

written by: Paul A. Moore
published: 2016
page count: 214
list price (US): $29.99

Amazon blurb: “The main purpose of the book is to provide insight into an area that humans often take for granted. There are wonderful and exciting stories of organisms using chemical signals as a basis of a sophisticated communication system. In many instances, chemical signals can provide more detailed and accurate information than any other mode of communication, yet this world is hidden from us because of our focus on visual and auditory signals. Although we have a diversity of senses available to us, humans are primarily auditory and visual animals.”

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The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell

the-scent-of-desire

written by: Rachel Herz
published: 2007
page count: 266
list price (US): $14.99

Amazon blurb: “The Scent of Desire is the definitive psychological study of the importance of smell in our lives, from nourishment to procreation to our relationships with other people and the world at large. Located in the same part of the brain that processes emotion, memory, and motivation, this most essential of senses is imperative to our physical and emotional well-being. It was crucial to our ancestors’ existence and it remains so today, profoundly shaping our emotional, physical, and even sexual lives.”

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The Scented Ape: The Biology and Culture of Human Odour (Studies on Individual Development)

the-scented-ape

written by: Michael Stoddart
published: 1990
page count: 186
list price (US): $67.00

From the publisher’s blurb: “Examines the sense of smell in humans, comparing it with the known functions of the same sense in other animals. Odorous cues play a role in sexual physiology and behavior in animals and there are claims that odor can play the same role in humans. The place of odors and scents in aesthetics and in psychoanalysis serves to illustrate the link between the emotional centers and the brain. The book presents arguments to explain the way in which our ancestral past has given rise to our modern day olfactory enigmas. Containing a glossary and chapter summaries the book will be accessible to a wide audience.”
Robert Tisserand about the author: “I met Michael at the first Psychology of Perfumery conference in 1986, where we were both giving presentations. If you visit this page, you will see him right behind George Dodd.”

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Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent

fragrant-the-secret-life-of-scent

written by: Mandy Aftel
published: 2014
page count: 288
list price (US): $27.95

Amazon blurb: “In addition to providing a riveting initiation into the history, natural history, and philosophy of scent, Fragrant imparts the essentials of scent literacy and includes recipes for easy-to-make fragrances and edible, drinkable, and useful concoctions that reveal the imaginative possibilities of creating with—and reveling in—aroma. Vintage line drawings make for a volume that will be a treasured gift as well as a great read.”

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Healing Civilizations: The Search for Therapeutic Essential Oils and Nutrients

written by: Nadim A. Shaath
published: 2017
page count: 320
list price (US): $65.00

Extracted from Perfumer&Flavorist review: “With a foot firmly planted in a modern science and medicine, Shaath rekindles the magic and mystery of ancient herbal medicine and botanical extracts. This large coffee table book in vibrant color with lay-flat pages is a fascinating treatise on the history of the natural world. It includes an up-to-date review, monographs of 70 of the most important (in terms of use) botanical extracts of a wide variety, and their methods of extraction – all augmented with terrific photographs of exotic locations, botanicals and processes. The book begins with a historical perspective from Egypt and Greece and progresses through the various geographical, historical locations and events with a scientific and spiritual passion for the world of nature’s bounties and lessons.”

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Sacred Luxuries: Fragrance, Aromatherapy, and Cosmetics in Ancient Egypt

sacred-luxuries

written by: Lise Manniche
published: 1999
page count: 160
list price (US): $73.29

From the publisher’s blurb: “The Egyptians attached great importance to perfumes and cosmetics, which men and women wore to make themselves attractive and alluring, to restore vitality and good health, and as a means of venerating the gods and of negotiating a passage to the realm of the hereafter. In this lavishly illustrated, oversized book, Lise Manniche looks at the role played by scents and cosmetics in ancient Egyptian society and discusses their preparation – in some cases providing actual recipes. Drawing on Arabic and other sources, Manniche explores the application of perfumes in ritual and on social occasions, and examines the erotic connotations of scent in Egyptian art and poetry. Fragrant remedies, the central element in ancient medicine, are fully discussed.”

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Short History of the Art of Distillation

short-history-of-the-art-of-distillation

written by: R.J. Forbes
published: 1948
page count: 406
list price (US): $25.00

Robert Tisserand on the book: “This book is not a modern, “how-to” distillation text. It is also not really a “short history” – it’s a very detailed one, spanning the years 1,000 to 1780. It includes an intriguing discussion of the years 100 to 900, and how close some came during this period to discovering true distillation. Includes over 200 beautiful black and white woodcuts.”

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The Treasure of Euonymus

written by: Konrad Gesner 
translated by: Peter Morwyn
published: 1559
page count: 444
list price (US): $73.29

Robert Tisserand on the book: “When I first saw a 1559 copy of this book in the Bodleian Library in Oxford in the 1980s, I really did feel I had discovered a hidden treasure. It struck me then that this was the first book ever written on aromatherapy, though the author did not use that word. As far as I know, this is the only 16th century text on essential oils and hydrosols that is currently in print, in English. The only catch is that it’s hard to read because it’s a facsimile reprint (basically a photocopy) of 16th century English very Gothic script. So “s” often looks like “f”, “the” is spelled “ye”, spellings are often weird, and so on. But it’s a truly fascinating read, full of recipes, practical if rather antiquated information, and references to much older knowledge from authors such as Dioscorides and Avicenna.”

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Harvest to Hydrosol Distill Your Own Exquisite Hydrosols at Home

harvest-to-hydrosol

written by: Ann Harman
published: 2015
page count: 240
list price (US): $45.95

From Aromaweb review: “With nearly 20 years of distillation experience, Harvest to Hydrosol is written by one of the most experienced and respected hydrosol distillers in the world. Author Ann Harman provides an enlightening and thorough introduction and background into hydrosols and the world of hydrosol distillation. While Harvest to Hydrosol is written primarily for those interested in actively pursuing the distillation of hydrosols, it is also an absolute must-have addition to the libraries of everyone that sells, utilizes, studies and educates others about these precious waters.”

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375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols

375-essential-oils-and-hydrosols

written by: Jeanne Rose
published: 199
page count: 240
list price (US): $16.95

Amazon blurb: “This thorough guide profiles 375 different essential oils according to botanical family, habit and growth, chemical components, and actions. Historical notes and lore, often from Chinese alchemy as well as western botanical sources, are featured. Essays on evergreens, lavender, chamomile, jasmine, and more fill out important categories. Graceful botanical illustrations illuminate the text.”

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Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy

hydrosols-the-next-aromatherapy

written by: Suzanne Catty
published: 2001
page count: 290
list price (US): $24.95

Publisher’s blurb: “Hydrosols are the pure, water-based solutions created when essential oils are steam distilled. Through this process, a potent, yet subtle form of medicine is created, one that can be ingested as well as applied directly to the skin. Hydrosols are ideal for use with children, animals, and those with fragile immune systems. Suzanne Catty details the specifics of 67 hydrosols, provides formulas to treat more than 50 health concerns, and offers 40 delicious recipes in which hydrosols can be used. Her section on pets will help owners deal with urinary tract and digestive problems as well as grooming and odor issues.”
Robert Tisserand quoted on the back cover: “Suzanne Catty performs a great service to us all in bringing forth from obscurity this aspect of plant medicine, which is both ancient and modern.”

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Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy: A Guide for Health Professionals

understanding-hydrolats

written by: Len Price & Shirley Price
published: 2004
page count: 300
list price (US): $57.95

Amazon blurb: “Distilled waters, or hydrolats, are therapeutic in many ways, and yet little has been written to clarify their properties and clinical applications. This book details the nature, properties (where known), and nomenclature of hydrolats, and gathers in one source the sure and sensible facts about distilled waters. Already used by aromatherapists interested in extending their therapeutic range, this book provides all therapists with the confidence to practice safely with a solid understanding of the value of hydrolats.”

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The Art of Aromatherapy: The Healing and Beautifying Properties of the Essential Oils of Flowers and Herbs

the-art-of-aromatherapy

written by: Robert Tisserand
published: 1977
page count: 324
list price (US): $19.95

This was the first book in English on aromatherapy.
Amazon reviewer: “As a serious aromatherapist, I highly recommend this book. The subject matter that Tisserand delves into is quite diverse, and extremely interesting. The basics of essential oils are explained, which ties in nicely with a descriptive narrative of their use in ancient times. Chinese principles of Yin/Yang, life force, and organics are discussed. Reasons why aromas affect us are presented in detail, followed by uses of oils in the specific body systems, as well as those are used for treating the mind. The book introduces baths, various massage techniques, and skin care utilizing oils. Also provided are many simple and useful recipes. The second half of this excellent book discusses 29 essential oils in great detail. What is totally unique are the authors’ tables. They compare odor intensity, evaporation rate, whether an oil is Yin or Yang, and which planet rules it!”

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Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy: The First Book on Aromatherapy

gattefosses-aromatherapy

written by: René-Maurice Gattefossé (edited by Robert Tisserand)
published: 1993 (original French edition: 1937)
page count: 164
list price (US): $27.95

Robert Tisserand on the book: “An English translation of the 1937 book that coined the word ‘aromatherapy’, this book is mainly of historical interest. Gattefossé was a chemist who worked in his family’s fragrance business, and in the early 1900s he began collecting material about the therapeutic properties of essential oils. Included are over 50 case studies from doctors, many relating to wounds sustained by French soldiers during the First World War. The author briefly describes how he successfully used lavender oil to treat a burn he sustained in his laboratory after an explosion. This event has taken on a mythical dimension, which has him instinctively plunging his burned hand into the nearest available liquid. The truth is slightly more mundane – he applied the oil intentionally when the wound became infected – but it was still an inspirational event for him. In addition to abscesses, ulcers and war wounds, there are cases relating to gynecology, urology, dermatology and veterinary medicine.”

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The Practice of Aromatherapy: A Classic Compendium of Plant Medicines and Their Healing Properties

the-practice-of-aromatherapy

written by: Jean Valnet (edited by Robert Tisserand)
published: 1982
page count: 280
list price (US): $18.95

Amazon blurb: “This classic manual provides detailed evidence for the efficacy of plant medicine. Valnet effectively bridges the gap between the tradition of healing with herbs and the advances of modern medicine, showing, in scientific terms, why plant medicine works, and making an impassioned plea for curtailing our use of dangerous chemical therapies.”

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Marguerite Maury’s Guide to Aromatherapy: The Secret of Life and Youth

Marguerite-maurys-guide-to-aromatherapy

written by: Marguerite Maury
published: 1996 (original French edition 1961)
page count: 240
list price (US): $47.47

Amazon blurb: “First published in 1961, with this book Marguerite Maury re-established the reputation of aromatherapy in France. In Britain, it was greeted with skepticim, but can now be re-assessed as the valuable reference book it is. A gold-mine of research, it contains information on a vast number of topics—health, beauty, diet, cooking, herbs, essential oils, and treatments.”

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