I first wrote the first edition in 1995. The inspiration to write the book in the first place was to create a handbook and textbook for aromatherapy students. These were still early days and aromatherapy was still in its infancy and was a new and exciting therapy.
By 2003 when the second edition was published aromatherapy was being used by mainstream health care professionals and was one of the most popular forms of natural therapies.
While aromatherapy has continued to blossom as one of the most popular forms of health care, it is still the least understood and often the most vulnerable to commercial exploitation. Many of the issues raised in the first and second edition of the book remain unresolved.
Aromatherapy as a health care profession is at a very challenging cross road. More than ever before, aromatherapists need to stand united. Aromatherapy has the opportunity to make significant contribution to the way conventional health care is provided, however for this to happen we must establish a framework that allows aromatherapy to develop into a profession. There are some who suggest aromatherapy is not a profession and that it will be difficult for aromatherapy to ever become a profession. I would like to prove them wrong.
We must also convince health regulators to understand the unique holistic principles of aromatherapy and to find other ways of measuring health care outcomes that are not solely reliant on the pharmacological model. Essential oils are one of the very few natural remedies that can be used in a holistic way to balance the body, mind and spirit.
One area of aromatherapy that has often been criticised is the lack of scientific evidence. It is exciting to see the enormous growth in clinical evidence and scientific research on essential oils. These studies are beginning to confirm many of the traditional actions that had been assigned to essential oils.
It is for these reasons that I decided to update and rewrite The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy.
The third edition of The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy has undergone significant changes. It has become necessary to publish the book as two volumes. Volume I – Foundations and Materia Medica and Volume II – Science and Therapeutics. Volume II should be available by 2020.
Volume I is now a massive 637 pages, 37 pages more than the entire second edition!
It contains two units – Foundations and a very detailed Materia Medica with over 120 essential oil monographs.
So much of the information in the second edition has been updated and revised. The essential oil monographs have undergone considerable transformation with new sub sections on adulteration, pharmacopoeias and standards and a very detailed section summarising the pharmacological and clinical studies. I have expanded the section on the subtle aromatherapy, the personality profiling and the energetics of essential oils. There is a new section on blending for aromatherapy and perfumery purposes.
I have also provided detailed references and also have a section that indicates if the essential oils are referenced in any other pharmacopeia or standards.
I have included a new chapter on botany. I was a little surprised that I had not discussed the botanical origins of essential oils in earlier editions. I am sure this will be a welcome section.
Many of the actions traditionally assigned to essential oils have been appropriated from old herbals. We know that the properties often attributed to essential oil are not necessarily going to be the same as the herb. This is why I have expanded the monographs to include the use of the plant in herbal medicine and where necessary I have clearly explained that it may be more appropriate to use the herb rather than the essential oil.
In the 2nd edition I often referred to the ‘typical chemical composition’ of the oil. We now know that there is no such thing as a typical essential oil composition. Most of the essential oil monographs have had the section on chemical composition updated. We also now know so much more about the botanical origins of essential oils and how so many ecological variables can influence the chemistry of the essential oils. As a result, there is now a new section dedicated to the role of botany and understanding the botanical factors that influence the quality of essential oils.
In looking to the future, we sometime need to understand the past. I am very excited to have expanded the history of aromatherapy, to take into account the spiritual and cultural context in which scent has been used. This history of the role of scent is also the history of aromatherapy.
Volume II will include the unit on Essential Issues which will address all the latest science, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of essential oils. There will be an entirely new Unit on Holistic framework which will include chapter on the integration of aromatherapy with other holistic practices such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese, subtle therapies, scent and personality and the role of nutrition and other naturopathic practices.
Volume II will also contain the unity on practical matters and the clinical index unit will be totally rewritten and updated.
Please enjoy reading the third edition and thank you so much.