By Peter Holmes
Published 2016 by Singing Dragon
I have long been a big fan of Peter Holmes’ writing. I have his original books – The Energetics of Western Herbs (Vol. I and II). I first met Peter when he spoke at a 1998 aromatherapy conference in Sydney and explained to him that it would be so amazing to have a book dedicated to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and essential oils. You cannot imagine how excited I felt when 18 years later Aromatica was published!
The first 6 chapters of Aromatica provide us with a very good grounding to many of the challenges facing aromatherapists and the essential oil industry such as quality control, sourcing essential oils, essential oil safety issues and how to define essential oils as bioactive remedies.
His essential oil profiles are very detailed with lots of excellent clinical advice. Many of us love blending tips. You will love his section on synergistic combinations and complementary combinations. The way he has structured the therapeutic functions and indications makes it easy to understand the clinical applications of each essential oil.
The only challenge with Peter’s book is that there is no introductory chapter describing all the TCM terms that he uses to describe the functions and indications of the essential oils.
I know several aromatherapists that have Aromatica; however, they explained to me that they found some sections so difficult to understand and read. For example, in the Chinese Medicine Functions and Indications section of German chamomile, Peter states:
- Activates the Qi, relaxes constraint, harmonizes the Shen and relieves pain
- Calms the Liver, descends the Yang, extinguishes wind and relieves spasms
- Nourishes Liver and Heart Yin, settles the Heart and calms the Shen
- Dispels wind-damp-heat from the skin and meridians and relieves pain.
This perfectly describes all the therapeutic activities of German chamomile within a TCM concept but unless you have read a book such as The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk, you may find such descriptions very confusing.
This is such a comprehensive book, with so much information. The only advice I would give you is to brush up on some of the TCM terminologies to fully appreciate how amazing this book is. I am eagerly anticipating Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics – Volume II: Applications and Profiles, which I believe should be out later this year.