Jane Buckle has offered a second version of the book, Clinical Aromatherapy. This is one of the few evidence-based books for clinicians, but sadly the copyright is more than a decade old without a newer version available. For those looking for more than a simple pocket guide with suggested essential oils for various ailments, this is still a helpful resource. Jane Buckle holds a PhD and that mindset is evident within her book.
The first few chapters are an introduction to aromatherapy and basic plant taxonomy, chemistry, extraction, biosynthesis and analysis, with subsequent topics on toxicity and contraindications. However, chapters four through twenty-five review various body systems and apply aromatherapy principles to the treatment of ailments within each system.
Each chapter offers an introductory discussion regarding the system itself and a review of the standard of care offered as of a decade ago from the worldview of modern medicine. The remaining portion of each chapter explores the available evidence available on the system under discussion. The endocrine chapter for example, offers a basic discussion of the intricacies of the body’s hormonal system, then discusses medical management and available resources, and finally presents a discussion on aromatherapy as it relates to premenstrual syndrome, menopause and diabetes.
The author clearly identifies evidence from anecdotal information, and when discussing either, she is thorough in her discussion. Anecdotal information for example will offer a history and most often, trace the origin of such recommendation to its rightful owner. While reading the text, there were certainly times where it was evident that the information printed is no longer valid and on only rare occasion, information within is quite simply, inaccurate. For example, the author defines the sexually transmitted disease, trichomoniasis, as a bacteria; when in fact, this is parasite. Details that may seem insignificant, but nonetheless, remind the reader to avoid using this single text as a Bible for directing how they may recommend essential oils within their own practice.
As a nurse-midwife with a passion for essential oils, this book was a wonderful find in that it is one of a limited number that offers scientific rationale for its recommendations. An intelligent discussion is offered, with a plethora of resources. It is not a book that offers recipes or gives suggestions on application, but as an educational resource for the healthcare practitioner seeking to expand their essential oil knowledge-base, this text is a good resource. It would be a true treasure if it were updated and if that day presents, I’ll be on the waiting list for purchasing my own copy.