Essential oils, whose benefits have been largely ignored by doctors in the U.S., offer a path to better health, according to this guide.
Heshelow (Phytoceramides: Anti-Aging at Its Best, 2014, etc.) makes the case for aromatherapy and essential oils in this examination of a misunderstood branch of alternative medicine. She begins with a brief overview of essential oils and how they work, followed by a history of how these substances and their forerunners have been applied over time, going back to the ancient Sumerians and perhaps even earlier. Next is a look at research into the efficacy of essential oils, which may be valuable in relieving pain, reducing anxiety, and killing drug-resistant bacteria, according to some studies. More than four-dozen pages are devoted to listing references to various scientific publications, a helpful resource for those seeking to peruse the research themselves and draw their own conclusions (though this section would function better as an appendix). Yet Heshelow, who owns a company selling monthly essential oils subscription boxes, focuses solely on the positive. Details are often fuzzy, and it’s hard for the lay reader to evaluate the evidence and determine whether the impressive claims should be taken at face value. Nonetheless, the author raises intriguing points, such as the possibility that essential oils could be harnessed to fight MRSA and other superbugs. More eyebrow-raising is the suggestion that human thought can alter the physical properties of the oils. The book is at its best when it steers clear of such claims and focuses on how people can employ the oils in their daily lives. The concluding chapters include a discussion of Heshelow’s favorites and their benefits as well as recipes for using the oils to treat insomnia, headache, stress, cold sores, acne, and other conditions. The author is clearly a true believer in the power of essential oils, and by the book’s end, even skeptical readers may be tempted to give them a try.
Makes a passionate, though hardly objective, case for using essential oils and looking beyond traditional medicine to alternative methods of healing.