Thursday, March 12, 2015

Valerie Worwood's The Fragrant Mind: Pathway To The Mind Comments

Flower of the Lemon Tree courtesy of Thiagofest at
You know how it is-- you buy a 'reference book' from Amazon and you use it just as that-- when something comes up that you must know.  But you do not read the book from page 1 on through to the end.  That is exactly how I have treated this book, "The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion " by Valerie Ann Worwood.  So far.  But now I am going to read the entire book.  And review it as I go (big shout-out to my friends on the Facebook page Pure Therapeutic Essential Oils and the People Who Use Them)(<--Join us.  Keep me accountable :p )

Many years ago when I was more thoroughly immersed in essential oils-- using them daily, maybe over-using them daily, spending a huge sum monthly to keep myself viable as a distributor for an essential oils MLM-- I read V. A. Worwood's "The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy".  I was very impressed with her knowledge and the skills that she passed on.  When I mentioned this to another, more seasoned eo person she suggested that V.A.W. was not the 'real article'-- that she 'was said' to have plagiarized much of her material.  I was shocked.  I talked this over with a long-time friend who asked me, in her down-to-earth, no-BS style (for which I love her): "Honestly, Cynthia, do you think that this information hasn't been floating around for decades, maybe hundreds of years? Plagiarize?  Come on.  Worwood is just smart enough to get out there and share it before some of the pharmaceutical-grade oils guys got hold of it."  (If you get my drift).

Valerie Ann Worwood has been a practicing aromatherapist for twenty years, actually plying her arts with 'royalty and heads of state' and other celebrities as her bi-line states.  Her homebase is in England where she works out of her own clinic.  In research she has a particular interest on aromatherapy and its effects on endometriosis and infertility.  She teaches and conducts workshops internationally.  She has served on the executive councils of the International Federation of Aromatherapists and the Aromatherapy Organizations Council.

The Fragrant Mind is divided into four parts, and fourteen chapters:
Part 1: Pathways to the Mind
Part 2: Emotional Healing and Aromatherapy
Part 3: Aroma-Genera: Human Characteristics and Personalities of Essential Oils and
Part 4: Appendices dealing with Safety Data,  Therapeutic Components of Essential Oils and Absolutes, Suppliers, Useful Addresses, Notes, Bibliography and Index

What Are Essential Oils?

Worwood starts by talking about the history of plants and their powerful healing essences.  Did you know that the word chemistry derives from chemia which means plant juice.  Is that not the most intriguing realization?

  She goes on to a paragraph of descriptions of how different plants, and plant parts, are distilled or otherwise processed to produce the essential oils.  Science, of course, is quite taken with the isolating of various compounds in these essential oils-- the supposed "healing" compounds, etc.

 But, if you mix all of a plants isolated compounds together in a pot you will not get the essential oils you were hoping to replicate!  I recently read T. Colin Campbell's Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition in which he did a pretty fair job of describing the modern trend of reductionism-- highlighting the individual, isolated components and 'selling' their qualities to the un-knowing consumer without their realizing that plants are meant to be consumed as whole entities, that you gain the benefits of the whole, not of the isolated parts.  The same is true of essential oils.  "It is the synergistic effect of all the components that makes an essential oil what it is (p. 13, The Fragrant Mind)"

When you 'blend' various oils you always get something that is much more than the sum of the two oils' "healing" components... fascinating!

That's a small chunk of chapter 2.  I assure you that this book is a mine of gems that will amp your understanding of aromatherapy and essential oils far beyond where you currently are.   I will continue to do random chunks of information from this fascinating tome.

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