French Aromatherapy – Book Review

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French Aromatherapy


By Jen O’Sullivan

Copyright 2016 Create Space Publishing

The cover of this book is pleasing to the eye. The title is geared toward people in the aromatherapy community. I asked a friend what she might think a book titled “French Aromatherapy” would be about and she replied “a romance”. Although the subtitle does clear up the books purpose. The author’s synopsis on the back speaks to her excitement in using essential oils, but also indicates that she will be touching on a controversial subject.

The beginning two sections are a brief introduction of the author and a quick introduction of Latin binomials. For those that are new to essential oils, generally an oil will be referred to with a common name Lavender and a Latin binomial in italics Lavendula angustifolia which indicates the plant genus and species. She utilizes this chapter to indicate all of the essential oils she may reference so that readers will be able to see this information without having to type out the Latin binomials throughout the book.

Chapter one had me a little confused as to where she was going. It is an introduction to essential oils, but she speaks a lot about the human/plant relationship. She references an article that is about the deforestation of the planet. And is concerned about people being willing to eat fast food, but questioning the need to use a plant based product. There is a paragraph that gives a brief idea of truly what an essential oils is. The author then goes into the size of essential oil molecules and her idea of how they function in the body. The chapter concludes with her recommendation of utilizing a device that will provide biofeedback or bioimpedance to better understand the health of your body.

Chapter two she does address a controversy that is occurring in the aromatherapy community. She states that there are three different schools or models of teaching aromatherapy the Anglo-Saxon (English), French, and German. As someone that has been immersed in the aromatherapy community for several years I have heard the controversy. I have only ever heard about the “French” method and English. German was a new concept and really of no importance. Briefly, supposedly the French method teaches and encourages internal use and the other two discourage it. I found it interesting that to defend her thoughts in one paragraph she states that people will say you can’t drink essential oils in water because oil and water don’t mix. Then in the next paragraph she is encouraging the reader to drink essential oils in water, but don’t use “hot” oils because oil and water don’t mix. I find it sad that she claims there is a “…ever-present “war” going on in the essential oil industry…”. I am sure that not a single person/aromatherapist in the industry wants to be at “war”!

The chapter that had me the most concerned for novice readers was chapter five. In this chapter she states that people cannot be allergic to essential oils. “It may be better to adopt the term ‘allergen-like response’ rather than ‘allergen’ or ‘allergic reaction’ based on the science behind how allergens are created.” To ensure that I understood the word allergy correctly I dug out my dictionaries. Webster’s defines an allergy as 1. altered bodily reactivity to an antigen in response to a first exposure (bee sting). To better understand though I also got out my Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary (pg.72). Allergy – An immune response to a foreign antigen that results in inflammation and organ dysfunction (it continues on). The definition of an allergen: any substance that causes a hypersensitivity reaction. It may or may not be a protein. Among common allergens are inhalants (dusts, pollens, fungi, smoke, perfumes, odors of plastics)… This chapter although has some interesting information was very alarming.

Chapters six through eight provide the authors different recommended recipes. Chapter six is for inhalation, mainly through the use of a diffuser. Chapter seven covers topical recipes such as lotions, bath salts, and roll ons. Chapter eight covers the recommendations for internal use. Throughout these chapters she rarely mentions anything that you should be concerned about (safety) when using essential oils. According to her nearly 4 million essential oil users have used them without incident (according to her “common knowledge based only on Young Living member number to date as of May 2016” pg 32 references).

The author does state within the final chapter (Chapter 10) that she is a Young Living advocate. She supports the multi-level marketing (MLM) model and believes that her company has the safest oils for ingestion. I personally have never ingested essential oils, but do know people that do and have had success with this practice. If we are going to utilize the “French” school of thought it is my understanding in France essential oils are considered a medicine sold in a pharmacy. This is in violation of the FDA’s classification of them as a cosmetic.

In summary this book is not one that I would recommend to a novice essential oil user (not an experienced one either).

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