Aromatherapy Books for the Beginner

As a certified and practicing aromatherapist, I have more books than I care to admit to on my own aromatherapy bookshelf; however, if you are just starting out in the world of aromatherapy, you might be more than a little confused as to which book you should purchase first. There are many aromatherapy books on the market for the beginner, but the following books are my personal recommendations for the beginner, based on my own research, experience and ease of use.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils in therapeutic practice for the treatment of particular health problems. Unfortunately, the term aromatherapy is misused by the fragrance industry and many products are described as aromatherapy when they are in fact not a true definition of the subject. The following books are an introduction to the world of therapeutic aromatherapy practice regarding the use of true essential oils.

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art is written by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green. According to the information provided on the back cover of the book, Kathi Keville has had more than forty years in the field of aromatherapy, massage and herbalism. Mindy Green has also worked in the area of natural products, aromatherapy and herbalism for over thirty five years.

I find this book extremely easy to read and understand from the point of view as a beginner to aromatherapy. It also covers what I consider to be the basics for an an introduction to aromatherapy. In addition, there are a lot of aromatherapy recipes provided in the book so that you can make products such as aromatherapy lotions, scrubs, creams and other natural beauty and skincare products.

Other chapters in the book cover the history of aromatherapy, scent, the major systems of the body and how they relate to essential oils, massage, blending, chemistry of essential oils and a profile of some of the most popular essential oils themselves. Safety precautions for using both herbs and essential oils are also discussed.

Aromatherapy Workbook by Marcel Lavabre

This book should not be confused with Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price (discussed below). This particular aromatherapy book is written by Frenchman Marcel Lavabre who now lives in the United States. Lavabre has had the experience of an education in the French world of aromatherapy before moving to the United States in 1981, when aromatherapy as a profession or industry was little known.

The Aromatherapy Workbook covers the areas of aromatherapy in history, the extraction of essential oils, the chemistry of essential oils, botanical families in relation to essential oils, blending and essential oils themselves. I particularly like the chemistry section that has diagrams of the main essential oil chemical components.

Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price

Another book by the same name but by a different author, this Aromatherapy Workbook is a great introduction to the newcomer to aromatherapy. However, it is, at this current time out of print, but you can still pick up a used copy via secondhand bookstores and through

Aromatherapy Workbook is written by world renowned British aromatherapist Shirley Price whose daughter Penny Price continues the family tradition today with her own aromatherapy business and school in the UK, Penny Price Aromatherapy. Price’s book covers the history of aromatherapy, extraction methods for essential oils, the chemistry of essential oils, plant families, safety of essential oils, carrier oils and personal case studies (and tips) of uses of essential oils.

Other Aromatherapy Books for the Beginner

There are several other aromatherapy books that are also suitable for the beginner to aromatherapy, such as The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless, but this book, like several others focuses predominately on one particular aspect of aromatherapy (in this case, essential oil profiles). The books which I have discussed above give a good, overall introduction to aromatherapy. However, there isn’t a book that covers everything that you would like to know about aromatherapy, whether you are a beginner or an advance student, so you will probably find that whichever book you buy first, it will be the first of many in your aromatherapy library!


  • Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, Kathi Keville, Mindy Green
  • Aromatherapy Workbook, Marcel Lavabre
  • Aromatherapy Workbook, Shirley Price
  • Author’s own experience

Photo by Simon Cocks


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