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review 2020-06-25 12:02
The Secrets of Ayurveda
The Secrets of Ayurveda - Harish Chandra Verma,Gopi Warrier,Karen Sullivan

by Gopi Warrior, Dr. Harish Verma, Karen Sullivan




I've been aware of Ayurveda for a while but this is the first time I sat down and read a book about it. This one is divided into four chapters: Ayurveda: The Science of Life, The Ayurdedic Approach, Diet and Lifestyle and Practitioner Led or Self-Help?


The first chapter explains what Ayurveda is and gives history and a method to determine your Ayurvedic constitution. It points out that medicine is one "spoke on the wheel" of a holistic lifestyle approach to promote balance and good health, thereby making it easier to combat illness and mostly prevent it.


It explains that illness affects both body and mind and not just one in isolation of the other. It claims that modern illnesses like chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome have been successfully treated with Ayurveda when modern medicine has failed.


It has its roots in Hinduism and both date back over 5000 years, yet stay dynamic to keep up with modern conditions. There are some surprising facts cited about the history, like knowledge of cells and microscopic organisms in a book written 2000 years before the microscope was invented. There's a strong spiritual connection with the practice, yet it embraces science and finds a balance between the two.


The book is filled with colourful pictures of the sort you might see in Hindu texts or temples and these are accompanied by snippets of relevant information. Over all the book is beautifully laid out.


Naturally the Hindu belief system that Ayurveda is based in comes into it and the concept of Karma is explained in full as well as the belief in reincarnation connected with it. In some ways the book is repetitive as the basic concepts get restated many times, but I can see why it is important to drive a different way of thinking into the average western mind.


I admit to feeling some scepticism about the physical types and how it affects the person to be one or another. It seemed too generalised to me. Having said that, I fell heavily into the Kapha category. The second chapter expands on methods and the third chapter, as the title suggests, deals with diet and lifestyle. The final chapter explains when you need to see a practitioner and how to treat yourself at home.


Overall I found the book very informative and easy to follow. While I might not be in complete alignment with the beliefs expressed, they are explained well and I felt the book covered the subject very thoroughly and clearly.

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review 2020-06-08 15:52
Yellow Monkey Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine
The Yellow Monkey Emperor's Classic of Chinese Medicine - Damo Mitchell,John Spencer Hill,John Spencer Hill

by Damo Mitchell, Spencer Hill


This is like a complete course in Chinese medicine in graphic novel form. It's mostly in full color and explains the correspondences between ailments of internal organs and symptoms that might be in physical form or personality clues in a sort of parable form.


The book explains meridian point locations according to Traditional Chinese medicine as well as other esoteric terms including Zang Fu syndromes. While I've never been sure what I thought about Chinese medicine and its growing popularity in the west, this at least explains it in a simple and even amusing form.


The Preface explains that Chinese medicine is largely about identifying underlying causes of disharmony in the body. It also explains that the book illustrates 78 Zang Fu syndromes and that anything else that might be out of balance can be assessed once these are learned.


The cartoon characters who take us through the book include the Monkey Emperor, which should be a familiar idea to anyone who has followed any Chinese literature, and a wise bee. We also have a pig, a dog, a donkey, a horse, a duck, a goat, a snake, a rat, a dragon and various other creatures like a sheep and a couple of bovines.


Bee Bo explains to the Monkey Emperor the basic concepts of Chinese medicine is a straight forward way that anyone could follow and absorb. Through the Monkey Emperor asking questions, the reader will learn a lot about the basics in very little time. About 15 pages in, it becomes more visual with cartoon images of our animal characters.


The books reads fast from this point in full graphic novel form. It's entertaining and holds attention, yet many concepts are explained in this simple and visual form. The emphasis is on symptoms, including behavioral and mood symptoms in concert with the physical, and in dianosis. While herbs and acupuncture needles are referred to as treatment, no detail if given about these cures.


The book is divided into sections based on seasons which are relevant to the ailments they cover. I found it both interesting and entertaining, though I had hoped for information on what herbs might be used for the conditions and maybe even accupressure points. It is meant to be a starting point and in that it succeeds. I have a much better idea of what Chinese medicine is about for having read it and I enjoyed the humor along the way.

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review 2020-06-01 14:29
The Hearth Witch's Kitchen Herbal
The Hearth Witch's Kitchen Herbal: Culinary Herbs for Magic, Beauty, and Health - Anna Franklin

by Anna Franklin


A very thorough book on kitchen herbs, if a bit dry. This one focuses on medicinal use of herbs you may already have in your kitchen, or could easily pick up at the supermarket.


It explains the difference between infusions and decoctions, tinctures and glycerites, etc.


It gives internal and external remedies and detailed information for making salves, balms, poltices and infused oils and there's a section on cosmetic use for hair rinses, facial scrubs, masks and toners.


An A-Z herbal is included as well as recipes for using each one, correspondences and magical virtues. History of each herb actually is very interesting. The book is well researched and very informative.


It finishes off with weights and measures converting metric to cups and includes a recipe index before the regular index. Overall a good reference book to keep handy if you're into natural medicine or kitchen witchery.

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review 2020-06-01 14:24
The Healing Powers of Essential Oils
The Healing Powers of Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Nature's Most Magical Medicine - Cal Orey

by Cal Orey


It's encouraging that the Foreword of the book was written by someone with a Ph.D in Biological Science. I could warm up to this idea of essential oils having healing properties.


I just finished reading a book on essential oils that warns against ingesting them, so I was a little surprised to see an emphasis on ingestion and using them in recipes! The tone of the author's writing struck me as a little new age and trying too hard to convince, but the information was good. As much as I love the scent of Lavender, I have no interest in eating it, considering I don't even like Parma Violets, but I found the information on olfactory sense and how it affects the mind and body of interest.


The second chapter is about the history of essential oils, or at least starts out that way. It gives more of a time line than a comprehensive history and delves into usage and cautions by the end. The book as a whole is a little scattered and non-linear in relation to most non-fiction books and often goes into the autobiographical before getting to more general information.


The weight loss chapter had an interesting concept about scents diverting us from eating fattening foods which bears some personal research. I did wish the author would quit going on about the Mediterranean diet and giving us health food recipes, as I didn't choose this book for food or lifestyle advice, just to learn more about essential oils. The idea of using cinnamon or ginger oils in a recipe where you could use the actual spice didn't sit well.


There was a long medical uses segment which I will refer back to and try as needed. It's mostly for things like colds and skin ailments, what you would expect to treat with this medium. This flowed neatly into Aromatherapy and Spa treatments, followed by a chapter on scenting cosmetics with some recipes that bear testing.


Next is a chapter called 27 Essential Oils for a Healthy Household, but there is no list of these 27 oils. There is, however, some very interesting ideas for scented household cleaning products made with things like baking soda rather than harsh chemicals.


The book goes over trends, making scented candles, and to my alarm, a chapter on using oils on babies and cats which were strictly warned against in other books on the subject and this makes me very uncomfortable.


Then it wraps up with food recipes that I won't be trying. As I said, I'd rather use the spices than a concentrated oil. Resources for obtaining oils are provided, but all American.


Overall the book had some very interesting information, but it wasn't organised as well as it could be and the safety of using oils in food, on babies and on cats is something I feel is just wrong here.

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review 2020-05-10 14:46
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Essential Oils
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Essential Oils - Sandra Kynes

by Sandra Kynes


After a substantial introduction telling about the author's personal history with essential oils, there is some well researched history of their use in various times and cultures. 


We are told how to differentiate pure from synthetic commercial oils and about their processes. One thing I really liked seeing was safety guidelines and specifically safety for children and pets.


Details are given about shelf life and how to choose and blend oils. Perfume notes are explained, which I haven't seen in other books on the subject.


It goes into basics in a clear and concise manner and then into 'remedies'. After aromatherapy and self-care, it gets a bit new age with chakras and magical uses.


There's an interesting balance of practical and woo. The profiles of individual oils are well-informed and would satisfy any academic. We finish off with conversions and two different glossaries. Over all a well-written and pretty thorough book on the subject.

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