CHRIST, CLEOPATRA AND KINGS—all were anointed with oil. The Bible alone includes 188 references to essential oils, and they are still cherished and widely used today. In fact, a recent
study by Zion Research predicts the global essential oil market is
growing at a CAGR of 9% and will reach $9.8 billion in sales by 2020.
Essential oils have a rich history and much of it has been
beautifully captured by Nadim
A. Shaath in his new book,
Healing Civilizations, The Search
for Therapeutic Essential Oils &
Nutrients (Cameron Books, 2017
and available on Amazon.com).
Together with photojournalist
Thomas Hartwell, Shaath traces the
routes of Marco Polo, Ibn Battuta
and Christopher Columbus. His
journey took him from Egypt, Jerusalem, Turkey and Greece to
Italy, France, Spain, Morocco, Uzbekistan, India, China, Japan and
the Americas—a 25-year odyssey where he unearthed many of
their therapeutic and aromatic benefits. During his quest, Shaath
met with farmers, scientists, industrialists, healers, and historians
to uncover the hidden power of these natural materials.
At the conclusion of his journey, the author had one key mes-
sage for his audience:
“We must go back to nature,” asserts Shaath. “Old ideas are
Benefits from Nature
He noted that, until recently, modern product formulators have
largely overlooked or avoided including natural aromas from
plants and flowers. But the author provides many good reasons to
include these ingredients in a variety of formulations. He calls essential oil blends the ultimate mixture to effectively treat a variety
of complaints. For example, anxiety, nervousness and panic may
be treated with blends of basil, coriander, rose and jasmine—all
calming and soothing oils.
Before his world travels to uncover the secrets of essential
oils and fragrances, Shaath fashioned an impressive resume
that includes a PhD in organic chemistry from the University
of Minnesota. He served as the executive vice president and
technical director at Felton Worldwide and later, founded Kato
Worldwide Ltd. Today, he is president of Alpha Research &
Development Ltd., White Plains, N Y.
Plenty of Beauty, Science and Advice
Hartwell’s photos of exotic lands, peoples and plants are visually stunning in this coffee table book and will certainly inspire
conversation. But the hard-core chemist is not ignored in Healing
Civilizations; Shaath provides details on 50 essential oils and absolutes, including physicochemical properties, regulatory status, safety
data, price and perfumery scale, countries of origin, aromatherapeu-tic properties, stability and storage condition.
As Shaath explains, “I have listed in this chapter practically
everything that the reader, or the user or quality evaluator will
need to characterize and represent each of the 50 essential oils.”
He even provides advice regarding documentation when purchasing bulk fixed oils. These include: MSDS, specification sheet,
certificate of analysis, naturalness and authenticity, Certificate of
organically grown (if applicable), and A writeup of its constituents and properties and analytical data (GC/MS) where available.
But don’t take Shaath’s word for it; he’s a firm believer in
analysis and quality control. In fact, he devoted an entire chapter
to the topic. Through a masterful blend of story-telling, commentary and knowledge of chemistry, Shaath brings out essential oils’
glorious past as well as its promising future.•
By Tom Branna • Editorial Director
An Essential Read
Industry expert Nadim Shaath takes the reader on a fascinating journey
through the history and the future of essential oils.
The author credits his wife of 50 years, Laila, for tolerating his unrelenting
commitment to this literary project—and for proofreading the entire
manuscript! Nadim and Laila Shaath are shown here at a book signing at
Intelligent Nutrients in New York City.