Product Review: LabAroma

AnalysingTheBlends_homeWhen I heard about LabAroma I couldn’t resist the temptation take a look at the website. Being a bit of a closet techie it looked like something that would be fun to use and valuable for anyone doing lots of blending. The website is wonderfully simple in layout and easy to navigate. There is a short video and lots of information explaining all about LabAroma and how it works. An opportunity arose for me to try it so I jumped at the chance and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Armed with loads of questions, I made a start! The programme continues the clean and clear layout on the front page of the website. I managed to work out how to use the blending tools without reading the instructions. It is simple and intuitive, but for the complete technophobe there are easy to follow instructions. The video tutorial is now available for anyone who prefers to see it done.  I tried the programme on various tech—laptop, notebook, tablet and my Blackberry—and it adjusted to the screen size for each and worked well across all the platforms. I didn’t try it on an Apple device but would expect it to work the same. 

The process to formulate a blend is simple – you select the essential oil from the palette and drag it across to the ‘My Blend’ section. You can add as many as you want. If you’re going for a really complicated blend you can add limitless essential oils. Next comes the slightly tricky bit! You then add the percentage required for each essential oil in the blend.  I did ponder if a ratio option could be added here or a calculator using drops for people who don’t like percentages or fractions. When you’re happy with your percentages, click “calculate” and it works it out for you. There are options to start again or add more if you’re not happy with the blend. 

The blend you have created is displayed as a pie chart with the chemical breakdown listed. This can be saved as a .pdf, printed or added to the ‘My Blends’ area. I loved this option as it means I could have gas chromatigraph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) data sheets for the blends that I supply as part of my schools’ work. I could also play around with the percentages to see if I could create a more effective blend. On the LabAroma+ option the Safety data/warnings about the blend are displayed for various countries: EU, Australia, USA and Japan. This option, although quite a bit more expensive would be invaluable to anyone making products for the retail market. There is also an effect section which lists in descending order the body systems that the blend would be effective in treating. This would be great when blending for more than one condition.

There is an option to add your own oils if you have the GC/MS breakdown. If the components aren’t currently listed you can request for it to be added. I learned they would be adding and updating the oils on a regular basis. Be aware that when selecting the essential oils you can only see the common names. I missed Cistus on the first look through as it is listed as Rock Rose. This isn’t a great problem and it would probably complicate the clean buttons for each oil. You can select each oil button and get a GC/MS data reading. The profiles for the individual oils are still to be added at the time of writing this review.

Another feature is the search by component feature. You can carry out a search by setting up a less or greater than percentage field for a component. You can specify more than one component which gives really precise results. There’s also a blog on the website and an option to sign up for the newsletter.

When I had finished my trial I had answered all of my initial questions. Although the initial purchase may seem a bit expensive, I can see that it would save lots of time and become an invaluable tool for any practitioner who does a lot of blending. I wish it had been around when I had trained; I will be recommending it to my students. It is simple to use, and gives results that are easy to view and utilise without you getting bogged down with loads of tech or research. From me it gets a thumbs up!

Enter to win a free 1 year subscription to LabAroma!                                                   The competition ends January 31, 2014. Send a brief (140 Character) of your favorite essential oil and a description of why you love it and what you use it for to aroma@labaroma.com. The profile descriptions will feature in LabAroma and be credited to the contributor. Each profile description given will enter the contributor into a drawing to win a years subscription to LabAroma. Enter as often as you like!  www.labaroma.com

This review was written by UK Aromatherapist Anita James and appears in the Spring Issue of the IJPHA (Vol. 2, Issue 4). www.ijpha.com

For information about Antia James visit http://essentiallyholistic-onlinetraining.com/essentially-holistic

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