What sets Young Living apart from other essential oils? I get this question a lot. Are they really better than all the other options out there?
Over the past couple of years there have been numerous essential oil companies popping up, claiming to sell 100% pure essential oils. It can be difficult to distinguish which oils are the real deal, since this is an unregulated industry. Companies can put “100% pure” on their labels, without it really being true. An essential oil company can label a bottle as pure oil if it has just one drop of pure essential oil in the bottle.
Sometimes oil distillers stretch their product with similar smelling but cheaper oils. For example, peppermint oil is frequently adulterated with corn mint and cinnamon oil is often mostly cassia leaf oil. Much of the lavender oil exported from France is from the hybrid called lavandin and is grown in China, Russia, France & Tasmania. It is brought into France and cut with synthetic linalyl acetate to improve the fragrance. Then they add propylene glycol or solvents that have no smell to increase the volume. It is exported as lavender oil. Young Living is the only company in the US with real lavender (lavendula augustifolia offcianalus) grown from original seed stock.
The vast majority of essential oils from other companies are extracted using high heat, high pressure, and chemical solvents. Although the final product may still contain the aroma of the plant, these harsh processing methods destroy the therapeutic qualities of the oils. Using lesser-quality oils for therapeutic purposes is never recommended and can be extremely toxic. Since essential oils are the concentrated essence of the plant, any contaminants in the soil or on the plant will become present in the oil. This is another reason why quality matters!
WHAT DOES THERAPEUTIC-GRADE MEAN?
Prior to Young Living there were NO standards by which to measure therapeutic quality of essential oils as the AFNOR standards that exist were developed for the perfume industry. Gary Young actually coined the term “therapeutic-grade” in regards to essential oils to distinguish between the two. The key to producing a therapeutic grade essential oil is to preserve as many of the delicate aromatic compounds within the essential oil as possible. Most of these elements are very fragile and are destroyed by high temperature and high pressure.
Young Living distills oils at minimum pressures and temperatures to gently coax the oil and all of its compounds into the finished product, even though significant money, time, and labor can be saved by distilling at high pressures and high temperatures, like many companies do. High pressure/high temperature distillation may produce an oil with the fragrance compounds of an oil, but not with the beneficial compounds. Young Living never uses solvents to finish off the distilling process as many companies do.
12 Questions to ask when you’re choosing an essential oil company:
1. Does their company own any farms on which to raise herbs for oils? And if they do, are they new farms on land formerly polluted with herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals that contain residuals from the past, or are they farming land that is clean, which has never been cultivated or has been untilled for at least the last 50 years?
2. Does their company have their own fully equipped testing laboratory to verify an oil’s composition?
3. Do they have anyone on staff with a trained nose who can analyze oils by their smell? (There are less than 200 people in the world with noses sufficiently trained to discern the chemistry of a fragrance.)
4. If their company purchases oils from outside suppliers, do they visit the distilleries and farms of those suppliers periodically to observe if the herbs are grown organically, i.e. without pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers?
5. Do they know if the grower has a testing laboratory on the farm to determine when the crop is at its peak for oil harvesting?
6. Do they know if the crops were actually harvested at their peak time and, if so, was there an inordinate delay in taking them to the still and into the cookers?
7. Do they know if their distillery personnel understand the art and science of distilling, exactly how to pack the cookers, how to administer the steam, how to maintain minimum temperatures and pressures throughout the cooker, and how to continuously monitor the process throughout distillation to make sure the oil produced contains all of its components in the proper proportions?
8. If their supplier makes a mistake in the distillation or harvesting processes that results in an inferior grade of oil, does that supplier sell the oil anyway or do they discard it?
9. Do they know if the the cookers in the distilleries of their suppliers have domed lids or cone shaped lids? Most stills use dome-shaped lids. Cone topped cookers deliver a better grade of oil than dome tops.
10. Do they know if their suppliers supplement the distillation process with solvents to extract additional oil from the plant matter?
11. Do they know if their suppliers bottle their oils directly from the distillery without modifying the composition of the natural oil by adding anything or taking anything away?
12. Do they know if their company has tested their company’s oils side by side with Young Living oils in the same lab to make a fair comparison? And if so, where is the data?
*Dr. David Stewart is an Executive Officer and Co-founder of the Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education (CARE International), and the author of Healing Oils of the Bible
With Young Living, you know that the answer to all of these questions is always “Yes.”