Thursday, July 4, 2013

Young Living Essential Oils: Answering The Questions

I have written this blog to answer all of the questions I get about why I am not a distributor for Young Living when I am such a HUGE fan of essential oils.  Hopefully this will clearly address the reasons I personally am not a distributor, and do not actively promote YL products.  It is certainly NOT my intention to offend anyone who uses and loves YL products or anyone who distributes them.  My intention is education, and awareness.  You are free to do with the information as you please!

About Young Living:

Young Living is a large distributor of essential oils founded and run by Gary Young.  This company was started in 1993, and has grown from a small company to a multi million dollar dollar business in the last twenty years.  My history with Young Living and Gary young goes way back.  My mom when to visit him for treatment shortly after I was born when he was still just a nobody natural dude down in Texas.  So I grew up knowing about Gary young, and I have used their oils off and on almost since the company first began.  I have more experience with this company, their philosophies, their issues, their oils, and their educational material than any other oil company out there.  (with NOW foods being a close second as far as companies I've had long term experience with myself.)


Young Living offers a very large selection of essential oils, both the basics and the more hard to find oils.

They grow their own Lavender, Clary Sage and a couple other herbs that they then harvest and distill themselves.

They have some fantastic blends that people have had great success using

They have a very loyal network of distributors across the nation, which makes accessing their oils much easier than it used to be when distributors were few and far between.  And you can also purchase many of their oils now too!

They have a lot of educational video's, tutorials, as well as published materials that demonstrate how to use their oils, along with recipes, etc.

Many people have been able to add a substantial amount of income to their family by working with Young Living and becoming a essential oil distributor for them.


When Gary Young first started the Young Living company, I thought that the false information he was putting out in his educational material just came from his lack of experience and over enthusiasm.  But as many years have gone by, it has become painfully obvious to me that there is either still a alarming lack of knowledge about herbs and essential oils from someone claiming to be a "world leader" in this subject, or there is a less than savory motive behind the false information he is promoting.  I don't know which it is.  But I do know much of the fasle information he is promoting boosts his business, and causes blind loyalty from his distributors and buyers.  Some of the false information is just plain bad science, but much of it promotes the false idea that Young Living is the BEST, only pure oil, that they grow all their own plants, tests their oils more than any other company, etc.  And the bottom line is this false advertising pads his pockets.  Here are a few of the quotes that are false from Gary Young, that show a lack of knowledge, or just a willingness to put out false information.

“You see, in the human body we have a substance called blood, and that blood has a very specific purpose. That purpose is to transport nutrients to the cells, to nurture and feed the cells. . . . .When we look at Essential Oils [sic], they have the same role, and play the same function in the plant, as blood does in the human body.”

This statement from Gary Young's book is just false.  Essential oils do not transport nutrients to the plant cells.  Phloem transports nutrients in plants, and xylem transports water.  Only about 5% of all plant species even contain essential oils. The other 95% would not be able to survive if plants required essential oils for nutrient transport!
Essential oils have the purpose of deterring, or in some cases attracting insects, or repelling organisms that might eat or infect the plant. Essential oils do not function as the blood of the plant.  They are actually sequestered away in tiny pockets because they can harm the delicate tissues of the plants leaves and flowers.

“Okay, how many of you ladies have seen a leaf on one of your houseplants torn or damaged? What comes out? It’s a liquid, isn’t it? It’s called the resin by some, some call it the blood of the plant. Some call it the life force of the plant but it’s the same thing, it bleeds.”

Young implies that essential oils run from the injured plant. However, essential oils do not run out because they are contained within special oil glands. The plant sequesters essential oils in these special glands because concentrated essential oils can actually harm plant cells. It would harm, not benefit, the injured plant if essential oils were to run out. The liquid that runs out an injured plant is sap, a mixture of fluids from the damaged xylem and phloem.

"The Egyptian people started collecting essential oils and placing them in alabaster jars".

This would suggest a lack of knowledge of the difference between essential oils and infused oils. We have no historical records that suggest there was any method for distilling essential oils as we know today before about the 1400's.  In ancient cultures they used infused oils, which is an entirely different product, made by an entirely different process, and much less concentrated.

"Essential oils are probably the oldest form of medicine known to mankind. "

Again, this is ridiculous.  Herbs are the oldest medicine known to mankind, not essential oils which did not begin to be distilled or used until the late 1400's.  

"All essential oils are antibacterial and antimicrobial."

This is not the case.  Some essential oils are for sure, but many have little to no antibacterial or antimicrobial properties.

"Essential oils are a complete extract from the plant"

In fact they are not.  They are only one component of the plant.  The essential oil. 

"Essential oils were used in the Bible, by the ancient Romans, By the ancient Greeks..."

Again, since the steam distillation process was not developed or used in ancient cultures, they were NOT essential oils, but infused oils, which is MUCH much different.  

"When applied to the body by rubbing on the feet, the essential oils will travel throughout the body and affect every cell, including the hair within 20 minutes."

I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks something rubbed on the feet can affect EVERY CELL within 20 minutes, including the dead cells, which hair is, is either sadly mislead, or purposely exaggerating to get more business.  There is no scientific evidence to support this statement.  And significant evidence to disprove it.

In a lecture, Gary Young compared the antibacterial properties of some essential oils vs. penicillin, against gram negative bacteria.

Penicillin isn't used to treat gram negative infections because it is not effective there, so what point is he trying to make?  Just to build a false sense of security that essential oils are better than penicillin?  If the motive is truly enlightenment, then why not use something that penicillin is currently being used to treat?  Instead of "stacking the scales" in favor of the essential oils.

And I could literally go on, and on, and on, and on.  The amount of false information put out by Gary Young is staggering.   Now I want to address some of the false advertising.  

"We offer a "Seed to Seal" guarantee with our products.  This means that every oil from the seed that is planted, to the ground they are planted in, to the growing process, to the distillation is free of pesticides and chemicals."

Well, I would love to believe this, but it is impossible.  Because young has a few, (yes I said a few) farms that grows plants, such as lavender and clary sage they imply over and over that they grow ALL their plants.  They show pictures of them in their lavender fields, while talking about ALL production of oil, they show lavender while they talk about how they grow all their plants.  But the fact is they don't grow all or even most of their plants.  Not even close.  Many of the oils they offer grow in random corners of the world, where they own no land or distilleries.  As one example, they harvest balsam fir from northern Idaho.... they did not plant the trees, or carefully select the soil they were planted in.  These trees were there long before Young Living was even a company, much less started harvesting them.  So this "seed to seal" guarantee is a false, hollow promise that is impossible for them to fulfill.  Only the plants they grow themselves could possibly hold up to this standard.  But not only are most of the oils they offer not grown by them, they are not distilled by them either.  They are distilled by the handful of distillers that distill all the other companies oils as well.  And for example, Sandalwood is only grown in 3 places in the world.  So everyone's sandalwood oil is coming from the same 3 places place.  Now of course chemicals can be added for dilution that affects the quality of the oils, but that is an after the fact addition.  I am simply addressing their promises of how "they" grow their plants, when "they" in fact do not grow most of them at all.

"Gary Young invented a new system of distilling essential oils that is a low pressure, low heat distiller that preserves the medicinal properties of the plant"

The truth is low heat and pressure distilleries have been used by others for many years.  

I told you this would get long...  I could keep going with quote after quote from Gary himself, his company, and their distributors. (which of course is not the fault of the company, but with this many distributors saying the exact same thing it makes me wonder what they are being taught.)  And some of these quotes may not seem that important, and you might be wondering why I am bothering to address them at all.  But my point is simply, if you are really one of the most educated people in the world about essential oils, and your entire company is built on being the best, and is a "world leader in the research of essential oils",  and you simply want to help people get well, then wouldn't you put out accurate information?  Not faulty information that some random red head in Idaho can dispute?  Again, I don't know why false information like this is being put out, but it raises significant red flags in my mind and makes me question motives.

Now as far as my experiences with the actual OILS from Young Living.

As I said, I have used them off and on for years.  Partly because they offer some hard to find oils, partly  because some part of me thinks they "have to be better" than other brands if they are so expensive, and partly because every few years I want to try them again to see if anything has changed or improved.  And here is my experience: (please don't shoot me I know this review will not be popular with a lot of people!!)

First the good.  I think they have had some great success with blends.  I believe it is their blends that make such loyal customers because people have seen results that they love and this makes them believe everything the company offers is sound, quality, and that the information they put out is solid.
That being said, I have consistently found a chemical overtone with their oils.  The first few times I thought it must have just been me, or a bad batch or something, but over and over again it is there.  Particularly with some of the more expensive oils.  I can't smell some of their single oils for any period of time without getting headache.  Now I know this is subjective, as smell can be deceiving, but keep in mind I've been doing this for over 15 years and have smelled a lot of essential oils, and fragrance oils, and the only other oils I have had instant headaches with have been ones I already knew contained synthetic fragrances.
Some of Young Living oils have been wonderful, and I have enjoyed using them very much.
However, I have done some side by side comparisons with Young Living oils and other oils, being used for the exact same thing, and on Young Living's oils there has been a consistent a lack of strength when compared to other brands, or at the least, they are comparable to much less expensive brands.   My tests have been on the exact same person, for the exact same ailment, used over a period of time, and much to my surprise, the Young Living Oils came up short, or at best equal with brand that cost MUCH less.  I honestly thought they would come up at least a little better, since they are so much more expensive.  It seems that with that much cost involved they would surely show more strength and medicinal qualities.  But in my experience this has not been the case.

The last thing about their oils is the price, in my opinion the product just doesn't warrant the high prices.  And just as with DoTerra, much of their cost I think can be attributed to the fact that the company is an multi level marketing company that pays distributors for multiple levels up on every purchase, pays for retreats, conventions, etc.  Nothing wrong at all with the multi-level marketing model, it works great and can be a fantastic if you desire to make a business!  But it does increase cost of the products.  People that like to tell you that the MLM model does not increase cost because it is simply another form of advertising are both correct and incorrect.  If a company is going to spend millions and millions of dollars on advertising, then no, an MLM model would probably not increase the cost of the product.  However, all of the other essential oil companies I usually work with do little to no advertising.  They are merely wholesale distributors to stores only, and it is the stores problem to do the advertising.  Thus the company saves vast amounts of money, and that savings is able to be passed on to the customers.  The companies I work with are usually small, and employ relatively few people, and do little advertising, so of course they are going to be able to offer oils at a lower price than a company that is paying all of it's employees as well as thousands of distributors.   Many people also site that Young Living offers a "wholesale" price if you sign up, so you are getting a huge savings, but I can assure you as a store owner for many years, their "wholesale" prices are no where near the discount of true wholesale, but are just a discount to provide incentive for people to sign up as distributors.  Which of course there is nothing wrong with, but it is not the great savings many believe it to be.  And I do not at all believe that the MLM model of marketing is bad or a scam, but as I discussed in my DoTerra review, I do not believe it always offers the best value to the customer either.

I didn't even touch on all the claims they make about their oils.  The FDA has cited them multiple times for going over the line on claims that aren't tested or proven.  Or ones that have been tested in a lab, but there isn't evidence that the oils actually work the same way inside of our body.  Now of course I don't put much faith in what the FDA says or doesn't say.  But people try to compare the fact that they have so many more claims associated with their oils that other companies do not have, so they must be better, or other companies would be able to make those claims too.  My point is just that other companies are staying within their legal limits by NOT claiming grand things about their oils.  They are protecting themselves legally, this does not mean their oils are any less medicinal or healing.

My conclusion:

So, to sum it all up, while they do offer some great blends, great business opportunities, and a wide selection of oil, I can't in good faith recommend a company that shows in my opinion a lack of honesty, either by claiming more education and credentials than you actually have the knowledge to back, or by simply being willing to put out false information.  And, with all the false educational information that they are putting out , what's to keep them from putting out false information regarding the quality of their oils?  Especially since there is no governmental oversight on essential oil production, and no one looking over their shoulder making sure what they are claiming is true.
Now I have no doubt many people have gotten fantastic results using Young Living oils, but this does not mean they are superior in quality than other oil companies.  They could very well have achieved the exact same results with another oil company (and many have.)  The fact that Young Living spends so much of their time making sure people only use "their" oils, and even on blends and recipes warns consumers away from using any other brand of oil because they are ALL inferior in quality to YL oils, makes me suspicious.  People were having great results using essential oils long before YL came along.  If their oils are so superior in quality won't they speak for themselves?  Why do you need to scare people into using your brand by telling them every other brand is polluted?  I do agree that the quality of oils is important and that many are diluted with chemicals, but I prefer a company that quietly produces great oils, rather than setting themselves up as the only pure oils in the WORLD.
Now I want to be clear I am not trying to cast a bad light on any of Young Living's independent distributors, or anyone that uses young oils.   I am simply pointing out the "mother company" has some significant issues.  I know some fabulous distributors that have a wonderful heart for helping people and bringing solid information and good info.  And people are getting healthy and happy from using Young Living products.  And that is fantastic.  Essential oils are wonderful, and powerful, and I have no doubt people are having success using YL essential oils.  However,  I am being asked about MY opinion of the company, or why I don't promote, or distribute Young Living Products, so this blog post is addressing that, for those who are asking me.
I just prefer to put my money into a company that has higher standards about honesty, and being careful to not exaggerate claims, or embellish the facts.

For more educational information on essential oils, and natural skin care visit my Facebook page at:


  1. I am surprised not to see any comments here but wanted to give a shout out that I am enjoying your posts and find them very astute and informational. Thanks!

  2. Well written! Information like this needs to be spread through the community more. I am constantly surprised at the number of people who get sucked into MLMs.

  3. Interesting article. So where do you share which EO companies you do recommend?

  4. Love this article very well written! :]

  5. Thanks for this article! I use YL and like what I have tried, but much of what I hear disturbs me as well. I am sure you have found other companies you trust, which do you recommend?

  6. Thank you for this post! Some of the MLM reps sound like brainwashed zombies and I am constantly being fielded with questions from confused customers. I hope the voices of reason triumph very soon.

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  8. I have a question or two for you. To you, which thing is overall worse in the world of Young Living essential oils; the business model that drives prices up due to being an MLM business model, or the actual products and product lines themselves being not as excellent as they taut it to be? In spirit of full disclosure, I'll admit first off that I am a lapsed young living distributor who loved the products and company for years and raised two kids on them as they helped me not depend as much on the over the counter medicines or dangerous steroid drugs etc...and they seemed to work great for us. I have some very special personal successes with them. However the cost became prohibitive unless I really worked their MLM and I opted out now for some years but recently desired to go back to them to see if I could make some money and have a different outcome. I would not ever even consider their evil twin DoTerra spawn of the darkside, because I met those guys in person at many conventions and the truth is my intuition screamed at me way back then, I'd always had bad intuition about them, never knew why until I heard the news of do Terra company. Anyway, so ... I may need to find a better way altogether and perhaps that is where you'll come in. Thanks for your article above. I consciously looked the other way when I came in contact with many of the quoted things and others of the items in your critique above; but I would have stayed closer to YL if I had had confidence in their business side. Cheers!

  9. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info.
    therapeutic grade


  11. I found that site very usefull and this survey is very cirious, I ' ve never seen a blog that demand a survey for this actions, very curious...
    young living

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  13. I was introduced to YL Essential Oils 6 months ago by a friend who is a distributor. I have become disturbed because I see via Facebook so many women (and men) seem to idolize these oils and have lost their first love...Jesus Christ. They have exchanged this for the love of money which is the root of all evil. It is very sad. It is as if they are brainwashed. I am sorry but quoting a scripture on occasion does not make you any more a Christian, which they claim to be, than living in a garage makes you a car. I am thinking of stopping ordering more oils although there are a few I like and find useful.I know I can find another company to buy my oils when I need them for a much lesser cost. They say the oils keep them healthy and then I keep seeing all their posts of having this illness and that. Gosh, if taking these oils is going to make me feel worse, why bother. Sadly, in reality it is their sales tactic and they all encourage one another. It is sad but on the other hand sometimes entertaining for me to read their posts.

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