Dr. Gary Young trained under the top analysts, one being. Dr. Casabianca in France, known as the best in the world.
Every batch (YES…EVERY BATCH — NOT RANDOM SAMPLE BATCHES) of oil submitted to Young Living is analyzed. Three samples are taken:
- Sent to Flora Research, experts in testing natural products
- Sent to France, where the most sophisticated testing equipment and top chemical analysts are located
- Young Living, Chemical Analysist Sue Chao
The oils are tested for constituent levels, aroma, viscosity, texture, and taste.
If any discrepancies are found, a sample is tested further in France.
Young Living rejects 72% of oils submitted because they do not meet the stringent criteria.
All the chemical constituents must be found in each test sample or it is rejected. For Example:
Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) has 187 constituents and synthetic lavender only has 4 constituents. How can you get any benefit from using over-the-counter lavender? Adulterated and mislabeled essential oils present dangers for consumers.
Lavandin is commonly used instead and found in many health food stores but contains high levels of camphor (12-18%) and can itself irritate the skin.
Lavendula Angustifolia, contains virtually no camphor and has a soothing agent which is not found in lavandin.
Synthetic Essential Oils have the following results:
- Human Growth Hormone & other hormone disruptions
- Digestive issues such as non assimilation of nutrients
- Compromised immune system
Purchasing Therapeutic Grade Oils
In order to experience healing with essential oils, one must be certain that the oils are high-grade therapeutic grade oils grown organically, distilled properly, and bottled undiluted, unadulterated, and unchanged from their natural state.
Most essential oils available are food or fragrance grade oils which are not necessarily organically grown, are often extracted with chemical solvents, may contain synthetic components, and/or have been denatured, refined or diluted.
Such oils are not therapeutic.
We recommend Young Living Essential Oils, Inc., (YLEO) as being a reliable source of high quality therapeutically active oils.
Read more detailed information about why therapeutic grade oils are the important choice for you when choosing oils for your health….
Therapeutic-grade essential oil is one that is both complete in its chemical constituents, giving it a rich, deep aroma, and kinetically alive and able to raise the frequency of the human body, restoring balance and normal function to weak body systems. This is important, because the oil’s fragrance, frequency and chemistry all contribute to its unique therapeutic effects. If any of these properties is compromised as a result of poor production practices, an essential oil cannot rightly be called therapeutic-grade.
AFNOR/ISO: The gold standard for therapeutic-grade essential oils.
So, how are you to know if your essential oils are truly therapeutic-grade?
One of the most reliable indicators of oil quality is AFNOR/ISO certification.
In Europe, AFNOR (French Association of Normalization) and ISO (International Standards Organization, which has set standards for therapeutic-grade essential oils adopted from AFNOR) provide a set of standards that has been established, outlining the chemical profile and principal constituents that quality essential oils should have. These are widely regarded as the gold standard for testing essential oils. The AFNOR standard is most stringent, and differentiates true therapeutic-grade essential oils from similar Grade A essential oils with inferior chemistry.
AFNOR standards state the percentages of certain chemical constituents that must be present for an essential oil to qualify as truly therapeutic-grade. As a general rule, if two or more marker compounds in an essential oil fall outside their proper percentages, the oil may not meet the AFNOR standards. These guidelines help buyers differentiate between a therapeutic-grade essential oil and lower grade oil with a similar chemical makeup and fragrance.
Every batch of essential oils produced by, or purchased from a third party for, Young Living Essential Oils is analyzed at an AFNOR-certified laboratory, by a chemist licensed to test therapeutic-grade essential oils. The AFNOR seal on each bottle of essential oil is your guarantee that you are purchasing only the finest essential oils available today.
How a truly therapeutic-grade oil is made
Because a quality essential oil is so chemically complex, and all of these constituents must be present in the oil in their proper ratio, or the oil will not have its expected effect on the body, one key to producing therapeutic-grade essential oils is to preserve as many of these aromatic compounds within the oil as possible.
The problem here is that these aromatic compounds are quite fragile, and not easily extracted from the plant material. This means that proper production of essential oils takes a lot of understanding of the oil, and the willingness to invest the necessary time and expense to do the job right. To make a great, therapeutic-grade essential oil, you must take great care with the follow aspects of production:
Grow the proper variety of plants.
Species selection is very important, since different varieties of plants produce different qualities of essential oils. Only those cultivars that produce the highest quality essential oil should be selected. For example, the lavender grown on the Young Living farms is an authentic Lavandula angustifolia, which yields an oil low in camphor and rich in lavendulol and lavendulol acetate (the constituents believed to be the key to lavender’s therapeutic action).
Use proper cultivation methods.
Plants should be grown on virgin land, uncontaminated by chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. The plant materials must be kept free of agrochemicals, since these can react with the essential oil during distillation, and produce toxic compounds. And, because many pesticides are oil-soluble, they can also mix into the essential oil. If these oils are diffused or topically applied, the toxic chemicals in the oils are carried into the body with potentially devastating results.
Plant materials should also be grown away from pollution sources such as nuclear plants, factories, interstates, highways or heavily populated cities, if possible. Also, the soil should be conditioned with an advanced mix of enzymes, trace minerals, and organic bio-solids, since plants lacking in certain minerals and nutrients yield oils low in therapeutic value.
Land and crops should be watered with reservoir or watershed water. Mountain stream water is best, because of its purity and high mineral content. Municipality treated water, or secondary runoff water from residential and commercial areas, can introduce undesirable chemicals and residues into the plant and its essential oil.
Harvest with knowledge and care.
The timing of the harvest is one of the most important factors in the production of therapeutic-grade essential oils. If the plant is harvested at the wrong time of the season, or even at the incorrect time of day, a substandard essential oil can be produced. In some cases, changing harvest time by even a few hours can make a huge difference. For example, German chamomile harvested in the morning will produce oil with far more azulene than chamomile harvested in the late afternoon.
Other factors that should be taken into consideration during the harvest include:
the amount of dew on the leaves
the percentage of plant in bloom
the weather conditions during the two weeks prior to the harvest. Also, because of the volatility of the essential oils, to prevent herbs from drying out prior to being distilled (and so, losing many of the precious, aromatic molecules to evaporation), distillers should be located as close to the field as possible. Transporting herbs to distillers hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away also heightens the risk exposure to pollutants, dust, mold, and petrochemical residues.
Extract the oils in the proper way.
Essential oils can be extracted from the plant by a variety of methods, including solvent extraction, carbon dioxide extraction, and steam distillation. Steam distillation is one of the most common, and has several advantages over the other methods.
However, distillation is as much a science as it is an art, and subtle differences in distillation equipment and processing conditions can translate into huge differences in essential oil quality. Factors to consider include:
The temperature during distillation: The fragile aromatic molecules of an essential oil are easily destroyed or altered by high temperatures; and so, the distillation process must use low-temperature methods. High temperatures seem to cause a harshness in the oil. Even the oil’s pH and the electropositive and electronegative balance are greatly affected. For example, the distilling process for lavender should not exceed 245 degrees Fahrenheit, cypress should be distilled at 245 degrees Fahrenheit.
The pressure during distillation:
The fragile aromatic molecules of an essential oil are also easily destroyed or altered by high pressure during distillation, causing a harshness in the oil, as well as affecting the essential oil’s pH, and electropositive and electronegative balance. Gary Young learned from Marcel Espieu (the president of the Lavender Growers Association in southern France for 21 years) that the best oil quality would be produced when the pressure was zero pounds during distillation.
In the distilling process for lavender, pressure should not exceed three pounds.
For cypress, it should be about five pounds of pressure.
The length of time taken for distillation:
For lavender, the time required for distillation is about an hour and a half. On the other hand, cypress requires 24 hours of distillation to extract all of its active ingredients. If distillation is shortened by only two hours, 18 to 20 of the essential oil’s chemical constituents will be missing.
The chemical composition of the cooking pots:
Essential oils should be kept away from contact with chemically reactive metals, such as copper or aluminum. A therapeutic-grade essential oil should be distilled in a food-grade stainless-steel cooking chamber. The size of each batch: Essential oils should be distilled in small batches. At Young Living, lavender is distilled in batches yielding about one pound of essential oil.
Truly therapeutic-grade essential oils are a very rare commodity
When you come to understand the properties that make up a truly great essential oil, it quickly becomes clear that the production of these oils should be more than just a commercial venture. It requires far too much from the producer in terms of expertise, time and expense to make any sense in purely economic terms.
It’s far cheaper to take short-cuts than to do it right.
But Gary Young didn’t found Young Living primarily as a commercial venture; he has the heart of a doctor. He wanted a way to guarantee the availability of quality oils for his clinical use. That spirit continues in the company he founded. And so, you can trust Young Living to only market essential oils of the very highest quality: those that are truly therapeutic-grade.