One of the most frequently-asked questions I get regarding essential oils is: Are brands other than Young Living good?
My honest answer is: I don't know. I never found any.
This isn't to say that there aren't any.
I have used MANY brands of essential oils in the past. When I made the decision to fully incorporate essential oils as an everyday part of my family's daily regimen, I spent many exhausting hours--months and even years--researching, contemplating, and praying. I literally despised direct marketing companies, so I was desperate to find one that would give my family and my clients the therapeutic benefits without a direct marketing structure.
If you've been following my HFFG page for a while, you know how picky (I prefer the term selective) I am about the products, supplements, and food I buy for my family and recommend for my clients. There was no way I was going to stand behind something that I was not fully confident would be the best quality possible.
Before incorporating aromatherapy into my practice, I had been a holistic health practitioner for three years. I had completed holistic nutrition counseling training and had begun my naturopathy training. I knew that essential oils were a crucial part of a holistic lifestyle but needed to find something that met my strict criteria.
After all of my exhaustiveresearch, I only found one company's essential oils that I could stand behind. Only one company's were worth the hard-earned money that my husband worked long hours to provide for our family.
Of course most of you know that that was Young Living. So here are some of the many reasons why I chose them:
Seed To Seal
First and foremost, they are the ONLY company to grow their own plants and own their own farms. This is important for so many reasons.
Because they grow many of their own plants, Young Living is the only company that can oversee, from seed to seal, that their plants are grown without chemicals, grown on soil that has never been treated with chemicals, watered with only rainwater or other clean water and not municipal water, etc. If you have ever gardened, you know that there are MANY things to oversee in order to prevent chemical contamination of your plants!
Were the seeds tested for GMO contamination?
Were they even the right seeds for plants that will provide therapeutic benefits?
Was the starting potting soil from a brand that makes lawn chemicals?
Was it started in natural or artificial sunlight?
Was it watered with chlorinated water or rainwater/spring water?
These are just a few of the many questions that come to mind for me when I consider purchasing plants at my local farmers markets which causes me to grow them myself!
This is important also because a plant’s medicinal value comes at a very specific time in their growth. If a plant is harvested at the wrong time, it will contain less than or none of the therapeutic qualities.
If a company does not do this themselves, are they ensuring that it is done so that the oil provides the optimal therapeutic value?
Secondly, Young Living is the only company to own their own distilleries. Other companies have to outsource this part of the process to other facilities/companies.
With this constant outsourcing, it is difficult to know exactly how well the process is being monitored in order for the final product to not only be safe but also to be of top therapeutic quality.
Distillation is crucial to the final therapeutic benefits (or lack thereof) of an essential oil. Check out these examples:
Young Living tests each batch after distillation for the proper therapeutic benefits. If it does not meet that criteria, it is not sold and is usually used as a natural herbicide on the farms.
Young Living offers a unique unique Seed to Seal® Process which carefully monitors every step of production from beginning to end. This is one of the main reasons why I feel that Young Living essential oils are worth the price.
"Know your grower. Know your distiller. And know your supplier. Otherwise, the chemists have become so clever that they can sometimes fool even the best of laboratories."
~Dr. Herve Casabianca, Chairman of the International Standards Organization (ISO) Committee on Essential Oil Standards (a European agency whose acronym is AFNOR)
Stood the Test of Time
Third, I’ve never been one to buy anything brand new, because I like to stick with things that have stood the test of time. There are so many new essential oils companies out there, but Young Living has stood the test of time. They have fine-tuned and refined the process of growing, harvesting, and distilling oils to perfection. Newer companies may have relationships with their growers, distillers, etc. that have not stood the test of time yet and may prove to be less than ideal in the future.
Of course, as stated above, I am not here to promote the idea that Young Living oils are the only essential oils that can be used. Information is difficult to come by regarding the various practices other companies use and consequently, I do not have sufficient information to recommend other specific brands.
I recommend exercising extreme caution and discernment when selecting essential oils to ensure that you are using those that are absolutely not grown or processed with chemicals. As many of you know, essential oils (and whatever chemicals they may contain) are absorbed quickly and effectively through the skin.
Additionally, I have seen a trend towards oils promoted by various essential oils experts. I do not know whether or not these experts have looked into the criteria that I have listed above regarding the brands that they recommend. Either way, they would find that no other essential oil company sees the production of the plant from beginning to end themselves without outsourcing it.
How many other companies can you go to the farms and be a part of the distillation process?
How many other companies will you see the founder behind the wheel of the tractor or carrying a shovel to harvest the plants?
Again, let me reiterate that I am not saying there are problems with other essential oils. It took me two years to finally commit to Young Living and to feel comfortable recommending it because I wanted to be sure I had all the information necessary to weigh this decision. This is simply the brand that I have chosen to use for my family and to recommend to my clients.
Cost & Adulteration
One of the surest ways to assess the quality of anything is the cost. If an oil is sold for a price that is less than the production cost of that plant into an oil, you can be sure it is adulterated.
Multiple leading experts on essential oils agree that adulteration of essential oils will become more and more common as the supply of top-quality essential oils dwindles and demand continues to increase. Already, there is more lavender oil sold than what is produced. The only explanation for this is due to synthetic and adulterated oils being sold.
But what about companies who say their oils are GC-MS tested and even share the results?
Much of the lavender oil sold today in America is lavandin, a lavender hybrid grown and distilled throughout the world. Lavandin is often heated to evaporate the camphor, mixed with synthetic linalyl acetate to improve the fragrance, and then sold as lavender oil. This is how a bottle of lavender can be sold for $10 or less.
And unfortunately, GC-MS testing will not always reveal synthetic additives. If synthetic linalyl acetate is added to pure lavender, a GC-MS analysis alone cannot confidently determine whether that constituent is synthetic or natural, only that it is linalyl acetate.
For every kilogram of pure essential oil that is produced, an estimated 10 to 100 kilograms of synthetic oil are created.
GC-MS tests are not a guarantee of purity. Labels on the bottle saying "Pure," "Natural," and "Therapeutic" are not a guarantee of purity or therapeutic qualities. Knowing and seeing exactly where and how the plants are grown and the oils are distilled is the only way to know. This is going to be more and more important as adulteration becomes more and more common in the industry.
"Here is a stark comparison that lists the constituents of two batches of Helichrysum essential oil that were for sale. One was accepted; the other, rejected. Do you know what was interesting? After I rejected the one in red, another company bought it and said it was pure."
~D. Gary Young, Founder of Young Living
What about the cost? In my opinion, we get what we pay for. AND it's a waste of money to spend a single penny on an essential that simply smells good and offers no therapeutic benefits. And especially to spend money on an oil that may even cause harm.
Continued research has revealed even more information. Young Living is the only company to test every single batch of essential oils with eighteen different tests three times before the oil is approved for sale.
Good thing, because this catches things that other companies don't catch. For instance, in 2017, a batch of essential oil from a Seed to Seal certified supplier contained trace amounts of mercury as revealed in the ICP test. This batch was rejected and Young Living is working with the farm to determine the cause of that contamination.
Considering that essential oils penetrate right into the bloodstream, it's very important that they don't contain heavy metals! Oils containing these toxins are being sold by other companies.
I have since visited a Young Living farm, distillery, and lab. The picture above was taken just after I had spoken one-on-one to one of Young Living's lab scientists who uses the testing equipment shown behind me. He has a GC-MS machine that he takes with him in traveling to farms that do not have machines in order to test the oils immediately and determine quality and therapeutic potential.
Are They Organic?
Resolving the Direct Marketing Issue
As for the direct marketing structure of the company, well that turned out to be an answer to prayer. I had no idea that this type of business model would be something that I could use to help out and support other Christians! You see with the structure of Young Living's sales company, I can use my business to support members of my team in growing their business as well. And when I profit financially, so do my team members. No other job that I've ever had did that!! If I had known that from the beginning, I wouldn't have hesitated so much about that part of the company! What other job can we work together as Christian sisters and brothers to support our family and do it from home!
Direct marketing is, in fact, the oldest model of sales business in the world!
There's a lot to know about using essential oils and many people hesitate to start using them because of that. But with the direct marketing structure, you are part of a team!! And hopefully, you will join a team that is knowledgeable and helpful with at least one leader who is educated in proper essential oil use as well as other health practices to provide you the support you need to get started!
All of my team members get 24/7 help with health questions, essential oils questions, and more. We do weekly health educational videos and I also offer contests, prizes and promos to make it fun. For those who would like to pursue an opportunity to share Young Living in order to help support their families financially as well, I also have a team for that with weekly training and daily education and support. It's so important to be part of a good team on this journey! Click here to learn more about Our Team.
In addition to my holistic health training, we have some really amazing leaders that have provided a wealth of free resources that are only available to those in their team! Once you sign up with our team, we will add you to our group's private Facebook page where you can get even more help.
Be sure to "Like" my essential oils Facebook page for lots of great info on incorporating essential oils as healthy alternatives to everyday things and to check out the regular online classes I offer!
Essential oils have filled an important gap for me in both my professional and personal life. Nutritional therapy is my preferred method of treatment for many things, but there are areas that essential oils have been the absolute best resource. In my opinion, they are an essential part of EVERY natural bathroom cabinet and natural home. In addition to having the best quality essential oils, we have been able to replace the products in our home--cleaners, laundry detergent, toothpastes, mouthwash, shampoos, conditioners, and so much more--with products from Young Living to ensure that every area of our home has toxin-free, healthy products! So many people ask the question, "What now?" when they learn about toxins in everyday home and body care products. Young Living is an inevitable choice for a healthy lifestyle.
Blessings of good health,
~Sara Jo Poff
Natural Health Practitioner
Healthy Families for God