It has come to my attention that there is a large amount of misinformation about Young Living. I understand, because I'm a chronic skeptic. Some of these things gave me pause and pushed me to do research into them years ago before ever using Young Living essential oils, because I am not the kind of person who will take common thought or hyped-up posts over factual research. I want the facts. I want to know the people being referenced personally.
If that's you too, this post is for you.
If judgment or division is more your thing, this post isn't for you.
My first post about what I discovered in my two years of researching essential oils companies can be found here.
In this post, I'll go into the most common areas of misinformation that are circulating and discuss the facts on those things. Do with them what you want. But please be nice to others. We're all just doing the best we can with this life.
Lawsuit with doTERRA
Most of the information out there about the lawsuit between doTERRA and Young Living says that DT won. The fact is that based on statute of limitations, much of the case was thrown out. (For those who don't know what statute of limitations is, there is a set time period in years when a lawsuit can be brought. It is different for different areas of law such as personal injury, business/corporate cases, etc.)
The Court decided that Young Living could not claim that doTERRA and its founders violated certain Utah statutes related to misappropriation of trade secrets and other improper activity, not because doTERRA and its founders did not engage in that activity, but because the former legal team at Young Living simply waited too long under Utah law to bring these particular legal claims. The Court ruled that:
1. “It is undisputed that Young Living’s investigation revealed that, after leaving their employment with Young Living, some individual defendants had retained Young Living property. This included documents (both written and electronic), computers, and certain ‘white binders’ believed to contain confidential information among other things.”
2. In 2008, Young Living required David Stirling, Greg Cook, Emily Wright and David Hill to return confidential documents that they had taken with them when they left and, “as a result, many items (both computers and documents) were recovered by Young Living which Young Living confirmed to be trade secrets that had been wrongfully retained.”
3. “The undisputed facts also demonstrate that Young Living was able to pursue its theory that trade secret information was not only wrongfully retained, but used” by doTERRA.
4. Even though there was evidence that Emily Wright destroyed her computer to hide the defendants’ use of confidential information, “any concealment by Wright did not frustrate Young Living’s ability to recognize that the individual defendants had retained, and likely used, confidential information.”
"Fake" Doctor Degrees & Arrests
This one is really a non-issue for those who have followed HFFG and improved their lives from the extensive, research-based natural health information shared. This is for those who don't want freedom to choose our health care. Because the claims about D. Gary Young's "mail-order" naturopathy degree may as well be said about me. I did an online naturopathy program. Sure, I looked into the government-approved ones. But those promoted medical practices and procedures I can not support or promote.
The government will not approve or sanction truly natural programs because they would give the pharmaceutical world a run for their money. I can't even count how many people have found dead-ends and worsening health from conventional medicine and yet I've been able to help them gain their life back using natural methods. I have received more emails that I can count from people thanking me for their healthy baby because my help prevented another miscarriage. And emails from people whose thyroid health or fibromyalgia was completely reversed with my help.
But I don't call myself a naturopath because the pharmaceutical-supported government has made it illegal for Minnesota practitioners to use the term "N.D." or "naturopath" unless graduating from a government-sanctioned program.
And then there are the claims about him being arrested for natural health care practices. Have you seen the story of the Amish men selling healing salves being imprisoned? The news of health food stores being raided for selling completely legal CBD oil? The raw milk farmers being arrested or raided? Need I say more? This is the effect of living in a society owned by Monsanto and Big Pharma.
These are attacks on our freedom and anyone who condones or promotes them should take a look at North Korea and decide if we want our government to tell us what we can and can't eat and use for our health.
Cinnamon Bark "Adulteration"
The most important thing to know on this topic is that with GC/MS testing, there is a lot of room for interpretation. In order to run these tests, the results have to be compared to those stored within a library or database of sorts. The problem is that not all testers have the same library; it is based off of that particular tester's own testing history and records. Therefore, interpretation of results can be quite subjective and are not objective and concrete like many people think. Young Living has decades of research stored in their own database, something most companies and their testers do not yet possess.
I wrote an entire blog post from aromatherapy experts’ information on the shortfalls of GC-MS testing here. In that post, there is a link to expert Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt’s (an aromatherapy expert in no way affiliated with YL) post defending the false claims on this situation. This is key to this situation. Read that article before proceeding.
It's also important to note on this that both databases used for the tests claiming it was adulterated were from the same library.
Extensive testing confirms there are no markers of synthetic compounds. Click here to read the final update about the subsequent testing.
Interestingly, years ago, Young Living received criticism because they distilled clary sage differently which resulted in an oil with a much higher sclerol content. Because no other company distills oils themselves and can adjust the process, this had never been seen before and other companies insisted it must be synthetic. Just another example of how true oils aren’t standardized like other companies’ oils.
Young Living stated: "In late 2014, our new management team became aware of a situation that was identified by our compliance program in place at the time. We immediately conducted our own investigation with assistance from outside counsel, and voluntarily disclosed to the government in 2015 once this investigation was completed."
1. Young Living was the one who stepped forward to share their wrong doing.
2. Young Living hired outside investigators to find out what happened.
3. Young Living always takes responsibility if something is wrong. They could have swept this under the rug and never paid anything. That's not how YL operates.
4. Young Living has implemented a first of its kind program to safeguard this from ever happening again. "Young Living is the first and only essential oils company to have a comprehensive Lacey Act-specific compliance program that has been reviewed and accepted by the government."
“... the Company’s decision to conduct an internal investigation, voluntarily disclose the initial violations to government enforcement authorities, and cooperate throughout the ensuing investigation is to be commended,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber for the District of Utah.
Official Statement from Young Living Re: Lacey Act & Endangered Species Act Agreement
As part of Young Living’s commitment to comply with applicable laws and regulations wherever it does business, the company has developed a new comprehensive Lacey Act Compliance Program to help ensure that plant products come from legal and sustainable sources. Young Living is the first and only essential oils company to have a comprehensive Lacey Act-specific compliance program that has been reviewed and accepted by the government.
Young Living understands that it has a greater responsibility to help ensure quality and continuous improvement in leading the essential oils movement. As part of this responsibility, new programs have been developed that form the foundation of our new Seed to Seal pillars – Sourcing, Science and Standards.
Full details here: https://youtu.be/57DztTOeILI
For more information on the new Seed to Seal pillars and our Lacey Act Compliance Program, go to: https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/discover/seed-to-seal
It is important to note that the oils in this situation--rosewood and spikenard--are extremely difficult to harvest and produce in a sustainable way. Just because a company offers these essential oils does not mean they are harvesting them legally or ethically.
To finish, I wanted to address the one area that prevented me from buying Young Living essential oils for two years after I realized they were the only ones that met my strict criteria. I had a bad taste in my mouth about multi-level marketing companies because of a past experience with an Amway person from our church. My bias was not based on any facts or research into the direct marketing structure of companies but purely that experience and my subsequently-formulated thoughts.
When I got rid of my bias, I realized that direct marketing can be a wonderful thing if done correctly. Here's one thing I've since learned and experienced:
A big company wanted to buy out Young Living for only retail sales years ago. Founder D. Gary Young turned down the generous offer and said it has to stay as a network marketing company. When asked why that was so important, Gary Young replied that the two most important reasons for network marketing are:
1. Relationships. Network marketing develops and prioritizes relationships. Like any good thing, some ruin it. But when done right, this model of business can (and does) create new friendships that can last a lifetime.
The ladies in this picture with me at the YL Lavender farm in Utah are lifelong dear friends I have thanks to this company. Three of these were HFFG "followers" at one time who signed up as a wholesale member through my website and all are now some of my favorite friends in the world! There are MANY more too that are so dear to me with new ones every month. And it's thanks to this business style. If these women had just bought oils retail off my website, I wouldn't have their friendship.
2. Education. Gary didn't want people having essential oils and then being left on their own without anyone helping them know how, why, and when to use them. On our Oily Friends team, we honor that mission by putting education at the core of our team's foundation.
What I used to despise (because of past negative experiences and misinformation) has come to be something I love. I am so blessed by the many friendships I have through this company and through the opportunity to live out my passion for natural health education.
There are many other things that have kept me as a proud Young Living member, including:
I can visit their own farms, distilleries, and labs firsthand (I like to do this with the places I get my food too) and I have. I have watched them harvest, distill, and test oils. I have spoken to the scientists that work in those labs. Click on the link in the above point to see photos and read about my experiences visiting a farm and being part of a distillation.
They are the only company to test every single batch of oils through 18 tests three times before being approved for sale and have repeatedly rejected many batches, including some very profitable ones, that did not meet their standards. These tests found trace amounts of mercury from a certified supplier that Young Living quickly rejected.
In the end, some people disagree. And that's okay. Isn't it wonderful that we still have the freedom to make decisions about things like this ourselves?! We can encourage each other nonetheless and avoid judgments or harsh words about anyone. We're all just doing the best we can on this difficult journey. Our choice of essential oil companies shouldn't divide us.
Praying blessings to you and your family on this journey,
Sara Jo Poff
Natural Health Practitioner