I get this question all the time:  Are Young Living essential oils really better?

I mean how can they be THAT much better, right?  Certainly, other brands are equally good, right?

I’ve seen the competition

I know that those of us who are interested in essential oils constantly see advertisements from companies who say their oils are just as good.  That is why I decided to dig through the detailed information that Young Living has shared about the painstaking detail they put into each oil they personally grow, distill, and test.

After all, these are the essential oils that we are relying upon for our families.

These are the essential oils that we are putting on ourselves, our children, our pets.

We want to make the right choice.

We want to pick the best.

So it’s time to really ask the tough question:


Are Young Living essential oils REALLY better?  I mean objectively, without the rah rah cheerleader excitement, is there anything to back up that claim?

As you check out these videos, ask yourself, do other companies take these same steps?

Do they even have the ability to take these steps?  If not, you may ask “how could another brand be the same quality as Young Living”?

So let’s go and settle the question once and for all:

Are Young Living essential oils really better?

Let’s go step by step.

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Step One:  How do they prepare the soil?

Key Points:

  • Aromatic plants require a lot of nitrogen to produce the most quality essential oil.
  • Young Living prepares the soil by growing alfalfa in it for FIVE YEARS prior to planting any aromatic plants in the soil.  This naturally increases the nitrogen content of the soil.
  • Young Living uses organic farming practices in farming their source plants.  Just prior to planting, they “Sub-Soil” and till up the soil to deeply turn the earth and oxygenate the soil.  Then they plow under the alfalfa and it composts over the winter to provide natural fertilizer to the plants that are planted the next spring.

Additional Details:

Step Two:  How does Young Living grow the plants?

Key Points:

  • Not all lavender grown in the world is “the same” unless it is a clone or a hybrid.
  • Young Living is the ONLY company in the US with Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia officinalus) grown from original seed stock.
  • Pure therapeutic oils only come from original plant stock, not hybrid plants.
  • The Young Living lavender fields (for example) are watered by pure mountain water, some of the cleanest water available.
  • All Young Living fields are all prepared the same way, prepping the soil on all the farms YEARS in advance before an aromatic plant goes into the ground.
  • They do not use synthetic chemicals, and synthetic chemicals NEVER touch the plants.
  • After plant material is distilled, the leftover plant material gets put into the compost pile, and that compost is then used to fertilize the fields for future plants.

Additional Details:

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Step Three:  How Does Young Living distill essential oils?

Key Points:

  • Gary Young (Young Living founder) has studied with well-respected leading experts in essential oil distillation and participated in the distillation of many varieties of oil across the world.
  • There are unique signs that must be looked for in each variety of plant to know what the precise time is to harvest and distill (and in some cases mature a plant after harvest) each particular plant, and unless you are incredibly trained in knowing those signs, there is no way you will properly distill a therapeutic oil.

Additional Details:

Step Four:  How are Young Living essential oils distilled differently?

Key Points: 

  • Young Living goes to the extra effort to put together such a complex distillation operation because:
    • If you don’t have the proper type of distillation, you will not get a genuine oil.  If all you care about is flavor or smell, you don’t have to worry so much about getting all the constituents out of the plant material gently (this is why the “smell test” is mostly irrelevant for therapeutic oils).
    • YL oils maintain the lowest possible extraction pressure, the one being demonstrated stays under 1 pound of pressure while distilling.
    • All partner distilleries distill at the YL standard and are personally monitored and often visited to ensure standards are being maintained (in addition to testing done after the fact).
    • Young Living’s oil standards EXCEED ISO standards and AFNOR standards.
  • When the oil has been distilled and has to be separated from the re-condensed steam, the temperature is critical to making sure that the oil properly separates.
  • Every single plant species has to be distilled in a way particular to the plant type.  That means that everything from how the plant material is packed into the extraction chamber, to the length of time is distilled, to the temperature that it is distilled at, and the temperature of the separator has to be exactly right to produce a therapeutically viable oil.  Get one thing wrong, and the oil will not be good enough.
  • Many distilleries do not monitor those factors, and as long as an oil comes out smelling acceptable when it is distilled then it will be bottled and sold. But not Young Living.  In fact in the past, when a YL distilled oil does not meet the YL standard for levels of active constituents they THROW THE OIL AWAY or use it for plants on their farms.

Additional Details:

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Step Five:  Why essential oil testing matters.

Key Points:

  • The only way that you can objectively know that you sell quality essential oils is if you can personally analyze the chemical composition of those oils.  Dr. Herve Casabianca, the foremost authority in the world on essential oil chemistry has come to the YL labs to train the techs on how to properly analyze oils.
  • The quality control team at Young Living has over 30 years of analytical chemistry experience to know what they are analyzing when they test essential oils.
  • The Spanish Fork,  Utah lab does ten different studies on the oils themselves and also sends the oils out to third parties like Dr. Casabianca in France, Weber State University, Brigham Young University, Oklahoma State University, and Salalah, Oman for additional testing.

Step Six:  How the tests Young Living does ensure the best quality essential oil.

Key Points:

  • Young Living uses a 50 or 60-meter column when doing their essential oil analysis (GC/MS) because it gives the best resolution. The oils are often tested to the level of checking 150-200 different phytochemicals per oil. They also do chiral column testing in addition to GC/MS testing to further break down and analyze minute details.
  • Every single oil is tested when it enters the lab. Some oils (during harvest season) are tested EVERY FIFTEEN MINUTES during the distillation process to ensure that a consistent, quality product is being made.
  • The analysis of the over a hundred potential constituents is an incredibly complex process, requiring intense research, analyzing high and low peaks on a GC/MS report, reconstructing data to identify constituents that may not be in the database, etc. They also use Dr. Casabianca’s retention index library and the NIST library to give them data to positively identify each compound.
  • Young Living has a massive internal library of essential oil profiles as well as access to many outside libraries which allows them to identify both beneficial plant compounds, synthetics and other potential adulterants.

Additional Details:

Step Seven: What tests does Young Living actually do?

Key Points:

  • When an essential oil gets to the quality assurance portion of the lab testing it goes through ten different tests to ensure that it is of therapeutic quality:
    • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
    • optical rotation (determines if any of the phytonutrients in the oil are synthetic in origin)
    • specific gravity
    • refractive index
    • GC
    • GC/MS
    • flash point
    • flash point and combustibility
    • peroxide testing
    • organoleptics (a fancy term meaning that a trained professional smells it carefully).
  • They will soon be adding testing for HPLC and UPLC.
  • They also test oils from other companies in the industry to know how other companies stack up to Young Living standards.

So now you can see the level of care, effort, and intense science that goes into every bottle of Young Living essential oil.

  • It is this crazy-detailed attention to quality that made me comfortable to use these essential oils with my kids since they were babies.
  • It’s this crazy-detailed attention to quality that has given me much better results than I experienced with a bargain brand.
  • It’s this crazy-detailed attention to quality that makes me what some would call a “true believer”.

And it’s this crazy detailed attention to quality that lets me say without a doubt that Young Living’s essential oils really are better!

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