In the essential oil industry it is well-known that the only way you will know if the essential oils you are purchasing are superior quality is to know the grower and know the company. While most essential oil companies purchase all of their essential oils from vendors Young Living Essential Oils grows, raises, harvest and distils most of their own essential oils. Those that we do not grow, harvest and distill in-house are contained from farms that comply with Young Living’s stringent guidelines for purity, from seed to seal.
Potent essential oils come from plant species that have been authenticated by Young Living experts. Species certification involves scientific research, field study, university partnerships, and on-site planting certification.
The first step of this process—Seed—means we research plant species that offer the optimal therapeutic benefits, identify species with experts and document their source, and monitor the ongoing cultivation process to ensure the chosen plant species is used.
Lavender is an excellent example of Seed authentication. Young Living has identified more than thirty-five different varieties of lavender, and so far, only one, Lavandula angustifolia, has shown the best therapeutic outcomes. Lavandula angustifolia is grown on Young Living’s farms in Utah, Idaho, and France.
After the harvest on each farm, the lavender seed stock is collected and stored until the following year. Gary Young always uses the seed stock from the previous harvest instead of cloned or hybrid seed. Cloned and hybrid seeding techniques are used by lavender growers who aren’t focused on therapeutic outcomes. Although these other seeding techniques may grow taller, faster plants and produce larger yields, Young Living’s industry-leading experience and research has shown that only a balanced seed stock can deliver the expected therapeutic results.
Lavender is only one example of Young Living’s expertise in seed authentication. Think about the dozens of Young Living essential oils, the variety of species, and all the places around the world where these species are grown— copaiba in the Amazon rainforest, helichrysum in the Mediterranean, vetiver in Madagascar. There are more than seventy single oil species Young Living offers as products! Gary and other Young Living experts have visited each partner grower to verify in person the species being used. Even after our experts leave a partner grower, incoming batches are tested to validate the chosen species.
Only by going to the source can Young Living confidently share the therapeutic benefits of the plant compounds with all our members.
Through cultivation on the Young Living farms, Young Living Essential Oils has mastered the creation of pure, potent essential oils. The company takes this knowledge around the world to co-op farms to certify that these farms’ growing processes meet Young Living’s strict quality standards.
Through expert cultivation on farms around the world, Young Living has mastered growing high-quality aromatic plants. Cultivation includes planting, growing, and harvesting the delicate herbs in preparation for distillation. Young Living currently operates four farms, each dedicated to the cultivation of the world’s most potent and pure plant sources. These farms, and our years of experience perfecting the cultivation process, help ensure members get the results they expect from every bottle of essential oil.
St. Maries, Idaho
In 1992, Gary Young purchased 160 acres of pristine farmland near the small logging town of St. Maries, Idaho. This property had never before been plowed or subjected to harsh chemicals, pesticides, or fertilizers – making it an ideal location to begin producing therapeutic-grade essential oils.
In 1995, Gary obtained an additional 138 acres of farmland in Mona, Utah. Today, this farm is approximately 1,600 acres and showcases vibrant lavender fields during the months of June and July. German chamomile, hyssop, goldenrod, and clary sage are also distilled on the farm, which houses the largest essential oil distillery in North America.
Well-known for its rolling hills, fresh-grown crops, and fragrant fields of lavender, the Provence area of France is home to Young Living’s third farm, the only American-owned lavender farm in the country. In 2000, Young Living purchased a lavender farm in beautiful valley of Simiane in Southern France, making Young Living the largest North America-based farming operation dedicated to growing herbs for essential oil distillation. The scent of lavender yields its calming, uplifting effects on the village and people of the area.
In 2005, Young Living purchased over 2,000 acres in Ecuador where Gary Young oversees the cultivation of rare oils at Young Living’s newest farm, Finca Botánica Aromática. Gary spends much of his time searching for new natural plant remedies, partnering with indigenous tribes and local governments to foster a global community of healing and discovery and bring new essential oils to the world.
In 2009, Young Living was granted special permission to build a Young Living distillery in Oman; distilling Boswellia sacra, a species of frankincense, essential oil in partnership with Dr. Suhail in Salalah, Oman – a one-of-a-kind relationship between a Western essential oil company and a local practitioner in Arabia.
Young Living applies what it learns through cultivating plants on its own farms with its network of worldwide growing partners. Every farm that supplies Young Living with herbs ready for distilling must be visited and certified by a Young Living sourcing expert. These sourcing specialists continually travel the globe to ensure that only the finest essential oils bear the Young Living name.
In 2011, Young Living was given thousands of acres of land in Peru to begin planting, harvesting and distilling the aromatic plants of Peru.
Whether growing aromatic plants on its own farms or sourcing oils in the jungles of Ecuador and the deserts of Oman, the Cultivate portion of the Seed to Seal™ process is evidence of the lengths Young Living goes to produce the world’s highest-quality essential oils.
Young Living’s proprietary low-temperature, low-pressure steam distillation process ensures that the beneficial plant compounds in every batch of essential oil remain uncompromised during the extraction process.
After the correct species of plant has been properly identified (Seed) and expertly sown, grown, and harvested (Cultivate), if it is not correctly distilled, the resulting essential oil will not produce the desired therapeutic results. This makes Distill—the third phase in Young Living’s Seed to Seal™ process—one of the most important steps in ensuring oil quality.
As the world leader in essential oils, Young Living is recognized as a distillation innovator and uses a gentle, proprietary technique for extracting the most potent essential oils. Founder and President, Gary Young, and other Young Living experts have decades of experience distilling essential oils. Today, Young Living operates distillation facilities in Utah, Idaho, Ecuador, France, and Oman.
Essential oils can be distilled in a variety of ways, but the most common method is steam distillation—a process that has been used for thousands of years. Following this proven technique, Young Living utilizes vaporized water that travels through the plant material to gently extract the natural oil. Once the steam passes through the plant material, the oil is carried with the steam through a series of stainless-steel pipes where it condenses and separates from the water. The water is then drained off and the remaining essential oil is taken to the Young Living laboratory for quality testing.
With each batch of essential oil, Young Living takes into consideration the part of the plant used (leaf, stem, bark, resin, etc.), when the plant was harvested, and the temperature at the time of distillation. Even minor deviations in distilling the plant material can cause an imbalance in the optimal natural constituents.
Young Living understands that frankincense resin must not travel long distances before it is distilled. This is one reason why Young Living built its own distillery in Oman.
Young Living also distills their own lavender in Utah, Idaho, and France, where they can personally monitor the plant’s chemical profile. Such is the case with hyssop, golden rod, ocotea, Palo Santo, and many other essential oils.
Young Living also uses its distillation expertise to certify partner distillers around the world. Gary Young and other sourcing specialists personally visit these global partners to certify their machinery and distilling methods. For instance, Gary and Young Living’s Director of Purchasing, Mary Lou Jacobson, have traveled to Canada to inspect a long-time distillation partner who provides ledum and spruce—two important oils in the line-up of Young Living singles and blends; they also traveled to Madagascar to help partner distillers complete the ylang ylang harvest and distillation; and Marc Schreuder, Director of Product Formulations, traveled to Australia to supervise the distillation of blue cypress. This is a typical year in the assurance that the Young Living oils meet and/or exceed the high standards that Young Living demands.
Whether expertly distilling essential oils or certifying partner distilleries, the Distill portion of the Seed to Seal process is further evidence of the lengths Young Living goes to produce the highest quality essential oils available on the market. This means you can trust Young Living to produce quality, therapeutic products that work.
Each essential oil must pass Young Living’s stringent testing to ensure the optimal bioactive natural compounds are present. Young Living uses its own internal labs, in addition to third-party audits, to verify that international purity and potency standards are met and surpassed.
Creating Authentic Superior Essential Oils
means ensuring that every step of the process is followed with precision and integrity. This is especially important when scientifically testing the oil’s purity and potency after distillation. Testing essential oils is important because it ensures every bottle captures the true energy of the plant.
When a new essential oil comes to the Young Living testing facility, it undergoes a rigorous set of tests. The tests can quickly determine if the oils have been subjected to dilution, cutting, or adulterated processes. Oils that exhibit even the slightest hint of possible adulteration or tampering are rejected.
Young Living doesn’t only meet, but far surpasses quality standards generally accepted by our competitors. Frequently, organizations like The Association French Normalization Organization Regulation (AFNOR) and International Standards Organization (ISO) are cited by companies to assert oil quality. However, AFNOR and ISO only differentiate between lower-grade fragrance oils and therapeutic-grade essential oils—they do not measure actual oil purity or potency. Young Living essential oils fit in a higher category. The level of quality found in Young Living oils supersedes any known industry certification
Additionally, tests confirm that the optimal level of beneficial constituents is present in each batch. Any oils that do not meet established therapeutic levels are discarded—Young Living only seals and ships oils that meet both purity and potency standards.
Each batch of essential oil is sent through six rigorous tests and compared to established quality benchmarks:
- Gas Chromatograph – Measures the percentage of constituents (plant chemicals) in the oil.
- Mass Spectrometer – Identifies the names of each constituent in the oil.
- Refractive Index – Measures the density of the oil using a concentrated beam of light.
- Specific Gravity – Measures how heavy the oil is as compared to water.
- Flash Point – Ignites the oil and tests it against standard flash temperatures.
- Optical Rotation – Measures the molecular structure of the oil.
Once the tests are complete, the results are compared to the vast library of information Young Living has amassed over 20 years. This library of oil data is unmatched in the industry. With the recorded data, new oils can be compared to past samples, allowing for a consistent product. If the incoming oils do not meet the established profile, they are rejected and not allowed to be bottled as a Young Living product.
Young Living completes the Seed to Seal process by carefully sealing each bottle of essential oil before shipping them to members worldwide.