So what does therapeutic grade mean?
Basically, it means the oils are pure enough to be taken internally and they have the chemical constituents in them that provide results that we want, like less anxiety and pain relief, and immune system support.
There are a lot of factors involved in producing therapeutic grade essential oils. Young Living carefully monitors our crops, harvesting them when they are at their peak therapeutic level. One of the reasons for having distilleries at our farms is so the fresh plant material is distilled shortly after it is harvested, that way healing properties of the plants remain intact.
Distillation is more than throwing plants into a huge pressure cooker for 12 minutes and skimming off the oils. The plants are distilled at low temperature and low pressure for a specific length of time unique to each plant.
Here are a couple of examples of different distillation times:
- It takes 1,300 lbs of cinnamon bark to get 5 ounces of oil and it can take up to 24 hours to distill.
- It takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce approximately 16 ounces of oil.
- It takes 2,000 pounds of cypress distilled for 24 hours to produce 16 ounces of oil. The reason it’s distilled for 24 hours is because in the last 20 minutes, 18 of the key active constituents are released from the leaves. If it’s distilled for any less time than this, those healing properties will be missing from your cypress oil.
What is the difference in quality between YL and other essential oils on the market?
It is estimated that 95%-98% of the essential oils on the market are either perfume or food grade.
Some companies redistill the plant material multiple times. That’s like using a tea bag over and over. You may have a product that is considered pure but the oil will not be therapeutic.
Sometimes they add chemicals or solvents to the distillation process to improve the yield. Essential oils are commonly adulterated or “adjusted to manufacturer’s requirements”. The financial bottom line is commonly the only concern when many companies are purchasing from oil brokers.
For example, Kurt Schnaubelt, a world renowned expert on essential oils, stated that in a recent year France produced 15 tons of lavender and exported 250 tons of lavender essential oil.
How could that be?
Much of the lavender oil exported from France is from the hybrid called lavandin and is grown in China, Russia, France & Tasmania. It is brought into France and cut with synthetic linalyl acetate to improve the fragrance. Then they add propylene glycol or solvents that have no smell to increase the volume. It is exported as lavender oil. Most consumers don’t know the difference and are pleased when they find lavender oil for sale at their local health food store or online for only $7 – 10 a bottle.
Did you know that an essential oil company can label a bottle as pure oil if it has just one drop of pure essential oil in the bottle?
Sometimes oil distillers stretch their product with similar smelling but cheaper oils. For example, peppermint oil is frequently adulterated with corn mint and cinnamon oil is often mostly cassia leaf oil.
Most clove bud oil on the market is actually distilled from clove stems and leaves and has few buds in it. A bag of clove leaves costs about $1 a kilo, a bag of stems cost around $19 a kilo, and a bag of clove buds costs $180 a kilo. Oil from the leaves, stems and buds all smell similar, but the therapeutic properties are in the buds. Don’t you want your essential oil provider to know and care enough to make sure that you are actually getting what is on the label? If Young Living says you are getting clove bud oil, that is what you are getting.
Young Living does purchase from trusted co-op farms and distilleries throughout the world. Gary Young and a team trained by him go to our vendors to make sure that every step of the process, from growing, harvesting, distilling, meets YL standards. Companies who want to sell their oils to YL are surprised when Young Living representatives show up because other companies take the vendor’s word for it instead of personally inspecting their operation.
When oil arrives at Young Living, from either a vendor or that we have distilled, it is quarantined until it is analyzed on a piece of high tech equipment called a GC –(gas chromatography) that analyzes the levels of chemical constituents in the oils to make sure that they have the proper levels of therapeutic compounds and to make sure the oil has not been altered in any way.
Young Living rejects around 75% of the oils offered to them for sale.
Sometimes we won’t have essential oil for several years if we quality of the plants or oils do not meet the Young Living standard.
Here’s the bottom line. Young Living goes to great lengths to ensure that we are getting best essential oils on the market.