The quality of Young Living's pure and potent organic essential oils has established credibility with eminent scientists and medical professionals who continue to research and validate the effectiveness of these timeless wonders.
Reported effects of essential oils are based on results that occur when using pure, unadulterated AFNOR or ISO certified oils. Do not expect cheap copies to have the same effects.
From Gary Young's Essential Oils Integrative Medical Guide copyright © 2003:
"One of the most reliable indicators of essential oil quality is the AFNOR (Association French Normalization Organiation Regulation) or ISO certification (ISO is the International Standards Organization which has set standards for therapeutic-grade essential oils adopted from AFNOT). This standard is more stringent and differentiates true therapeutic-grade essential oils from similar oils with inferior chemistry.
The AFNOR standard was written by a team headed up by the government-certified botanical chemist, Herve Casabianca, PhD, while working with several analytical laboratories throughout France.
Dr. Casabianca introduced these standards into North American when he collaborated with me at Young Living Essential Oils in 2000. During that collaboration, the Young Living chemistry laboratory and GSI chromatograph were calibrated to recognized European standards.
Dr. Casabianca recognized that the primary constituents within an essential oil had to occur in certain percentages in order for the oil to be considered therapeutic. He combined his studies with research conducted by other scientists and doctors, including the Central Service Analysis Laboratory certified by the French government for essential oil analysis.
As a result, many oils that are listed as therapeutic-grade such as frankincense or lavender, can be checked to see if they do indeed meet AFNOR standards. If some constituents are too high or too low, the oils cannot be certified.
As a general rule, if two or more marker compound sin an essential oil fall outside the prescribed percentages, the oil does not meet the AFNOR standard. It cannot be recognized as therapeutic-grade essential oil, even though it is still of relatively high quality.
Currently, there is no agency responsible for certifying that an essential oil is therapeutic grade. The only indication for a therapeutic-grade oil is if it meets AFNOR or ISO standards. The therapeutic effects discussed in this book can only be achieved using essential oils which meet the AFNOR standards.
To my knowledge, Young Living is one of the few essential oil producers in North America that has been collaborating with government-certified analytical chemists in Europe to ensure that their essential oils meet AFNOR standards.
In the United States, few companies use the proper analytical equipment and methods to properly analyze essential oils. Most labs use equipment best-suited for synthetic chemicals - not for natural essential oil analysis. Young Living Essential Oils uses the proper machinery and has made serious efforts to adopt the European testing standards, widely regarded as the "gold standard" for testing essential oils. In addition to operating its analytical equipment on the same standard as the European-certified laboratories, Young Living is continually expanding its analytical chemical library in order to perform more thorough chemical analysis.
Properly analyzing an essential oil by gas chromatography is a complex undertaking. The injection mixture, column diameter and length, and oven temperature must fall within certain parameters. Unless someone has gone to France and Turkey as I have and been trained in the analytical procedures of a gas chromatograph, they will not understand how to accurately test essential oils.
The column length should be at least 50 or 60 meters. However, almost all labs in the United States use a 30-meter column that is not long enough to achieve proper separation of all the essential oil constituents. While 30-meter columns are adequate for analyzing synthetic chemicals and marker compounds in vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts, they are far too short to properly analyze the complex mosaic of natural chemicals found in an essential oil.
A longer column also enables double-phased ramping, which makes it possible to identify constituents that occur in very small percentages by increasing the separation of compounds. Without a longer column, it would be extremely difficult to identify these molecules, especially if they are chemically similar to each other or a marker compound.
While gas chromatography (GC) is an excellent tool for dissecting the anatomy of an essential oil, it does have limitations. Dr. Brian Lawrence, one of the foremost experts on essential oil chemistry, has commented that sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between natural and synthetic compounds using GC analysis. If synthetic linalyl acetate is added to pure lavender, a GC analysis cannot really tell whether that compound is synthetic or natural, only that it is linalyl acetate. Adding a chiral column can help, however, in distinguishing between synthetic and natural oils. This addition allows the chemist to identify structural varieties of the same compound.
This is why oils must be analyzed by a chemist specially trained on the interpretation of a gas chromatograph chart. The chemist examines the entire chemical fingerprint of the oil to determine its purity and potency, measuring how various compounds in the oil occur in relation to each other. If some chemicals occur in higher quantities than others, these provide important clues to determine if the oil is adulterated or pure.
I have demanded the highest quality oils, insisting that each batch coming to Young Living be tested at either Central Service Laboratory or the Albert Vieille Laboratory, both AFNOR-certified laboratories, by chemists licensed to test therapeutic-grade essential oils.
Adulteration of essential oils will become more and more common as the supply of top-quality essential oils dwindles and demand explodes. These adulterated essential oils will jeopardize the integrity of aromatherapy in the United States and may put many people at risk."