Anyone who has used high-quality essential oils knows how beneficial and therapeutic they can be. Scientists continue to publish essential oil studies proving the healing effect they have for people with stress, anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, and other health problems.
That’s why Krystal Trammell, an essential oil advocate like yourself, was beyond disappointed when she learned the ugly truth about one of the world’s most popular essential oil companies. But first, let’s give the story some context.
The 5-Year doTERRA and Young Living Lawsuit
In 2012, a legal battle began between the two essential oil giants in which Young Living accused former employees (David Stirling, Emily Wright, Justin Harrison, and Lillian Shepherd) of breaking non-solicitation provisions in their employment agreements when they founded doTERRA.
Between 2007 and 2008, all four employees were either fired or quit after growing both increasingly dissatisfied and offended by Young Living founder Gary Young’s questionable business practices. This included:
- Unequal and discriminatory pay for women
- Diminishing quality of many of Young Living essential oils
- Blatant lies about Young Living farms (in fact, less than 1% of their oils are actually sourced from farms that they own)
Young Living also accused its former employees of further breaching the contract by improperly soliciting 13 previous Young Living distributors who now work with doTERRA. According to Young Living, the estimated damage supposedly caused by Stirling, Wright, Harrison, and Shepherd were $350,008,747! However, in June 2017 after a jury trial, the judge found that they did honor their respective agreements and awarded no damages in light of the dismissal.
Why Krystal Trammell Left Young Living Essential Oils
Within two months of the five-year Young Living and doTERRA lawsuit coming to a close, longtime customer Krystal Trammell chose to cancel her membership with Young Living – a company whose product she helped promote for over three years.
Clearly, it’s a bittersweet relationship.
“Young Living’s oils have been transformational in our lives and health. I still believe that Young Living’s oils are better than grocery-store or discount oils… but they’ve broken my trust, and there’s no coming back from that.
I no longer believe Young Living’s oils to be the best on the market. It’s come to light that they’re NOT as committed to sustainable and ethical practices as they claim to be.”
Due to Young Living’s sheer size and reputation, Krystal Trammell was sure the verdict would go in their favor. But, as we now know, that was not the case at all and this is what led her to do her own research into Young Living.
So, from the perspective of a new, conscious customer seeking the best, purest, most ethically-sourced essential oil, Krystal began digging deeper.
“Their Seed to Seal guarantee is a major reason I chose Young Living in the first place…yet I was shocked to learn that over 99% of Young Living’s oils are NOT grown on their own farms as they claim.”
In court, this was made glaringly clear. All they had to do was a simple Google Earth search of the fields and acreage the Young Living founder claimed to own.
When pressed, Gary Young admitted that “the oils, of course, the vast, vast majority of the oils were being purchased through brokers.” For Krystal Trammell, it suddenly became so much clearer why Young Living essential oils were so much pricier.
“I always felt good about paying more for Young Living’s oils… because I thought I was paying for quality…not brokers’ markups.”
Young Living Essential Oils Latest Lawsuit
In September 2017, Young Living was sentenced to pay $760,000 for Lacey Act and Endangered Species Act violations, do community service, as well as implement a comprehensive compliance plan. This all came after the essential oil company was caught illegally trafficking rosewood oil – an endangered species.
“[Between] November 2014 and January 2016,” the investigation revealed, “[Young Living Essential Oils] purchased over 1,100 kilograms of rosewood oil from a supplier/importer in the United States without conducting sufficient due diligence to verify lawful sourcing of that oil.
The Government calculates the fair market retail value of the plant products involved in the violations and relevant conduct, including but not limited to product equaling approximately 1,899.75 liters of rosewood oil, to be more than $3,500,000 but not more than $9,000,000.”
How Young Living Broken Another Loyal Customer’s Heart – and Now Yours
In 2016, a loyal Young Living essential oils customer and aromatherapy student named Miles sought to conduct his own investigation. So, he sent Young Living’s cinnamon bark oil to an independent lab with other companies’ samples of the same type of essential oil.
“The results showed that ALL samples of cinnamon bark oil had been adulterated with synthetic cinnamaldehyde,” said Krystal Trammell. “As cinnamon bark is a key component of Young Living’s Thieves blend, something Young Living encourages its customers to use internally – it’s disturbing to learn that synthetic compounds are being peddled as unadulterated, pure, and safe essential oils.”
If there’s anything these people have learned from their Young Living experience, it’s this:
Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.
Whether it’s Young Living essential oils or another one of your favorite natural product company, the takeaway here is that, as a responsible and conscious consumer, always do your research. Krystal, Miles, and probably countless others have had to learn the hard way. Fortunately, you don’t have to experience what they did.
“I now realize that 3rd party testing for purity and quality is the gold standard of transparency and integrity that informed consumers should look for,” Krystal shared.
7 Signs You’re Buying from One of the Best Essential Oil Brands
There is a myriad of companies who claim to have the best essential oils or be the best essential oil brand. As we’ve seen, though, just because a company claims they’re something, it doesn’t mean they are… Next time you’re restocking your essential oils inventory, keep these tips for buying the best essential oil brands in mind!
1) Make sure the essential oil packaging states that it’s 100% pure (or, at least, has a statement of its percentage of purity).
2) Know its method of production. Generally, steam distillation and cold expression are the best methods to use for creating high-quality essential oils. However, it’s also a good sign if the essential oil brand discloses its method as a sign of transparency.
3) Be aware of the essential oils’ country of origin. Sites like SourceToYou provide further info about the best seeds, soils, and growing environments.
4) Look for third-party documentation of purity to confirm essential oils have not been adulterated. As a rule of thumb, Mass Spectrometry (MS) or Gas Chromatography (GC) are good methods of testing, so keep an eye out for those ones.
5) The best essential oil brands clearly show the plants’ botanical names. While products usually have catchy names, essential oil bottles should include words such as genus or species.
6) Check if the bottle states which parts of the plant were used to create the essential oil. Parts may include the leaf, stem, root, or aerial parts.
7) Keep your eyes open for variations in price. If essential oils everywhere are priced the same, chances are they’re of poor quality. For example, a bottle of pure Sandalwood essential oil can go for $100. So, it should not cost the same as a bottle of peppermint essential oil, which usually sells for about $10.
If you keep these 7 tips for buying the best essential oil brands in mind, you’ll be able to reap their health benefits knowing there are no hidden dangers to worry about.
Disclaimer: Some oils may cause skin irritation in people with sensitive skin. It is recommended to perform a patch test before use. To patch test, place one drop on the back of your wrist and leave for an hour or more. If irritation or redness occurs wash the area with olive oil then cold water and does not use the oil. We do not recommend the ingestion of essential oils except while under the care and direction of a qualified health practitioner.