Young Living Essential Oils
Oct 28, 2015
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
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Donald Gary Young

Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO) is a multi-level marketing company founded in 1992 or 1993 in Utah by Donald Gary Young and his third wife, Mary Billeter Young. They are charismatic and successful marketers of their products.

Eva Briggs, M.D., exposed many problems with Young Living Essential Oils in her report “The Real Story of Gary Young and Young Living Essential Oils,” May 31, 2013, which is available

Young claims to have a earned doctorate in naturopathy, but his “degree” was purchased from a diploma mill called Bernadean University, and he has never been licensed to practice naturopathy. A degree from Bernadean is not recognized by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education, which is recognized as a crediting agency with the Department of Education.

While living in Spokane, Washington, in the early 1980s, Young caused the death of his baby (by his first wife) by leaving it under water for an hour after birth in a whirlpool as an experiment.

In the 1980s, Young operated a clinic in Rosarita Beach, Mexico, that used laetrile to treat cancer. Laetrile is made from apricot pits. An estimated 50,000 to 75,000 Americans took laetrile treatments for cancer, but it turned out to be bogus and many died from the toxicity of the treatment itself.

Young was arrested in Spokane, Washington, in 1983 for practicing medicine without a license. He pled guilty to the unlawful practice of medicine and was sentenced to a year of probation (“The Truth about Gary Young,” Jul. 13, 2014,

Young was arrested in California in 1988 for “a variety of charges related to the sale of ineffective and worthless medical treatments.”

Young was arrested in 1993 for threatening several family members with an axe. Two days before the assault, he had been ousted from Young Living, Inc. “for fraudulent misrepresentation of himself as a doctor, misuse of company funds to support his personal endeavors, erratic behavior during meetings, and other problems.” “Court and police records from Spokane, Washington, show that two days later, September 29, 1993, Young returned to the company headquarters with an axe. He attempted to force entry into the company office, removing the doors hinge pins, battering at the door with the axe, threatening and terrorizing company employees and his wife. He had to be removed by the police” (Eva Briggs, M.D., “Total Wacko at Total Health Expo in Toronto,” Canadian Quackery Watch).

Sherman Johnson, an M.D. who headed up the Young Life Research Clinic of Natural Medicine, pled guilty to manslaughter after injecting his patient, a longtime girlfriend, with a lethal dose of narcotics and falsifying her death certificate.

At a Total Health Expo in Toronto on March 20, 2004, Young spoke on “Hormones and Rejuvenation.” He showed a photo of Shirali Mislimov, who was reported in
National Geographic Magazine (January 1973) to be 168 years old. Young claimed to have personally interviewed and photographed Mislimov, but that is impossible. Mislimov died in 1973, whereas Young claims in his biography to have been hit on the head in February 1973 by a falling tree after which he was supposedly paralyzed for years. Young also claimed that the Hunza people of China commonly live to more than 100 years old, but this has been debunked for further study. These bogus claims were used to promote Young’s “Berry Young Juice” made from Chinese wolfberry and other ingredients, supposedly based on an ancient Chinese formula that was personally revealed to Young by a “renowned Chinese scientist” named Dr. Songquio Zhao. There is no reference to this man apart from Young’s promotional material (Eva Briggs, M.D., “Total Wacko at Total Health Expo in Toronto,” Canadian Quackery Watch).

Young believes
- that he gets formulas and information about essential oils via “downloads from God.”
- that essentials oils are the “closest thing you get to God’s love in a bottle.”
(“The Real Story on Young Living,”

Young Living Essential Oils claims that its oils are all natural, but chemist Dr. Robert Pappas proved that the jasmine and birch oils contain synthetics. While working for the Lebermuth Company, he was approached by a YLEO representative who asked him to test the company’s jasmine oil. “Dr. Pappas said that he discovered conclusively that the oil had very high percentages of chemical known as DPG (dipropylene glycol), which was being sold as a ‘pure’ jasmine oil” (“Damning Evidence that Young Living and DoTERRA’s Essential Oils Are Adulterated,”
Utah Stories, Aug. 15, 2014).


Young Living Essentials Oils has nearly all of the marks of quackery that we give in the book
The Bible, Diet & Alternative Health Care.

Consider some of these:

A quack diet is based on bogus “science.”

While quacks discredit “traditional medicine,” their remedies are usually based on bogus science. This is true of Young Essential Oils. Young’s lecture “The Missing Link,” which was long used to train distributors, is filled with bogus science, as exposed by Eva Briggs, M.D., in “The Real Story of Gary Young and Young Living Essential Oils,” May 31, 2013, which is available

For example, Young claims that oils “transport nutrients” and play the same function in plants as blood does in humans, which is false and ridiculous.

Of Young’s “The Missing Link,” Robert P. Adams of Baylor University called it “pure garbage.” Rodney Croteau of Washington State University said Young’s writings “are among the most unscientific and intellectually unsound that I have ever read.” Dr. Eva Briggs says his writings “reveal a complete and utter lack of knowledge about even basic science.”

A quack diet promises near perfect health and longevity and makes high-sounding claims.

When asked by the
Daily Herald of Provo, Utah, what essential oils are good for, Mary Young replied, “They do everything under the sun” (“Oil of Success Brings Healthy $230 Million a Year to Lehi Company,” Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, May 5, 2013).

That’s a pretty big claim!

Until a warning was issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September 2014, Young Living Essential Oils distributors made many wild-eyed claims about the health benefits and healing properties of the products, including the claim that they could help in the cure of autism, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and Ebola. Since such claims would cause the oils to be listed as drugs and thus subject to testing, Young Living has toned down or removed the claims (“FDA warns three companies against marketing their products as Ebola treatments or cures,”
The Washington Post, Sept. 24, 2014; “Honey Boo Boo, Snake Oil, and Ebola,” The Daily Beast, Dec. 5, 2014).

One of the ads for Young Living Essential Oils on proclaimed, “Viruses (including Ebola) are no match for Young Living Essential Oils.” It said that YLEO
Thieves oil “can even fight against airborne carried germs. ... This blend helped protect people against the Black Plague endemic in France.” The ad is no longer online.

Ads for Young Living Essential Oils at claimed that YLEO’s
Thieves oil “has been shown in university studies to obliterate bacteria and viruses, as well as mold.” And YLEO’s Frankincense oil was said to “have an anti-tumor effect on the following types of cancer cells, causing them to implode: Prostate cancer cells . . . Colon cancer cells . . . Cervical cancer cells . . . Bladder cancer cells . . . Leukemia cells . . . Melanoma and fibrosarcoma cells . . . Brain tumor cells.”

Ads on claimed that Young Living Essential Oils were good for arteriosclerosis, hypertension, cancer, insomnia, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Today, the Young Living Essential Oils catalog only goes so far to make the following claims that are vague enough to be meaningless when put to any scientific test, but which still hold out the promise of health and healing, both physical and spiritual, to those who use them:

“can maintain overall vitality”
“encourages peaceful and spiritual feelings”
“brings a deeper sense of spirituality”
“enhances spiritual journey and meditation experience”
“contributes to overall wellness”
“supports a healthy immune response”
“promotes a more radiant, younger-looking appearance”
“supports joints and tissue health”
“balances the body’s overall enzyme activity”
“supports the body’s systems”
“supports core intestinal health”
“provides optimal antioxidant protection”
“supports overall wellness”
“supports cognitive alertness and fitness”
“supports a unique normal brain function”
“boosts feelings of masculinity and confidence”
“supports health weight-management goals”
“created to enhance the frequency of harmonic magnetic energy field that surrounds us”
“energizes your life force”
“designed to enhance the process of dreaming and visualization”

The promotion of energy fields, life forces, dreaming, meditation, spirituality, and visualization takes Young Living Essential Oils directly into the realm of New Age occultism.

A quack diet is based on testimonials.

In the case of Young Living Essential Oils, the company is founded on Young’s own testimony of healing from a logging accident. He implies that he was healed by his oils, but there is no evidence to back up the claim. He has never documented either his injury or his cure.

A quack diet is tied to a money-making scheme.

Young Living Essential Oils is a money-making enterprise which has made Donald Gary Young wealthy. YLEO owns six farms and seven distilleries worldwide. By 2013, Young Living Essential Oils had 785 employees worldwide with offices in Utah, Japan, Ecuador, Peru, and Australia, and was making $230 million a year (“Oil of Success Brings Healthy $230 Million a Year to Lehi Company,”
Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, May 5, 2013).

There is nothing inherently wrong with building a successful business and making money, but when one’s income is tied to one’s testimony about a certain product, it must be carefully tested.

A quack tends to discredit “standard medicine.”

This theme runs through many of the testimonies pertaining to Young Living Essential Oils. At the Total Health Expo in Toronto in March 2004, Gary Young claimed that scientists and doctors are “all participants in a giant conspiracy” and they suppress genuine discoveries in order to obtain grant money.

A quack diet plan promotes “all natural” as opposed to “synthetic.”

Young Living Essential Oils makes a large issue of the alleged fact that its oils are all natural, though this has been disproven in scientific tests.

A quack diet plan claims to be based on the Bible.

Many promoters of essential oils try to find a biblical basis. For example, one wrote, “I am a Christian too, a strong one, and have done a lot of research on the biblical basis of using oils for healthcare. I started using them on my children and can’t believe the amazing results. Check my oil website. ... Look at these verses: Ezekiel 47:12; Gen. 37:25; Matt 2:11; Numbers 16 (Aaron stops a plague with frankincense and myrrh!); Exodus 12:22; 29:7; Leviticus 2:1-2, Mark 14:3, and my favorite James 5:14-15. From a healthcare standpoint, the oils will change your life. From a spiritual standpoint, you may change other’s lives” (from

The biblical ignorance reflected in this statement is frightful. Most of the references have nothing to do with the use of oils for healing or healthcare. In Numbers 16, Aaron didn’t stop the plague with frankincense and myrrh. The power of God stopped it. The incense was used to make an atonement (Num. 16:46). It was a spiritual issue, not a physical one. The Tabernacle incense signified Christ’s intercession for man’s sin. As for James 5:14-15, the healing is not through oil but through prayer. We believe in anointing with oil, but it is symbolic of the healing ministry of the Holy Spirit. The oil is used as an “anointing,” not for a healing balm. James plainly says it is “the prayer of faith” that saves the sick.


The very concept of oil therapy is a major part of Hindu Ayurvedic and other types of Eastern medical practices.

Consider some quotes from Ayurvedic web sites:

“Ayurveda is the science of life which was first understood by the Vedic Rishis - or Seers - of ancient India at least 4000 years ago. … The knowledge was recorded in Sanskrit as poetic verse, and first describes the creation of the universe which began with the sound Om. Energy and Matter came into being, and from them arose the Five Great Elements of Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. This is the guiding philosophy of Ayurveda - Sankhya - behind which there is considered a state of pure existence or awareness, beyond time or space, without beginning or end. … Many essential oils can benefit more than one Dosha, particularly when combined in a synergistic blend, making them a pleasurable, effective, economical and useful addition to our lives.”

“With the goal of Ayurveda being balance and harmony with nature within and without,
essential oils hold the power to balance vata, pitta and kapha with ease and joy. I share essential oils in my practice for women with effective results—for example, clary sage to reduce hot flashes, sweet orange for anxiety, ylang ylang for libido, vetiver for overactive children, peppermint for mental clarity, mahanarayan oil mixed with lavender for joint pain, holy basil for respiratory issues and many more.”

“When inhaled,
essential oils primarily work on the subdosha of vata called prana vata. Imagine prana vata as the vital energy that draws air into your body. … Prana vata doesn’t just refer to oxygen, however. It also is about maintaining mental calm and tranquility.”

Using aromatics for meditation practices and spiritual experience has been done for thousands of years. Maharishi Ayurveda has several oils well suited for this purpose, such as frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, and myrrh. Diffuse the oils in the meditation environment or put a drop in your hands, rub the hands together, and inhale the aroma.”

Basically, the essential oil of a plant is the ‘Agni’ or fire of the plant. … According to Ayurvedic pharmacology the pure fire element extract of a plant is very potent. This very potency is what makes it both dangerous and therapeutically efficient.” 

These are demonic philosophies and practices that God’s people should avoid like the plague.

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee” (De. 18:10-12).

“Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them” (Jer. 10:2).

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11).

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Co. 6:14-18).

“What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils” (1 Co. 10:19-21).

Following is a Christian woman’s experiences in an independent Baptist Church:

“This church introduced some things that I had never heard of before: Detox foot baths, iridology and natural paths. And Essential Oils. What is ailing you? ‘I have an oil for that!’ Was always the response. 

“And that was okay with me. I had never heard of them! And there are oils in the Bible! Sign me up... again, I’m natural! I bought two oils and used them a couple times. I’m sensitive to smells so I’m not fond of smelling them often. 

“I noticed on the emails I would get for oils that a lot of the sales pitches were for ‘spiritual’ cures. Happiness, love, hope, depression, charisma, etc. I was concerned. 

“And then I went to church one day and our deacon’s wife, was telling me about her natural doctors appointment. As serious as can be, she explains to me how her naturopath practitioner told her she could tell ‘she had deep hurts in her life’ and if she rubbed a combination of oils over her heart everyday it would heal it. A deacon’s wife in a independent, fundamental, baptist church!

“I stood there shocked and at this point had to question what exactly the beliefs behind essential oils were. I started researching and was shocked at all I found. And when I research, I don't look up ‘essential oils new age.’ I just google ‘essential oil uses’ because I want to see what people selling and using them say about them. The claims, the way they work, the beliefs in the power of them is ALL new age. There is zero science behind any of it. It roots its belief in new age/meridians/qi/chi/Chinese medicine and Christians are refusing to even look it up and search it out. 

“Shortly after this I had a Christian friend from an independent, fundamental, baptist church come to my home for a party, and chit chat led to learning that she loves essential oils. She swore that wearing one of the oils brought her more tips as a waitress. THIS is witchcraft!”

God made oils, and they have many good and helpful uses, but we have seen that there is a close connection between oil therapy and Eastern occultic practice, and the wise child of God will avoid all such things. God’s people must avoid every whiff of New Age idolatry! It is better to err on the side of safety in anything that is questionable.

There is no panacea for all of life’s troubles and health problems. We age, get sick, and die because of sin, ultimately, not because of lack of oils, herbs, vitamins, or supplements.

Diet is important, and diet can affect one’s health, but there is no diet and no supplement and no program that can legitimately promise health or longevity.

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