Tag Archives: AFNOR

Part 14: Finding Pure Essential Oils

Gary Standing Straight with Distributors
Gary teaching YL distributors about lavender at the St. Maries farm in Idaho

3. If an oil is labeled pure therapeutic grade, can I be sure that it is? No!

Anyone can put anything on the label and then market it. Presently there are no therapeutic regulations on essential oils. The perfume and flavor industry, the largest purchaser of essential oils, uses guidelines called AFNOR. Developed in Europe, AFNOR sets minimum percent concentrations for 3 to 10 compounds of different essential oils. But essential oils have hundreds of compounds, so the most therapeutic compounds could be completely missing, and the oils would still meet AFNOR standards. This is why I have developed Young Living’s very high standards for therapeutic-grade essential oils.

4. If an oil is labeled organic, can I be guaranteed that it is? No!

Not even an oil produced from plants grown on an organic farm can be guaranteed to be organic. Neighboring farms could be spraying different chemicals that easily spread through the air contaminating the organic crop. It’s much like secondhand smoke. In addition, the water used for irrigation could be polluted with chemicals, sick fish, dead animals, or even human waste.

Some distilleries use chemicals in their water systems to protect the water tubes in the boilers from mineral buildup, and those chemicals mix with the water that turns into the steam that travels up through the plant material, which then usually contaminates the oil.  Oils extracted from plants grown on an organic farm could also be contaminated with “organic synthetic compounds” that are put directly into the oil that goes into the barrels that go to the buyer. The labels could say “organic” because they come from an organic farm, and rare is the buyer who would ever know the difference.

5. If an oil matches the AFNOR standard, will it be therapeutic grade? Not always.

The parameters of the AFNOR standard from the low to the high range in some cases are far apart, and in other cases, the low range is below what I feel is a therapeutic grade.

6. Can geographic location make a difference in the quality of essential oils? Yes!

The climate, microclimate, temperature range, altitude, rainfall, and soil nutrient levels of a farm all impact the quality of essential oils.

To be continued . . .

Part 9: Finding Pure Essential Oils

Young Living's GC-MS in Spanish Fork, UT lab
Young Living’s GC-MS in Spanish Fork, UT lab

Our research and quality control laboratories in Utah have three gas chromatograph (GC) instruments.  Two of these GC instruments possess dual-FID detectors, auto-injectors, and auto-samplers. The FID (flame ionization detector) counts carbons in the aromatic molecule so that its structure can be compared to a reference sample. Auto-injectors automatically inject the essential oil, and the auto-sampler allows you to program a series of injections for precise quantity and timing if you run multiple samples in sequence.

We use these instruments daily to routinely evaluate every new batch of essential oil that enters Young Living to verify that it meets strict Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ standards, a term that I coined in 1991. The third GC instrument has an FID and mass spectrometer (MS). This third GC-MS is reserved for research to identify individual components of new essential oils before they are introduced to distributors.

In May 2010 I built a new laboratory and installed our first GC in Ecuador, and on September 8, 2010, our new mass spectroscopy detector (MSD) arrived. It ionizes molecules and then scans them, providing a “molecular fingerprint.”

We are also adding a polarimeter, which measures optical rotation. Optical rotation allows us another means to check for purity and possible adulteration.

Our essential oil chemical reference library has over 280,000 compound references that have taken us 12 years to compile. Today, with the instruments Young Living owns in our two laboratories, we posses the most advanced and complete laboratories in North and South America for the analysis of plant compounds and their identity.

Our instruments are the only ones in the world that are matched and calibrated to the instruments used in the Central Service Laboratory in France by Dr. Hervé Casabianca, who was on the directing committee that wrote the AFNOR Standards, which are accepted worldwide as the average essential oil standards. With Dr. Casabianca’s help, Young Living is raising the bar for the standards of essential oils.

To be continued . . .