The other day Dr. Suhail and I were talking about frankincense, and he asked me if I knew something that I wasn’t telling him, and I said, “Well, I’ll tell you my feeling. Frankincense does not kill abnormal cells.”
He replied, “Well, Gary, I’m seeing the evidence of it every day.”
I told him that what he is seeing is an illusion and that frankincense does not kill anything, because God did not create it to kill. Instead, frankincense digests abnormal cells (breaks them down).
He came up out of his chair and exclaimed, “I knew it; I knew it! Frankincense digests abnormal cells!”
Dr. Edward Close made a similar statement. He said, “Thieves does not kill fungus; Thieves digests fungus.” So, what does it take to digest? Enzymes.
Enzymatic “blueprints” are in every essential oil, so some of the components in an oil will cause the blueprints of the enzymes to direct the traffic. We don’t know if it’s the smaller amounts of boswellic acid or incensole or a combination of the pinenes and the sesquiterpenes that are directing the enzymatic activity of frankincense in targeting abnormal cells. We don’t have the answer yet, but one day we will know.
And so again, are essential oils invaluable to human beings? Absolutely.
Oil brokers who are just selling oils to the food and flavoring industries as well as the aromatherapy industry are not particular about the smell. Too often the smell is chemically enhanced, so who can be sure about getting a pure fragrance anyway?
Young Living is different. We want the pure, most beautiful smell possible. All of our workers are on our payroll and receive a salary, so the problem of trying to “fill the basket” is eliminated. They are taught how to pick the best flowers and leave the rest.
Many of the distributors, who were learning how to pick while visiting the farm, had a hard time leaving the undesirable flowers because they were still nice to smell. But everyone understood and participated in the gathering of the very best, because that is important to Young Living.
We stand on quality and standards higher than any company in the world. I supervise all the growing and harvesting of our farms, which keeps me traveling all over the world.
In addition, I am fortunate to have such a great team of people in the office who have been with me for many years who protect our oil quality. Mary Lou Jacobson and Marc Schreuder have traveled to remote places of the world to inspect the facilities of others who produce for us to be certain that our oil quality is maintained. Dr. Cole Woolley, who joined Young Living as the Director of Research, has been overseeing our frankincense production in Oman and has been a great asset to me and our company.
I am very pleased to see in our office the commitment to maintaining the purity and high standards of our oils. As Young Living continues to grow and we continue to develop farms, that standard will continue to be the mark of our company as we lead the world in the production and quality of therapeutic-grade essential oils.
What would I do if I couldn’t get pure essential oils? How do I know if the essential oils I am buying are pure? How can I know the origin and the species of the oil I am buying? Does this mean that I need to question whether all the oils I may be buying that I am told are pure are actually pure? Because the salesperson and the promotional literature say so, does that make it so?
These are the questions that every person representing, selling, buying, or using essential oils should be asking. If you buy an oil from a broker who tells you it is pure, does it guarantee that it is? Absolutely not! Many essential oils come from countries far away from us, and visiting the distilleries could be very difficult.
An essential oil such as frankincense is one where people can easily be deceived. Even if you were to go to Oman and buy directly from the market in Salalah, the land of frankincense, could you be guaranteed that you are buying pure Boswellia sacra frankincense? Absolutely not!
But, you could more easily travel to France to see fields of lavender being harvested and distilled, or could you? That certainly was possible in years past, and tens of thousands of visitors have done just that. But what is happening today in France? Lavender, one of the world’s most favored essential oils, is currently in great distress. Many difficult circumstances surround this beautiful oil, and if you go to France today and buy directly from a producer, does this guarantee that you are buying 100 percent pure Lavandula angustifolia—pure lavender essential oil? Absolutely not!
Can different distillation practices change the oil quality? Yes!
Commercial distilleries push processpressure over 5 pounds and up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which fractures the molecules. This speeds up the extraction process, and yet they are still able to capture the top notes for the perfume industry. Their distilling time can beno more than 40 minutes.
Our distillation of lavender essential oil takes a minimum of 1 hour. When the commercial distilleries extract only for the purpose of the aroma such as for the perfumers, once the larger molecules come out, which are generally the fragrance compounds, the boiler is shut off because it burns 25 to 38 gallons of diesel fuel per hour at 5.50 Euros, which equals $7.36a gallon, to retrieve maybe 1 or 2 percent more oil.
I have found after distilling oils on five continents around the world, above and below the equator, that most of the time the therapeutic molecules are some of the last molecules to come out, which may take 1½ to 3 hours more. For example, in our distillery in Spain, we use full-agitation to distill frankincense essential oil for 12 hours minimum. In Salalah, we use partial agitation and distill frankincense for 16 hours.
Agitation is a process that grinds the resin into coarse powder. It is similar to the agitation of the old-time washing machine, where the paddles move back and forth, beating the clothes. In this case, the paddles break down the resin, which is very gummy and will easily stick together, impeding the release of the oil. For this reason, the constant agitation is important to keep the powder from clumping at the bottom of the cooker. This agitation also ensures greater steam saturation for greater essential oil extraction as the steam travels up through the powdered resin.
Incensole acetate, which is a very important compound found in frankincense resin, only shows up after 11 hours of distilling with agitation and 15 hours without agitation. Incensole acetate is considered a major constituent, which is sought after to support many body functions. It works well as a companion to the boswellic acids in its medicinal attributes.
I met with Saud Salim Al-Harthi, Director General, Ministry of Agriculture–Dhofar. I have also visited with the Manager of the Salalah, Oman, Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition, I have visited and become friends with the sheikh of the entire Dhofar frankincense region, Sheikh Hamden, and continue to search and discover new information.
Young Living has now leased land for farming in Salalah, Oman, and has a major investment there. It didn’t come easy and it didn’t happen overnight. I spent months with Mahmoud Suhail, M.D., writing papers to apply for an export permit for Boswellia sacrabecause there had never been one issued before this time.
With that said, how can you know if you are buying the highest quality essential oil? Let us review some facts.
1. Are there different grades of pure essential oil? Yes, of course!
Plants can be grown in different areas where the soil has different compositions that will change the oil. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, wrong time of harvest, or even a different way of harvesting will change or determine the quality of oil and compound percentages.
2. Are all pure essential oils therapeutic? No!
A plant harvested at the wrong time or distilled the wrong way can destroy the therapeutic values of the extracted oil, but the oil is still pure. Example: peppermint essential oil should contain between 38 and 47 percent menthol to be therapeutic. If the summer is wet and rainy, menthol will be approximately 24 percent but will still be pure. It is just not therapeutic.