When I started using Essential Oils I was thrown into Young Living by a friend with nothing but good intentions. He had started using them for his PTSD, and after great results, thought I could benefit from them for my own anxiety. After I got my starter kit I realized there was a lot more to Essential Oils than applying a few drops to help with panic attacks. While the oils did help me with my anxiety I wanted to learn more about their other health benefits. I than discovered other companies, the risks associated with essential oils and the lack of regulation. Each company I researched claimed to have a certification but there was no explanation of what that certification actually meant. So began my research.
Let me start by saying that in the United States there is no government or third party agency that regulates essential oils. Aside from the USDA approval for organic every other stamp of approval is either made up by the company or a set of guidelines that people are expected to follow on the honor system. Therapeutic grade for example is a term widely used, and it is expected that if you claim to be of therapeutic grade you are using a pure oil with no fillers. With that said no one tests that to make sure people are being true to their labeling. The only third party that did quality testing I could find was in France the Association Francaise De Normalisation (AFNOR).
I compared four companies: Young Living, Doterra, Ameo and Now. Here is what I discovered about each company:
NOW: Was actually the first company that I ever used. I bought them from a health foods store to use in my lotions and deodorants. The problem I later discovered is that directly on the bottle it says not to be used on the skin or be consumed. They are therapeutic grade but I believe the intent was to diffuse and use for aromatherapy purposes. If this is what you are looking for in an oil it is a fair priced option. Always follow the directions on the bottle and do not consume or apply directly to the skin. The company was founded in 1968 and have a wide variety of products that seem great.
Ameo: This is a company that is new to the market founded in Sept. 2014. They have Certi-5 difference which is said to make their oils the purest on the market and tested by patented technology. Their website says they meet AFNOR standards (unable to find if they are approved by AFNOR) and lists all the testing the oils go through. The certi-5 difference is their trademark and a certification they set up the standards for, and only they can hold. They buy the oils from outside sources and bottle them after they undergo testing. I could not find the patent to the patented technology.
Doterra: This company, along with Young Living, dominates the Essential Oil market. The company was founded in May, 2008, and is Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade. Like Ameo’s Certi-5, this is a certification they trademarked, set the standards for and only they can have. They do not met AFNOR standards but in an article written by Doterra I found this: ” For many years, Young Living was the only essential oil company in North America that had been collaborating with government-certified analytical chemists in Europe, to ensure that its essential oils met the highest standards. For that, we owe these people a debt of gratitude. They set a very high standard for the industry to follow.” The company strives for quality and high standards. The oils are purchased from a third party, and then bottle for distribution. A list of the tests done on the oils is listed on their website.
Young Living: Was founded in 1993 and is the only company that own the farms from which the oils are produced. There are two farms in the US that you can visit in Idaho and Utah. A list of farm locations is on their website. The company has a seed to seal guarantee like the other companies it is a certification created by young living and only they can have. They meet ANFOR standards, have their stamp of approval and were the first on the market in the United States to do so. The oils are bottled at the source and a list of tests done on the oils is listed on their website as well.
After hours of research I was happy with my decision to stick with Young Living. There are other companies out there that provide quality products, but the selling point for me was that Young Living owns their own farms, and has an outside source to quality test their products. I encourage everyone to check the links below and do their own research. Be safe if you plan to consume oils or use them on children.
AFNOR is a state-approved organization, placed under the supervision of the Ministry for Industry. Its mission is to pilot and coordinate the preparation of standards, represent French interests within all standardization bodies, approve standards, promote and facilitate the use of standards, develop NF certification and products, services and systems certification.
AFNOR supervises all of the technical work within 16 major standardization programs. Program areas include electrical engineering and electronics, health, environment, hygiene and work safety, materials and materials processing and transportation.