Essential Oil Mentors and Early Distilling Adventures of Gary Young

As you read about Gary Young‬’s early self-driven education on the distillation of essential oils‬, it will hold much richer meaning if you keep these things in mind…

1. He could have easily sought out English-speaking teachers who distilled plants for fragrance companies without regard for therapeutic value.

2. There were plenty of companies selling—and books written about—inferior perfume-grade essential oils. Americans were surrounded by “hippie incense and feel-good candles” that had little or no therapeutic value.

3. Instead, Gary invested years pursuing a handful of key Frenchmen who were passionate about distilling for therapeutic purposes.

4. There where no books and teachers or practitioners of this art/science in the English-speaking world.

5. Compare this to certain chemists and authors of essential oil books who parrot what they learned about chemicals in laboratories during college. These people understand how to mix chemicals together, but have no idea how to coax the life-blood from a plant so that it maintains its synergy for the human body.

6. Also juxtapose the actions of Gary to the minions of business-school graduates behind their office desks who wake up one day and decide that the bar graphs show that there is money to be made by starting an essential oil marketing company.

7. Since none of these people have a clue about farming or distillation, much less actually OWN farms and distilleries, they all get together with one another—the chemists in the white coats with the MBAs in their suits—and create virtual companies out of the blue and buy essential oils from sources that have been rejected by Young Living. And they create fancy websites and wax eloquent on social media about how they are able to do things better and cheaper than Young Living.

Does this help you understand that there is a bunch of jealousy out there from those who have never paid the dues? And that the only way the minions can compete with Young Living‬ in the marketplace is to lie about Gary’s commitment to producing the highest possible quality essential oils? Or for the minions to sew doubt by spreading misinformation and confusion about what actually makes a pure and therapeutic essential oil?


Gary Yong Homemade Distiller

While I traveled in France from 1985 to 1990, I met a lot of people but had never met someone who would teach me about distillation. So I read books and hired a teacher who taught French at the community college in Spokane to teach me French. After taking classes for six months, I was really good at saying oui oui and merci beaucoup. And that was about it.

But I would have him translate the books so that I could read them. I started trying to learn from little booklets on distillation and was very excited, so I built this distillery in 1990—two pressure cookers welded together. In the top one, I drilled holes in the bottom, so I could put the plants in the top and use the bottom as the boiler. That’s where I put the water that created the steam. The copper pipe coming out behind me by my belt is the swan neck going to the condenser that was coiled up in the sink full of cold water.

And that’s where it began; that’s where I distilled my first lavender oil that launched Young Living today. I planted the starts the winter of 1988 in the greenhouse, grew them, planted them in the little garden here in the spring of 1989, and then harvested them in 1990, two years prematurely, because I didn’t know the difference. They had little flowers and I thought that was good enough. So I cut them, distilled them, and sent the 3 milliliters of oil off to Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt.

He analyzed it, sent a fax back, and asked, “Dr. Young, where did you get this oil?”

So I called him on the phone and said, “Well, I distilled it.”

And he said, “No, no, no, Gary; where did you really get it?”

And I said, “I distilled it.”

And he said, “No, there’s no lavender growing in Washington.”

I said, “Yes there is.”

He said, “Are you serious?”

I replied, “Yes, I’ve been growing lavender; and I cut it, distilled it, and just sent it to you so you could analyze it for me.”

He replied, “I have a hard time believing that; but because I know you, I believe you. This is the finest lavender oil I have seen in many years.”

So I blame Kurt Schnaubelt for everything else.

Source: Gary Young Blog, September 3, 2015

Gary Young and Jean-Noel LandelIn 1990 I met lavender grower and distiller Jean-Noël Landel at the Whole Life Expo in Pasadena, California; and he invited me to come and visit him in France. However, as he was extending this invitation, I could see this little bit of reservation in the back of his eyes saying, “Yeah, he’ll never come. I know those Americans; they’re too lazy to come over to France and walk the fields and get their feet dirty.”

One month later I called him from Paris; he was very surprised but told me how to get to his house. I made my way there, up in the middle of the mountains in Provence, in a little place called Séderon. And that was the beginning.

Jean-Noël is married to an American lady named Jane from Fresno, California. She taught Jean-Noël English. They had two little children, Nicolas and Véréna; Nicolas was 3 months old. One night while I was in their house, he had kind of an upset stomach and wasn’t settling down. I took him on my lap and started rubbing his feet with lavender, and he went sound asleep. Nicolas and I have been bonded buddies ever since.

Source: Gary Young Blog, September 10, 2015

Gary Young meets Master Distiller Henri ViaudIn 1986, when I was traveling and trying to learn about essential oils, I kept hearing about Mr. Henri Viaud. He had a reputation of distilling more plants, more shrubs, more sticks, more flowers, more needles, more seeds, and even more rocks than anyone. He was considered the father of French distillation. So I said to myself, if I’m going to learn distillation, I’ve got to find the best. It took me five years to find him; and finally in 1991, he came to dinner at Jean-Noël and Jane’s house.

That night I was sitting on the right side of Mr. Viaud; but through the entire two-hour dinner, Mr. Viaud never talked to me. He never even looked at me. I was feeling that because he didn’t speak English, it was too uncomfortable for him to try to talk to me.

However, when the meal was finished, he turned to me, laid his right hand on my left forearm, held up his finger, and was shaking it just a little bit, and said, “Mr. Young, what do essential oils mean to you?”

His stare into my eyes went right into my soul, and I knew this was really the test to decide whether he would accept me as a student. I was just taken; I had no words; I couldn’t even think of something to say. So I just took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and said exactly what appeared on my screen: “Mr. Viaud, essential oils are the closest tangible, physical thing to God there is on this planet.”

Viaud book on essential oil distillation

This is Henri Viaud’s classic book on essential oil distillation. Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt has written that Viaud “. . . was the first to articulate that an essential oil for aromatherapy needed to fulfill a different set of criteria than those for the fragrance industry.” From Schnaubelt’s The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils, Healing Arts Press, 2011, page 64.

After Henri Viaud heard my answer to his question, he was still holding up his finger, but it stopped shaking. He still had ahold of my forearm and was squeezing harder, as tears ran out of his eyes and down his cheeks. When he was able to, he then shook his finger and squeezed my arm a little harder and said, “You are absolutely right; and anyone, anyone who adulterates them, anyone who messes with them should be treated as a criminal!” And then he invited me to study and learn from him.

Gary Young with Henri VIaud and his wifeThis picture was taken in his apothecary in France; his wife is standing between us. He also made this statement: “Mr. Gary, if you don’t grow your own plants, the day will come when you will not have oils.”

We saw that as a fact, starting three years ago. If Young Living did not have the farms we have, we would have to discontinue 27 oils. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Would that be okay with you if we did that? That’s today. But probably by next year, we would be discontinuing over 58 oils if we didn’t have farms; and the quality on the world market would be compromised for the oils that were left. That’s why we do what we do, so I really hope you all appreciate my being crazy.

Source: Gary Young Blog, September 17September 24, 2015

Marcel Espieu and Gary YoungIn 1991 Jean-Noël introduced me to Marcel Espieu, who in the photo is sitting behind me. Marcel Espieu was my second teacher and greatest mentor because he lived longer and was able to spend more time with me.

Mr. Viaud and Marcel were the two greatest distillers in modern times in our world today, and I was their only student to whom they taught their techniques of distillation. It was a great honor learning from them and sitting at their feet, literally.

I volunteered to work at night in the distiller, so I could learn. When I was working at night, I had my measuring tape and measured the size of the chambers and cookers and separators and condensers. I was making sketches and drawings because I had a dream. Mr. Viaud said if you don’t grow it, you won’t have it. Well, if I’m going to grow it, I’ve got to distill it; doesn’t that make sense? So it was all Mr. Viaud’s fault.

Source: Gary Young Blog, October 1, 2015

Philippe Mailhebiau

Even if you can’t really read French, Mr. Mailhebiau’s book title suggests essential oils have compounds that affect emotions: La Nouvelle Aromatherapie: Caractérologie des essences et tempéraments humains.

Next, I met Mr. Philippe Mailhebiau, who is a French chemist. He made the comment one day, “I feel that essential oils have compounds that may affect emotions.” Whoa, boy, did that ignite me.

So I went to work at that time looking at emotional behavior.

Then when I went to study in Cairo, Egypt, with Prof. Radwin Farag and started going into the temples, tombs, and crypts and seeing the hieroglyphs and reliefs and how the ancient Egyptians were using essential oils for emotional clearing, emotional release, that also set me on fire.

Source: Gary Young Blog, October 8, 2015

In this video, Gary nicely summarizes the important role that his unique hands-on experience has played in making Young Living the world leader in essential oil quality…
This video is part of a series of seven that shows the extraordinary lengths Young Living goes through to produce its essential oils.

See the old clunker tractor that Gary used for farming his first lavender fields…

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