First, I want to share with you all that last January, four people came together in a merger, joining three lavender farms. Jean-Noel Landel and me, Benoit Cassan, and Jean-Marie Blanc. This merger makes Young Living the largest grower of true lavender in the world today!
Here is what my partner in France, Jean-Noel Landel, said during the 2013 Convention:
Jean-Noel: Hello, everybody. I want to go back years ago when I first met Gary. Everything he’s telling you right now, he was already speaking about 23 years ago. He already had the belief that we needed very high-quality, therapeutic-grade essential oils when nobody even knew what essential oils were. This is a true belief that has never changed for 23 years. And 23 years ago, everybody was laughing at this guy. They just didn’t understand what he was saying about essential oils for emotional feelings. Nobody knew about aromatherapy at that time. There were no aromatherapy businesses.
And this guy, when he first came to speak with us, we thought he was from another planet. What is he talking about? At the best, people were just kind of smiling at him and thinking, “Nice guy, yeah, yeah. Go back home.” That’s why I really feel strongly about all this. I brought Benoit Cassan with me; he’s the president of the largest research center on lavender farming in the world. He came to the U.S. for the third time because he knows he learns something from Gary every time. And Benoit’s father, president of the French Lavender Growers Association for a number of years, learned things from Gary 23 years ago.
That makes this company unique, based on the belief that essential oils have a very strong quality, not just for physical purposes like the French aromatherapy doctors thought. Not just that, but also on emotional levels and spiritual levels. It has been Gary’s teaching for 23 years now; he’s never changed that. And he knew he had to take big actions as he has been doing, spending millions of dollars farming, distilling, and researching to the point where nobody else can do the same.
I feel very proud that Gary accepted me as a partner and not just his employee. As a partner, it’s a very high honor for me. And I am very happy to let you know that you have the strongest, deepest roots in this company than any other company that is marketing essential oils now because it’s a “new fad.” It wasn’t new 23 years ago! Essential oils became known, thanks to Gary. We have to stick together as a company, as a family, to continue to make it grow!
From D Gary Young Blog
Let’s focus on the part about “True Lavender” because that phrase is much more important than it may seem. First, we already understand that the vast majority of smelly stuff marketed as “100% pure lavender oil” is nothing more than a petrochemical concoction designed to smell like lavender (see Faking Lavender).
But beyond that, if there is actually plant material in the bottle, the vast majority of that is actually lavandin, not true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Lavandin is a sterile hybrid between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia (Spike lavender). Farmers love it because it is larger and yields more oil that smells similar to true lavender. I often see pictures on social media of so-called lavender that is obviously lavandin from cloned plants because every blossom is the identical color…looks pretty, but has fewer therapeutic compounds than the YL plants which vary widely in shades of lavender. More about this in the Growing the Plant video.
Problem is, the two plants have different properties. Lavandin CAN have therapeutic properties…it is found in Young Living’s Purification and Release blends. But it should not be used as lavender. For example, true lavender has a reputation for soothing minor burns. Lavandin, however, would likely irritate a burn. Yet that’s what is in most bottles marketed as lavender (when those bottles have any plant material at all).
The original lavender seeds with which Gary Young started his first two-acre field were smuggled inside his boots more than two decades ago from France. Those have multiplied into hundreds of acres of plants.
This history was especially interesting a few years ago when a fungus swept through France that wiped out all lavender and lavindin. This is the period of time when the only real lavender in the world was grown on YL farms (at least farms of any significant size). Yet every other oil company continued to market stuff they claimed to be lavender. The French Lavender Growers Association approached Gary and requested plants/seeds from YL farms to help reestablish their industry. The lavender grown at YL farms in Mona, UT and St Maries, ID were immune to the fungus. Gary was honored to help, especially since his original seeds came from France.