Man's claims about essential oils dubious at best


In September 2009, the Washington state Attorney General's Office sent a letter to Dr. Gary Young, president of Young Living Essential Oils, telling him he had made false and misleading statements about research he claimed he had done at Eastern Washington University.

The letter also pointed out that although he had represented himself as a naturopath and nutritionist. the state Department of Health could find no evidence he had complied with the state law in regard to registration and licensing. In other words, there was no evidence he was what he claimed to be.

The letter is somewhat different from what is listed on his website, where he claimed he had earned a degree in naturopathy and has gone on to become one of the foremost authorities on essential oils.

I first learned about this man in late 2008 or early 2009 when one day at church a member told me of a wonderful product that had cured the fungus on his toenails and that it had other wonderful possibilities.

I asked him for more information, which he happily supplied. The literature told about Young and essential oils and how great they were.

What is meant by the term essential oils? In Young's jargon, they are oils extracted from plants such as chamomile, lavender, peppermint, hyssop and frankincense.

In my attempt to get more information, I found Young showed up on Quackwatch, a website dedicated to exposing medical frauds. I was able to obtain copies of newspaper articles telling about some of Young's activities.

According to Quackwatch, he first came to the attention of authorities in Spokane when his infant daughter died during an underwater delivery at Young's health club in Spokane. The next year, the site reports, the Spokesman Review reported Young's arrest for practicing medicine without a license.

He subsequently moved south and opened a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, and a clinic in Chula Vista, Calif.

Newspaper reports from the late 1980s show a pattern of questionable practices, investigations and implausible promises of miracle treatments.

After I had obtained this information I wanted to share it with the church member, his wife and two other church members hoping to dissuade them from further association with Young and his business. Their response to the newspaper articles was to state that newspapers don't always get things right and that they were convinced he was a good man and essential oils were all they were claimed to be.

It was not until later that I realized I should have told them if those stories were not true Young could have sued the papers for libel and most likely could have gotten a bundle of money.

Those folks, apparently thinking I could be persuaded to endorse or buy their product, furnished me with a CD by Young with the title "The Missing Link." It contained a lecture that was produced in 2009. In that CD he made some outlandish claims for essential oils stating they were antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial and anticancer.

Anyone with medical knowledge would have recognized he had some bizarre ideas.

He also claimed to have spent time in France, Egypt and Turkey and conducted research at Eastern Washington University in Cheney. I made contact with several staff members at the university and mailed them the "Missing Link" CD.

The staff members I contacted had no record of his ever doing any research there, and a physics department staff member furnished me a copy of the letter to Young from the Attorney General's Office.

During my research, I learned of a bona fide journal, The Journal of Essential Oil Research. The editor in chief, Dr. Brian M. Lawrence, furnished me with more information. One of the members of the editorial board of the journal was Rodney Croteau of Washington State University.

According to Quackwatch, Rodney Croteau of Washington State University had read a transcript of Young's tape "The Missing Link" and had this to say: "Mr Young's writings are among the most unscientific and intellectually unsound that I have ever read. There is no doubt that Mr. Young is a genuine quack."

Some may wonder what is currently happening with his company. It is growing and a cruise is scheduled for early 2012 for the people who have been the most successful in persuading others to buy his products.

Dr. Don Casebolt of College Place is a retired physician who is passionate about preventive medicine. He spent four years as a medical officer in the U.S. Navy, the last 21/2 years as a flight surgeon. He also worked on the Navajo Reservation for 22 years.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment

Click here to sign in