A deposition in Utah court by Dr. Robert Pappas, shows that Young Living Essential Oils under the leadership of D. Gary Young passed off synthetic oils as authentic for jasmine and birch oils, which were conclusively found to be synthetic oils.
Dr. Pappas says that he first learned of Young Living Essential Oils when he was giving a lecture at Purdue University working for Lebermuth Company. After he gave a presentation on chemical compositions of essential oils he was approached by a Young Living representative who wanted him to test a jasmine oil which Young Living was selling. Dr. Pappas said that he discovered conclusively that the oil had very high percentages of chemical known as DPG (dipropylene glycol), which was being sold as a “pure” jasmine oil.
After his findings were put into an essential oils database Dr. Pappas was then contacted by Young Living to retract his conclusions. Dr. Pappas said that the Lebermuth Company told him there was no need for a retraction if he knew with all certainty that his conclusions were accurate.
Ironically, a few years later Dr. Pappas was contacted by Young Living Farms to do consulting work to assist in their “analytic capabilities”. He believed that Young Living was interested in improving their quality control and that he was to assist them in their testing capabilities all of their oils and help them find better suppliers.
However, contrary to the job he was hired for, after Dr. Pappas found that a particular birch oil was not authentic but “it turned out that sample was methyl salicylate.” which is generic wintergreen fragrance used in beverages. Dr. Pappas then put together the preliminary report, and was called into a conference room and asked to retract what he said about the oil and to apologize to Albert Vieille, who supplies the oil. He would not retract his conclusions. Dr. Pappas said he then solidified his findings at BYU and told Young that, “Bringing me here was a farce. You just basically wanted to use my name to promote your products. You don’t really want accurate information. I gave them that report and I said, ‘I’m going home.’”
Dr. Pappas later found that Young Living Reps were consistently misquoting him in their sales presentations.
Dr. Pappas says that he didn’t say a word of all of this until he was called for a deposition in a case filed in July 2013 whereby doTERRA International LLC was being sued by Young Living Oils accused of using the “Certified Therapeutic Grade” trade mark for oils which are in fact adulterated with man-made synthetic compounds. Found in the case files are a series of reports from French laboratories (Centre National De La Recherche Scientifique) that doTERRA’s oils contain synthetic compounds. A peppermint sample they tested was found to contain ethylvanillin (a synthetic molecule — see page 34-37 of report). The report also concludes that synthetic linalyl acetate was added doTERRA’s lavender oil. (Note: According to Dr. Pappas these findings in these case files are suspect, see our follow up story here).
Young Living claims in their case against doTERRA that they are conducting false advertising and that doTERRA’s misleading advertising is severely cutting into the profits of Young Living’s profits. Both companies share the same business model using multi-level marketing and independent sales associates to sell their essential oils. Both companies dodge legal action by claiming they are not responsible for the claims their representatives make. Some reps claim their oils will cure cancer, diabetes prevent the flu and should be used topically or ingested. These claims or practices are not endorsed or recommended by the FDA.
One unanswered question: Did Dr. Pappas’ testimony cause Young Living’s legal team to drop the case against doTERRA when Dr. Pappas testified that Young Living was guilty of the very practice they were suing their main competitor of committing? Utah Stories has found the results of this cased filed last year in Utah’s division U.S. District Court by RAY QUINNEY & NEBEKER P.C. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on the case last year. The case was dropped from court proceedings. After this case both companies stopped accusing each other of using adulterated oils and doTERRA issued the following statement for their representatives:
We want to express our gratitude for your dedication and commitment. You have refused to be distracted by the efforts of competitors and instead are focused on sharing the powerful benefits of pure essential oils and empowering individuals and families around the globe. Your commitment has resulted in dōTERRA becoming the largest and most revered essential oil company in the world.
The dōTERRA Executive Team (source)
David Sterling, David Hill and Emily Wright were all former Young Living employees who together left Young Living Oils to eventually start doTERRA essential oils. doTERRA now has over 100,000 independent distributors in the US and internationally. Both doTERRA and Young Living Oils are based in Utah county.
The court case filed by Young Living Farms against doTERRA International:
The video interview with Dr. P: has been removed by YouTube “Due to a copyright claim by Litigation Services.” Young Living has been very effective with their legal team in getting videos removed that clearly demonstrate their deceptive tactics.
Young Living has a very intimidating legal team who apparently are especially good at getting YouTube videos removed (as was the case with Sultan Yusuf Ahmed Salah’s video). It’s too bad that YouTube (owned by Google) doesn’t support corporate whistle blowers. Utah Stories will not be intimidated to find and tell the truth, especially when hiding the truth is affecting the health and well being of thousands of Utahns who use Young Living and DoTERRA’s products.
This story was revised on 8/17/2014, with more sources added. On 8/20 we corrected that methyl acetate should have been Methyl salicylate. And it might have been interpreted that Dr. Pappas was working for Purdue University. He was in fact working for Lebermuth Company and teaching classes at Purdue.
Updates On This Story
Our Original Young Living Story
Utah Stories supports legitimate use of essential oils to treat anxiety and depression. We also support the claim that essential oils will improve immune system functioning. We can recommend the oils below: (for aromatherapy only– not to be ingested. If patients want to ingest an effective spirit distilled from botanical herbs try a safe and effective gin and tonic.