Recently, I started looking into essential oils for my fam. I had just gotten the babe to sleep and had curled up with some peppermint tea when I made the fateful Google search—“Young Living Founder and CEO Gary Young.” I was surprised by the number of negative articles that popped up. At first I dismissed the claims as outlandish and tried to distract myself with an article on frankincense oil. I mean, surely, this ‘esteemed specialist’ can’t only have a high school diploma, right?! But I couldn’t get rid of the pit in my stomach. In fact, I ended up spending the next month digging through court records, government inquiries, and expert testimonies. I was finally forced to admit that Gary Young is not a man to be trusted. Indeed, he has blatantly lied about his education, his certifications, and even his honors in order to increase his credibility and profit. Young Living Essential Oils has clearly tried to bury Gary Young’s past—particularly records of his multiple arrests. It is my hope that sharing these documents will prevent you and your family from being hurt.
Throughout his career, Gary Young has asserted that he is a “lifelong student.” On his personal website, it states that “Between 1982 and 1985, Gary attended Bernadean University and earned a doctorate in naturopathy.” So Gary Young attended university for three years, right? Wrong! Bernadean, is nothing but a mail-order diploma mill that was never approved or accredited to offer any courses or degrees and was eventually exposed as a fraud by the Nevada Supreme Court. Yikes! Even after the “university” was closed, Gary Young continued to publicize his “degree” on the Young Living website and in his self-funded publications.
If you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon of diploma mills in the 1980s check out this startling New York Times piece by Laufey V. Bustany (who holds a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Rutgers University and is a registered dietician). In the article, Bustany asserts, “Diploma mills [were] producing charlatans at an unprecedented rate. Not only do these organizations abuse the public’s trust in professional degrees, but also entice students into “a partnership of fraud.” Gary Young definitely qualifies as one of the “charlatans” of which Bustany warns.
Remarkably, the Bernadean University episode was not the first time Gary Young claimed a false degree. Prior to establishing Young Living Essential Oils, Gary Young ran a “clinic” in Rosarita Beach, Mexico. The clinic’s literature listed him as a graduate of the American Institute of Physioregenerology. But Mike Maher—the Spokane resident who founded and operated the institute—reported that Gary Young had never even come close to graduating. Indeed, Gary Young attended only a few classes, completed only a third of the homework, and owed $1,800 in tuition. Gary Young was forced to admit that he never secured a diploma from the institute and that his brochures simply had a “typographical error.” I’m so sure!
What exactly was Gary Young providing in his Tijuana clinic? He claimed that “a three-week stay in his clinic and $6,000 will bring a patient into remission. A cure can be effected for $10,000. He claims a 90% cure rate for lupus and says that only 63 have died out of the last 1,000 patients he has treated during the last four years.” The clinic also offered iridology, live cell analysis, and “blood crystallization,” which he claimed could detect degenerative diseases five to eight years before they caused symptoms. The L.A. Times ran an undercover, scathing report on Gary Young’s clinic. It is too hilarious to not include here word-for-word:
Some diagnostic methods used by Tijuana clinics that cater mainly to Americans appear as bizarre as the treatments offered.
Upon request, the Rosarita Beach Clinic, run by naturopath Don Gary Young, sends a prospective patient a kit with sharp pins and two glass slides. The patient is directed to puncture the little finger of each hand and make five blood spots on each slide, one for the left hand and one for the right. The slides are then mailed along with $60 to the clinic for diagnosis.
A Times reporter prepared two slides, using blood from a healthy 7-year-old, 20-pound tabby cat named Boomer that belongs to Glendale veterinarian Ahmed Kalek. The slides were presented at the clinic by the reporter who identified himself as a prospective patient.
Sharon Reynolds, “health educator” at the clinic, who also casts horoscopes for patients at $50 each, examined the slides under a microscope that projects an image on a television monitor. She said she found evidence of “aggressive cancer” in the cells as well as liver problems.
The cancer, she said, had been in the reporter’s system for four or five years.
“You must have suspected something,” she said, gazing up with sorrowful eyes.
The reporter said he had not suspected anything and suggested that another “blood crystallization” test be conducted that day. This time his own blood was used and Reynolds found signs of “latent” cancer but no evidence of “aggressive” cancer. She said that liver dysfunction was still evident as well as pancreas and thyroid problems.
She suggested another test be done in the near future and said in her report:
“Elevated level of toxicity must be reduced in order to promote assimilation, increase oxygenation and prevent degeneration. We recommend a supervised program of cleansing, detox and rebuilding.”
The detoxification program at the clinic, which consists of colonics, a special diet and various nostrums, costs $2,000 per week, payable in advance. An at-home program is also available for $90 plus about $400 worth of vitamins and supplements that Young sells through his vitamin company in California.
The Times mailed a third set of slides for the follow-up test suggested by Reynolds. This time blood from a chicken in a Chinatown poultry shop was used.
Red cells in chicken blood are oval-shaped and have no nuclei–distinctly different from the round non-nucleated red cells in the blood of mammals when viewed under a microscope, experts say.
Nevertheless, the Rosarita Beach Clinic diagnosed the chicken blood as if it were from a human.
“There is inflammation in the liver,” the clinic’s report said. “Your blood is indicating the possibility of a pre-lymphomic (sic) condition. It appears as though you’ve recently undergone a high level of upset in your life which has weakened your immune response considerably.”
It closed with the earlier prescription for detoxification, word for word.
Dr. Faramarz Naeim, head of hematopathology at the UCLA Medical Center, was asked by The Times to look at the cat and human blood slides as well as a chicken blood slide similar to the one sent to the clinic.
Naeim, who was told nothing about the blood, immediately asked about one slide:
“Is this human blood? It looks like chicken blood.”
Naeim also said that blood slides used for valid diagnostic purposes must be thinly smeared and stained so that individual cells can be clearly seen under a microscope. Naeim and other blood analysts point out that information from such examinations is limited and is normally used in conjunction with other medical data in reaching a diagnosis.
‘Just Drops of Clotted Blood’
The blood on the slides prepared for the Rosarita Beach Clinic was not smeared or stained and the cells are lumped together.
“They are just drops of clotted blood,” he said.
Of the clinic’s written diagnoses, he said:
“This is just garbage. It just contains words and terminology without making much sense. . . . It’s crazy.”
Sharon Reynolds, Rosarita Beach Clinic health educator, later defended her analysis of the chicken blood in a telephone interview.
“I have never seen chicken blood before, so I wouldn’t know,” she said. “If that had been human blood that would have been an accurate analysis of the blood.
“This is not a test where we see things in any way that a (conventional) blood test sees them,” she continued. “I analyzed it in good faith. . . . As warm-blooded animals apparently we have things in common.”
As for Boomer the cat, Reynolds insisted that, “It was not a healthy cat. That cat probably has leukemia. . . . If the cat is acting healthy, the cat could be a carrier of leukemia.”
Mary Nightingale, assistant to veterinarian Kalek, said Boomer was tested for leukaemia after the clinic diagnosis and was found to be neither afflicted with nor carrying the disease.
Sometimes, the “blood crystallization” analysis is used at the clinic to test the blood of a patient’s family members and, if a disease is allegedly found, the family member might also be treated.
More alarmingly, still, Gary Young also treated cancer patients with laetrile. Laetrile has been exposed as a potentially lethal treatment which causes the body to create cyanide in toxic amounts.
Licenses & Certifications
Gary Young has never been licensed to practice naturopathy—but this hasn’t stopped him from claiming otherwise. From 1983–1993, Gary Young was arrested three times for practicing medicine without a license, served 60 days in jail, and even plead guilty on at least one of the counts.
For example, in March 1983, Young was arrested in Spokane for practicing medicine without a license when he offered to provide an undercover agent with prenatal services and to treat her mother for cancer. (He again claimed falsely to be a graduate of The American Institute of Physioregenerology). The prosecuting attorney’s statement of charges in the case said:
UNLAWFUL PRACTICE OF MEDICINE committed as follows: That the defendant, Donald Gary Young, in Spokane County, Washington, on or about February 24, 1983, then and there being, did then and there offer or undertake to diagnose, advise or prescribe for a human physical condition, or offer to penetrate the tissue of another human being, by means as follows: offering to deliver a baby of another person; by offering to treat another person for cancer and to detect the presence of cancer in another by. means of a blood sample which he would draw and by a blood test which he would interpret; and by offering to determine the nutritional needs of another person during pregnancy by drawing blood and interpreting the results of a blood test; the defendant at such time not having a valid unrevoked license to practice medicine.
Young pled guilty to the unlawful practice of medicine and was sentenced to a year of probation. In the plea document he “explained” that he “was engaged in consulting [sic] people in alternative cancer therapy [sic] and offering dietary help in order to give people a program that would work.”
Despite Gary Young’s multiple arrests, in April 2002, he still maintained that he was a licensed N.D. A physician who telephoned Young Living was told that Young was formally approved to practice naturopathy in Utah. The physician knew that the Utah Division of Professional Licensing (USOPL) website lists the numbers of all licensed naturopaths and asked the Young Living employee for Young’s license number. The employee said it could not be given out. After the physician complained to the UDOPL, Young Living removed the title N.D. and references to Young as a naturopath from its website, but this misleading information is still posted on a biography website that can be accessed from Gary Young’s personal blog.
Ironically, Gary Young would have no reason to acquire a license because in Utah it is illegal for a licensed naturopath to “own, directly or indirectly, a retail store, wholesaler, distributor, manufacturer, or facility of any other kind located in this state that is engaged in the sale, dispensing, delivery, distribution, or manufacture of homeopathic remedies, dietary supplements, or natural medicines.”
Gary Young has also claimed that he is the only certified aromacologist in the United States—receiving his formal training from the Royal Masonic Hospital in London. But the Royal Masonic Hospital has refuted that they don’t even know who Gary Young is.
Gary Young’s “honors” are also boldface lies. In 1985, he boasted that he received the Humanitarian Award from the State Medical Examiner’s Office of Baja, California (one of six ever awarded) for his research and successful treatment of degenerative disease. The State Medical Examiner’s Office has flatly denied this claim. Gary Young has also asserted that he studied essential oil chemistry and was invited to give lectures at Anadolu University in Turkey—you guessed it, false.
Perhaps you are still trying to internally defend Gary Young. I know the feeling. You may be telling yourself, “Gary Young may have had a colorful past but he is still an authority on essential oils, right?” Wrong. Several actual experts in the field of essential oils—all on the JEOR (Journal of Essential Oil Research) editorial panel—have formally responded to the transcript of Young’s tape “The Missing Link” which has been posted widely on the Internet. This tape is his manifesto on essential oil’s healing powers. The experts concurred that his ideas are pure junk science. Robert P. Adams of Baylor University wrote, “Pure garbage. Nothing else.” And Rodney Croteau of Washington State University declared, “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.”
Ultimately, if I cannot trust the CEO and Founder of Young Living, why on earth would I trust their product?