Getting Started with Essential Oils

plants in glasses

Essential oils are the pure essence of aromatic plants. They’re highly concentrated extracts that are harvested from plants, herbs, and trees.

Pure essential oils are more potent than dried herbs and far more powerful than the botanicals from which they’re extracted.

Click the image below to learn facts and uses of Essential oils.

Have been around for ages
  • For thousands of years, people have used essential oils for cosmetic purposes, as well as for spiritual and emotional uplifting properties.
Create deeper spiritual awareness to
  • Incense and essential oils have played important roles in spiritual ceremonies.
  • You can enhance your own spiritual practice by diluting and applying meditative, empowering essential oils directly to your wrists, feet, and behind the ears or diffuse the oils in a quiet space.

  • These oils can stimulate olfactory receptors and activate regions in the brain’s limbic system associated with memory, emotion, and state of mind.

Purify your home
  • You have more home-cleansing options besides potentially harsh chemical formulas.
  • With the gentle but effective power of essential oils, you can enjoy peace of mind without compromising your health when you polish countertops, clean sticky messes, or scrub dirty surfaces, laundry, and linens.

Refine your skin and hair
  • With essential oils, you can purge potentially harsh ingredients from your beauty routine and rediscover your natural glow.
  • Essential oils can help promote a clear-looking complexion, soften the appearance of signs of aging, and nurture healthy-looking hair.

  • By adding essential oils to your hair and skin treatments, you can enjoy the beautiful benefits of essential oils every day.

Support your physical wellness
  • Poor diet, lack of exercise, and an overabundance of environmental toxins can leave the body unbalanced and with diminished energy levels.

    From cleansing and weight

  • management to supporting every system of the body, essential oils and essential oil-infused supplements can provide the targeted support you need to restore balance and feel your best.

Inspire a positive emotional state
  • Each essential oil’s complex, pleasant, and unique scent activates the limbic system—the brain’s center of emotion and memory—differently.
  • Essential oils can be the key to a more fulfilling and balanced emotional life.
Young Living Founder, D. Gary Young

Young Living Founder, D. Gary Young

Over two decades ago, D. Gary Young discovered the profound power of essential oils. He founded Young Living Essential Oils to share his matchless knowledge of these benefits with millions around the world, supporting their health and transforming their lives. Gary's unrivaled expertise in the power of plants led to the creation of the world's largest and most diverse line of oil-infused products.

In his travels to study essential oil distillation techniques around the world, Gary discovered wide discrepancies in quality. He learned that in order to ensure purity and potency, rigorous and expert analysis of finished oils was critical. With a newfound commitment to essential oil science, Gary established what is now known as Seed to Seal®, Young Living’s industry-leading quality commitment to provide only 100 percent pure and natural oils that maintain their vital potency.

Gary’s deep conviction to sharing the power of essential oils embodied the spirit of Young Living. He left a legacy that continues to advocate total well-being for everyone, everywhere.

Uses throughout history

Essential oils have enhanced lives for thousands of years, offering a variety of benefits—from cosmetic, aromatic, and dietary purposes to spiritual and religious uses.

In fact, oils are mentioned in many historical texts from around the world. They are well documented for their uses and benefits in ancient times. For 25 years, Young Living has taken the lead in bringing this ancient tradition to modern times, introducing millions to life-changing nature-based wellness.

Click the image below to learn more about Essential oils throughout history.

Ancient Egypt

Egyptians used aromatic oils as early as 4500 B.C. They were by all accounts the first to develop the art of extracting essential oils such as Myrrh, Frankincense, Lotus and Cinnamon, Rose, almond and other for:

-Cosmetics

-Perfumes

-Spiritual and Religious ceremonies especially mummification

-therapeutic treatments

One of the first recognized compilations by ancient healers is called the Evers Papyrus. Although it dates from approximately 1,500 B.C., it is believed to have been copied from earlier texts. The scroll contains recipes, ceremonies, and other information that Egyptians deemed worthy of preservation.

European Golden Ages

During the Crusades, the Knights and their armies discovered essential oils and the distillation methods used to extract them in the Middle East. They also become acquainted with some of the books written by Avicenna the Arab about oils.

These knights then spread that knowledge throughout Western Europe. Essential oils such as Lavender, Rose, Frankincense, Pine, Rosemary, Spearmint, Marjoram, Oregano, Sage were commonly used for:

-perfume

-cooking

-medicinal purposes

-spiritual ceremonies

Middle Eastern Golden Age

The largest trade commodity in Arabia at the time was Frankincense, which not only brought honor to the place but also a great prosperity. Ali-Ibn Sana a.k.a. Avicenna the Arab who lived from 980-1037 A.D. wrote books on the properties of 800 plants and their effects on the human body. He was also credited for discovering and recording the method of distilling essential oil as we know it today.

Frankincese, myrrh, Jamsone, Rose, Amber, Comomile, Cinnamon, Cardamom and many more were used for:

-perfume

-Medicinal purposes

-Aromatherapy

-Spiritual and Religious ceremonies

-cooking

Ancient Rome

The most prominent borrower of Egyptian knowledge was the Roman Empire. Rome invaded and conquered Egypt in 30 B.C., wresting control from Cleopatra and establishing itself as the preeminent civilization in the region. Romans used Balsam, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Bay Laurel, Pine, Fir, Juniper and many more essential oils with decadence daily for:

-Bathhouses

-Massages

-Therapeutic practices

-Medicinal purposes

Oils were also used to scent the hair, body and the bed. The most exotic oils available were blended by highly skilled perfumers, creating celebrated fragrances.

Ancient Greece

Between 400-500 B.C. the Greeks recorded knowledge of essential oils adopted from the Egyptians. The Greek physicians Galen and Hypocrites (460-377 B.C.), known to us as the "Father of Medicine" documented the effects of some 300 plants including thyme, saffron, marjoram, cumin, peppermint, myrrh, fennel, and many more. Ointment of Myrrh was carried by Soldiers into battle to counter infections and other essential oils were included in:

-mild physio-therapies

-massage with infusions

-baths

Medicine

-Holism or aromatherapy

Ancient India

Traditional Indian medicine called "Ayur Veda" has a 3000-year history of incorporating essential oils into their healing potions. Vedic literature lists over 700 substances including cinnamon, ginger, myrrh, sandalwood, Jasmine, rose, lotus, cannabis, and other essential oils as effective for:

-Medicinal purposes

-religious ceremonies

-Spiritual uplift and cleansing of the soul

-Cosmetics

-Bathing

-Massage

-Aromatherapy-body and mind relaxation

Ancient China

The use of aromatic oils was first recorded in China between 2697-2597 B.C. during the reign of Huang Ti, the legendary Yellow Emperor. His famous book "The Yellow Emperor's Book of Internal Medicine" contains uses for several aromatics and is still considered a useful classic by practitioners of eastern medicine today.

In Ancient China essential oils such as Frankincense, Myrrh, galbanum, cinnamon, cedarwood, juniper, and spikenard were abundantly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for:

-Healing and relaxation i.e. cupping and acupuncture.

-Help with non-healing wounds

-Improved sense of internal beauty and esteem

-Enhanced nobility

-Solitary, distraction-free state and milder temperament

You can access the power of essential oils many ways, but the most common practices include aromatic diffusion, topical application, and dietary consumption. These methods bring the pure essence ofhealth-promoting botanicals to your home, family, and life.

You can access the power of essential oils many ways, but the most common practices include aromatic diffusion, topical application, and dietary consumption. These methods bring the pure essence of
health-promoting botanicals to your home, family, and life.

Aromatic use is inhaling the scent of essential oils. Often, the body can react to the scent of an oil without your even realizing it. By simply inhaling or diffusing a scent, you can evoke a desired mood or emotion or even recall a childhood memory through the limbic system. Using oils aromatically is an excellent way to reap the benefits of essential oils and positively impact your emotions and mood.

power of aroma infographic

Essential oils can also be applied to the skin. This is known as topical application. To demonstrate how quickly the body metabolizes essential oils, we’ll review a study conducted with Lavender essential oil. The study tested for linalool and linalyl acetate (the two major constituents of Lavender essential oil) in the blood following a gentle abdominal massage with a 2 percent Lavender/98 percent peanut oil blend. Amounts of both constituents were identified 15 minutes after the beginning of the massage, with the peak occurring at around 30 minutes. The study also calculated the half-life of the constituents: 13.76 minutes for linalool and 14.3 minutes for linalyl acetate.

woman using essential oils

In some of Young Living's global markets, our Vitality™ and Plus essential oil lines* are labeled and intended for internal use. They can be used in cooking, to flavor your favorite beverages, or even to take internally as supplements.

The rich, bright aromas of essential oils can add a delicious kick of flavor to your favorite recipes. Try adding a drop or two of Lime Vitality or Plus to [ES1] fresh salsa or to your favorite marinade. You might also add Lemon Vitality or Plus to grilled fish, Peppermint Vitality or Plus to hot cocoa, or Basil and Oregano Vitality or Plus to homemade pasta sauce. Get creative and enjoy all the culinary possibilities of essential oils.

Remember, essential oils are potent. When cooking, one drop goes a long way!

If you add oils to a drink, make sure to use a glass or stainless-steel bottle because oils will degrade plastic. Use caution when using essential oils on any soft, plastic surface.

While not all markets have oils labeled and intended for internal use, rest assured that regardless of the label color or language, all Young Living products are produced to the same stringent Seed to Seal® quality commitment.

*We encourage consumers to always check product labels for appropriate use in their market. See your local product guide for products available for purchase in your market.

[ES1]Glad we have both Vitality and Plus here. Unfortunately (unless something has changed) we need to identify every single EO suggested for internal use as Vitality or Plus. That would get pretty unwieldy of course, so when you run this through reg, please get their recommendations on how to streamline that verbiage.

grapefruit vitality essential oil in water
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Usage Tips to remember

father and son working out

There’s so much to learn about our amazing essential oils—how powerful they are and how each one provides the body with so many benefits! First, let’s take a few minutes to touch on safety and usage tips. Essential oils are very potent, so it’s important to know how to use them correctly.

Step 1

Read your labels

woman using essential oils on neck

Always follow label instructions. Remember to start low and go slow.

Step 2

Patch test

man using essential oils on shoulder

If you have sensitive skin, are new to essential oils, or are using oils you haven’t used on your skin before, we recommend doing a patch test prior to use. A patch test is especially beneficial when using essential oils that produce a warm or tingling sensation on the skin.

Essential oils from herbs and spices—such as Cinnamon Bark, Peppermint, and Oregano—are examples of these “hot” oils.

Patch test instructions: Apply 1-2 drops of essential oil to the forearm. Reactions usually occur within 5-10 minutes.

If you experience any adverse reaction, apply a carrier oil on the affected area as often as needed instead of soap and water.

It’s important to remember that oils are fat soluble. This means they’re attracted to fat and repel water. The skin is made up of fat, which attracts essential oils. If an oil causes any type of discomfort, washing with water will only drive the oil deeper into your skin.

Step 3

Dilution

coconut oil for essential oil dilution

Dilution recommendations can be found on the back of each essential oil bottle and should be followed, especially if you’re new to essential oils or using them on children. Diluting essential oils means mixing them with a carrier oil.

Carrier oils are plant-derived oils, such as almond oil or coconut oil, that ensure that essential oils applied topically are comfortable to the skin.

Step 4

Keep away from sensitive areas

Do not apply essential oils inside sensitive areas such as the eyes, ears, and other soft-tissue regions.

Step 5

Photosensitivity

woman sunbathing

Some essential oils, particularly those that belong to the citrus family, cause photosensitivity. Please check labels for warnings like:

  • Take precaution
  • Dilute before application
  • Wait 24-48 hours before exposing skin to the sun or use at night

Step 6

Pregnant or nursing

pregnant woman in a field

If you’re pregnant or nursing, consult your health care provider about using essential oils.

Summary

Always consult your health care provider and follow label instructions. Listen to your body and use what you are comfortable with. Be smart, make empowered decisions, and use common sense.

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a variety of seven essential oils

There are hundreds of Essential Oils to know and love, this section covers some of our foundational favorites

Click the image below to learn several ways to use Lavender essential oil.

Diffuse in the evenings

Clear the air and calm your mind with the light, floral aroma of Lavender essential oil. The mild, soothing scent is perfect for settling down in the evening or whenever you need comforting rest.

skin soother

Applying Lavender essential oil to your skin may help cleanse and soothe minor skin irritations.

Relaxing Routines

Add Lavender essential oil to your favorite moisturizer to reduce the appearance of blemishes and enhance the appearance of a youthful complexion.

Linen Spray

Freshen your linen closet, mattress, or car by combining a few drops of Lavender with water and/or witch hazel in a spray bottle.

Pillow time

Rub a few drops of Lavender on pillows and bedding. Lavender can also be added to wool dryer balls for a fresh-scented, eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets or fabric softener.

thieves essential oil

Thieves® essential oil blend is a powerful combination of Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary essential oils that fills any space with a rich, spicy aroma. As one of our most popular products, it’s no wonder that Thieves is part of so many of our home cleaning and personal care products. It’s a key ingredient in Thieves Household Cleaner, Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier, Thieves Wipes, and Thieves Foaming Hand Soap. Thieves is your go-to for an invigorating, clean, and spicy scent that smells like fall baking.

Click the image below to learn several ways to use Thieves essential oil blend.

Cleaning Power

Add a few drops to your Thieves Dish Soap or Thieves Automatic Dishwasher Powder to eliminate odors and boost cleaning power.*

*In markets where available.

Freshen Up

Refresh musty carpets by adding 5 drops of Thieves to a cup of baking soda. Combine well and let sit overnight until the oil is absorbed. Sprinkle over carpets and vacuum thoroughly.

Foot Rub

Apply to the bottoms of your feet before bed to absorb this powerful blend’s benefits.*

*We encourage the consumer to always check their label for appropriate use in their market.

Diffuse

The clean fragrance of Thieves helps neutralize strong airborne odors in your classroom or playroom.

Click the image below to learn several ways to use Lemon essential oil.

Cleaning House

Mix Lemon with your cleaning products for powerful cleansing. Lemon cuts through grease, grime, and is wonderful at removing adhesive. Try using it to remove labels from things like glass or dishes.

keep it fresh

Dilute a few drops of Lemon in water in a spray bottle to freshen your room or linens with a few sprays.

Eternal Sunshine

Add Lemon to skin care products at night to help reduce the appearance of blemishes.

Lighten the mood

Keep Lemon on hand for its energizing and invigorating aroma. Diffuse it to create a more focused environment.

Use Lemon’s aroma to create an uplifting atmosphere.

Click the image below to learn several ways to use Peppermint essential oil.

Peppermint essential oil cools fatigued muscles after physical activity.

Peppermint essential oil’s main constituent, menthol, is responsible for the cool, tingling sensation it leaves on your skin. It’s also found in sports creams. Apply Peppermint topically to experience this soothing sensation after hard physical activity.

Find your focus

Get in the zone at the office by diffusing this crisp, cool oil before settling in for the workday.

Create revitalizing and soothing steam

With a few drops on a cloth in your shower, Peppermint helps create a revitalizing and soothing aromatic steam.

Workout boost

Get a cool burst of energy before a big workout by applying Peppermint to your chest or inhaling it directly.

Click the image below to learn several ways to use Frankincense essential oil.

Quiet Moments

Turn a boring nighttime routine into a luxurious getaway with Frankincense essential oil. Play some soft music and enjoy a momentary escape to soothe your skin and balance your spirit. The complex aroma of this deluxe oil provides a lush end to any day.

Spiritual Practices

Frankincense’s aroma has calming properties that can support spirituality and inner strength. Try diffusing it or applying it to the temples and the back of the neck during yoga, meditative practices, or spiritual study.

Bath Booster

Frankincense is known for its sweet, warm, balsamic aroma. When used aromatically, Frankincense promotes feelings of peace, grounding, and relaxation. Try adding a few drops of Frankincense oil to your next bath.

Skin Care Upgrade

Use Frankincense in your daily beauty routine by adding it to your unscented face lotion, toner, and/or face wash to support the appearance of healthy-looking skin.

Extracted through careful steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing, the purest essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they’re derived. Let’s dive deeper into each extraction process.

Extracted through careful steam distillation, resin tapping, and cold pressing, the purest essential oils are far more powerful than the botanicals from which they’re derived. Let’s dive deeper into each extraction process.

Steam distillation is the most common way to extract essential oils. Young Living is an innovator in essential oil distillation. Young Living Founder D. Gary Young’s years of research and innovation have led Young Living to establish a delicate distillation process that sets us apart from all the other oil companies. Young Living uses an innovative, gentle, and proprietary steam distillation process that involves using just the right amount of heat and pressure to extract essential oils. Distillation must be done correctly and carefully to ensure that each oil has the proper chemical constituent profile.

Essential oil constituents are easily destroyed by too much heat or pressure. That’s why we use gentle techniques to extract our oils to avoid causing any damage or loss of potency. Variation in temperature or pressure alters the oil. The beneficial compounds are just as powerful in the essential oil bottles as they are in their plant source when distilled properly. Residual plant material is then composted to create fertilizer.

steam distillation

Cold pressing is how we extract citrus essential oils such as Lemon, Grapefruit, Lime, Orange, and Tangerine. Historically, cold pressing was done by hand. People would press down with their bare hands on presoaked citrus rinds until a mixture of water and oil was obtained. Thankfully, a more modern method of extraction (and a less labor-intensive one!) allows us to obtain our beloved citrus oils.

During cold pressing, the rind of the citrus fruit is placed in a container with spikes that puncture the peels while the device rotates. Puncturing the rinds allows the release of essential oil, which is then collected and separated from the natural juices. The rind of the fruit is pressed, and the essential oil is separated from the fruit.

We use this process to obtain citrus oils because using other methods can break down and damage the delicate citral molecules. Steam-distilled citrus oils may have a bitter aroma because the heat breaks down these molecules.

cold pressing

This method is used to extract oils such as Frankincense, Myrrh, and Copaiba. This is accomplished by scraping the external plant source. Over time, the tree produces a sap-like substance to heal the wound. The sap hardens into a resin that is then collected and taken for distilling. If done properly, tapping trees causes no harm to the plant, and with our Seed to Seal® quality commitment, we comply with the most responsible and scalable sourcing practices available.

resin tapping

Young Living produces more than 80 percent of our oils through steam distilling. This method has been practiced for over 5,000 years! In steam distillation, freshly picked plants are suspended over boiling water. The steam from the hot water rises through the plant material and pulls the oil from the plant. As the steam and oil mixture rises, it gets captured in a vessel. It then travels through a condenser and is rapidly cooled. This causes the steam/oil mixture to condense back into water. Since water and essential oil do not mix, they separate and the essential oil is then collected.

Not all essential oils are the same. See what sets Young Living apart as the world leader in essential oils.


Millions around the world have discovered the benefits of pure essential oils derived naturally from plants. We’re committed to establishing and maintaining the ultimate, industry-leading standard in essential oil products. For us, the non-negotiable benchmarks for delivering a product that our customers can feel great about are multifaceted and exacting. We’re proud to offer an extensive line of essential oils and essential oil-infused, plant-based products that represent the best of nature—through the standards of our Seed to Seal® quality commitment.

Click the numbers below to learn more about the Steam Distilling process.

Water is heated, creating steam.
The leftover water can also be used in beauty and home products.
In the separator, the oil rises to the top of the water and is extracted.
The condenser cools the steam.
The oil rises with the steam.
The steam passes through the plant matter, pulling out the oil.
There are hundreds of essential oils and oil-infused products to choose from. Young Living has made it easy to know where to start.

There are hundreds of essential oils and oil-infused products to choose from. Young Living has made it easy to know where to start.

Get started on your personal Young Living journey by selecting one of our starter collections. These include our most popular products.

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