Gary Young - President of Young Living Essential Oils

Gary Young - President of Young Living Essential Oils

D. Gary Young (1949) is the founder and president of Young Living Essential Oils, a global company, headquartered in Lehi, Utah. An author and lecturer, Young has spent the last two decades growing and distilling pure essential oils. Young owns four farms in St. Maries, Idaho; Mona, Utah; Simiane-la-Rotonde in Provence, France; and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Early life

Gary Young grew up on a ranch in Challis, Idaho. After graduating from high school, he moved to Canada to homestead 320 acres. On February 8, 1973, Young was cutting down trees when one fell on him. After recovering from a coma, Young remained in intensive care for four months with three skull fractures, a severed brachyalplexis (nerve branch) is his right arm, a herniated spinal cord, 19 broken bones, and four fractured vertebrae.

Doctors told Young that he would never walk again. Two years of rehabilitation led him from a wheelchair to walking. Young claims that the use of physical therapy, essential oils and other alternative medicines aided his recovery.

In 1985, Young attended a seminar at the Medical University in Geneva, Switzerland, where he learned about the therapeutic benefits of essential oils from Drs. Jean-Claude Lapraz and Paul Duraffourd. This began Young’s interest in learning about growing plants and botanicals, distilling and bottling pure essential oils.


Gary Young founded Young Living Essential Oils, in 1989. On a quarter-acre plot of land in Spokane, Washington, he fabricated his first distiller by welding two pressure cookers together and using copper tubing for a condenser. His farms soon included 160 acres in a valley near St. Maries, Idaho and 138 acres in Mona, Utah. He added a lavender farm in Simiane-la-Rotonde, France and currently operates an herb farms in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Early research and travels

In 1990, Young studied with the late Henry Viaud who was the foremost expert in the techniques of essential oil distillation. Living in France, Young also studied with Marcel Espieu, who served as the president of the Lavender Growers Association of France Espieu, a fourth-generation lavender grower, shared his vast knowledge of essential oil distillation with Young. Young later studied with Daniel Pénoël MD, a student of Jean Valnet, MD, the first medical doctor to research medicinal applications of essential oils.

A trip to Egypt brought him together with Radwan Farag PhD. Dr. Farag taught Young more about essential oil chemistry and the effects of oils on the immune system. Another important teacher for Young was Dr. Hervé Casabanca, an author of the AFNOR standards for essential oils, to learn about gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques for testing the therapeutic quality of oils. Today, Young’s Young Living laboratories contains both technologies for identifying 100% pure essential oils.

Young became a world traveler, tracking the Frankincense Trail in the Middle East, the ancient city of Ubar, and a balsam distillery at Ein Gedi, Israel. He sought out centenarians in Tarahumara, Mexico; Hunzaland in Pakistan; southern Ecuador; Talish mountains of Azerbaijan; and the long-living people in Ningxia, China.

He continues to be active in his travels and research in alternative medicines.

Humanitarian contributions

Gary Young started The D. Gary Young Foundation and has funded a number of humanitarian projects, including building new schools and a water system for the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico; purchasing a semi-truck and trailer for the Mobile Surgical Unit of the Cinterandes Foundation, taking medical care to remote villages in the Amazon and Andes; building and supplying an elementary school in Chongon, Ecuador.

elected publications

*Journal of Essential Oil Research. 1998; 10: 517-523, “Effect of a Diffused Essential Oil Blend on Bacterial Bioaerosols.”
*Journal of Essential Oil Research. 2000; 12:639-649, “Screening for Inhibitory Activity of Essential Oils on Selected Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses.”
*Journal of Essential Oil Research. 2001; 13:387-392, “Antibacterial Effects of Essential Oils on Streptococcus pneumoniae.”
*International Conference on Essential Oils and Aroma Materias, Guangxi Guilin, China 2004; 178-190: “Comparative Study of the Essential Oils of Three Betula Species: B. alleghaniensis, B. lenta and B. pendula.”
*Journal of Essential Oil Research. 2007; 19: 525-526, “Essential Oil of Bursera graveolens (Kunth) Triana et Planch from Ecuador.”
*Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 2008; “Inhibition of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by Essential Oils.”

Personal life

Gary Young is married to Mary Billeter Young, a former international opera singer. They have two sons, Jacob and Josef.


*Essential Oils Integrated Medical Guide, Essential Sciences Publishing, 2003.
*Watching the Quacker: Quackwatch rebuttal article. []

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