Essential Oils

This post is a continuation of my last one. I'm going to explain the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle, tell you what I like about it, and what resources I plan to use. I will also talk a little bit about essential oils.

The thing I appreciate most about this bundle is how focused it is on one topic. Most bundle sales don't appeal to me in part because there is simply too much stuff. Too much digital stuff, is still too much stuff.

And of course the subject is exactly what I need right now to help me get my act together for the next cold and flu season.

Bundle Details

The bundle contains 20 resources which include 4 online courses, 14 ebooks, and 2 printable packs.

I bought a bundle for myself (full disclosure: at a discounted affiliate rate) and I've done an overview of most of the material to plan my course of action in using these resources.

I'm impressed with the depth and scope of what's offered in the focused topics of herbs and essential oils. I'm impressed with the variety of teaching methods - audio, video and reading materials. And I'm super impressed with bonus offer.

The bundle costs $29.97 and is such a good deal, as I describe below.

It's only available till Monday, June 27th 11:59 EST. I have no idea if it will return later in the year as flash sale. (I usually despise flash sales, they seem so gimmicky.) If you think you can use these materials, I would take advantage of the sale while you can.

Here's what I like in these resources and what I plan to use.

This bundle has more value than my original plan to buy a couple online courses to get me ready for next winter. I do feel I have to work for it a little bit more than if I bought a specific, targetted "cold & flu" course. I have to sort through the 20 resources and set up my learning path, but I've pretty much done that work already in reviewing the material to write this post. In addition, I get more than the cold & flu material and the bonus offer is worth the bundle price alone.


  • The ecourse I am most excited about is Herbs & Oils: Beyond the Basics from Vintage Remedies. It covers oils and herbs, including safety and toxicology, effective dosing and advanced research. One of the things I found most frustrating this winter, as we dealt with real sickness, is the "try a bit a this" approach and folksy-type wisdom people like to dole out. When you're not very sick, when the cold lasts a couple days, folksy wisdom is nice; sipping hot tea in bed, etc. But I want to know what really works when you're battling a beast, in what kind of doses and when to use it. I'm hoping this course will teach me.

  • 5 Multi-Use Herbs (And What to Do with Them). This is a video teaching. Yay for not having to read more stuff. I love when things - furniture, food, etc can serve multi-purposes so I'm keen to learn about multi-use herbs, especially since yarrow grows like a weed in my yard and it's one of the herbs taught. I've been feeling really bad about my weedy yard and then this bundle comes along and I realize what a gift it is to have so much yarrow at my disposal!

  • The Essential Oils Course course by family physician, Dr. Edie Wadsworth. I'm especially interested in her teaching on efficacy, emotions, and safety. This teaching has a very strong Christian bias, that frankly, I am uncomfortable with, but oh well. I'm hoping it won't detract too much from what I'm learning. From the little bit of research I have already done, I believe I could increase my emotional wellbeing and lower my stress and anxiety with essential oils. I'm currently taking an online course, gifted from my mom, to help me in this regard. I'll be curious to see how Dr. Wadsworth teaching compares to what I'm doing already.


  • Wellness Mama is one of the go-to resources in the blogging world for recipes and DIY on all things wellness, herbal, make-it-yourself wisdom. I'ved used her recipes a lot over the years: non-toxic cleaners, homemade makeup for Brienne, etc. Her book Handbook of Home Remedies is very extensive. I'll be focusing on the cold & flu protocols for now. But this is one of those comprehensive resources you can have at your fingertips and if your cupboards are stocked (she gives a list in the front) you can make what you need as situations arise.

  • Cold & Flu Season: Are You Ready? (not yet, but I will be). This is one of the main resources I will be scouring when I put together my plan.

  • Common Sense Home Remedies Book #1 – Head, Throat & Chest - This ebook feels like folksy wisdom but I will be pulling recipes out of here. The last section on Home Remedies for Seasonal Allergies is very intriguing to me. In the past few years, I've noticed our family suffering more with these, not significantly but some. It could just be that we are being exposed to new pollens - I noticed the symptoms on the trail and also this year in Montreal. It could also be exacerbated by dairy consumption, something we didn't eat for years but are now eating (mostly organic and raw) more frequently.

  • The Beginner’s Guide To Adaptogens: Herbs For Energy, Stress Relief & Immune Support Adaptogenic herbs are something I have been experimenting with, mostly as related to mental and emotional health. Adaptogens are herbs that support good health, which includes immune function. As I understand it, "they build you up" and they are notable for their support in adrenal health. I use them in supplement form as part of my winter wellness toolkit and also as part of my anxiety solutions. But my knowledge of how they work and how to incorporate them, beyond supplement form, is surface at best. I'd like to move my knowledge of adaptogens beyond experimentation and buzz word recognition into sound practice. I'd also like to learn how to make my own preparations to save money.

  • Homegrown Healing: From Seed to Apothecary is a comprehensive herbal resource. Herbal knowledge is basically the same across most of the resources I've found. What makes this ebook unique is the gardening emphasis which I am keen about right now as I have a full sun, tabula rasa (albeit weedy) backyard and I am designing gardens right now.

  • Essential Oils: Separating Truth from Myth - The next section of this post explains why I appreciate this ebook de-bunking 25 myths about essential oils. I don't think the author holds 100% of the truth, but the information seems balanced. I had believed the myth that essential oils are superior to simple herbal remedies, which is part of how I lost the little bit of herbal knowledge I did have. I replaced it with an over-reliance on a product I didn't entirely understand. And when we got really sick this winter, in spite of using essential oils, I felt a bit misled. I'm not blaming anyone. I need to arrive at my own understanding of these things, not take other people's positions, even people I trust, for gospel truth. (This is something I am prone to by nature.)

The cost of all these resources as stand-alone products is $324.90. Even if some are over-valued (another gimmick I despise) it's still a great price.

Let's talk about Essential Oils.

I have a lot of confusion about essential oils.

They are a "relatively" new thing in the North American natural health and wellness community. I've seen them in health food stores for years but dismissed them as over-priced incense. And their meteoric rise in popularity over the past few years is due to multi-level marketing, of which I am highly suspicious.

One of my dear, close friends has used essential oils therapeutically for years and her advice is sometimes different from my friends and relatives who got into this very recently through the MLM side of things.

I started using essential oils a few years ago, and honestly, I just don't feel educated enough. At first, I thought they were ok to just experiment with. "It can't hurt!", bloggers, acquaintances, all essential oils newbies, were telling me. Well, yes it can.

And just because you've been using a product for a few months does not make you an expert.

I feel fairly ignorant about essential oils for health, but haven't had the mental energy to do anything about it. This winter I was extremely frustrated with how hit-or-miss it all felt. I'm not asking for guarantees but it's important to me that I'm using best practices and that I'm learning from people who have extensive experience and a scientific understanding (that's my bias).

The science around essential oils is exploding but a lot of confusion still exists for me.

I also don't like all the "start a business stuff" that accompanies so much of the essential oil teaching and online health teaching in general. I don't want to start a business or be coached in reaching my potential as a consultant. There is nothing wrong with these aims of course, they're just not mine.

My aim is to use essential oils with knowledge and confidence and I feel this bundle offers that kind of teaching.

This winter I watched a great, free video from Lisa Grace Byrne about essential oils. And I found her approach completely refreshing and well-grounded (no pun intended). You can access that here. Her teaching always feels so solid to me, and trustworthy. This video is not about cold and flu but overall wellness and self-care, her speciality.

The Bonus Offer (more than icing on the cake)

The bonus offer in the bundle is fabulous.

In order to use essential oils and herbs you have to have them in your cupboards. You can grow your own herbs, or wild-harvest them, but most of use buy what we need. And very few people are set up to make their own essential oils. You need the stuff to use the stuff.

The bonus offer of this bundle has you covered with a 50% (50%!) coupon code for the online apothecary Golden Poppy.

The discount applies to bulk herbs and essential oils.

Here's the bad news, it's only good for shipping in the U.S. I happen to be traveling to the U.S. this summer so I had my order shipped there. If you are in Canada and can't access this, I'm sorry. (I know, it sucks.)

Here's a screenshot of what I ordered:

You can see that my savings were greater than the price of the bundle. I needed these oils anyway, they were on my to-buy list. This was a sweet deal.

Because I am familiar with doTERRA and I buy almost all my oils through that company (because I am able to support my mom and brother in doing so), I did a price comparison and found that the average pre-discount price of buying oils at Golden Poppy was a bit less than the doTERRA equivalents. This is not surprising because doTERRA's prices are set up for MLM sales. This is not bad or good, it just is.

If you are interested in buying oils and potentially saving money/earning money by having friends/family buy oils through you I recommend doTERRA. I can get you set up with my mom who does this for a business and can walk you through the whole process. You totally want to meet my mom. She's the best.


If you are at all interested in growing your knowledge in herbs and essential oils, you simply cannot go wrong with this bundle, priced at $29.97. And if you take advantage of the bonus offer (you really should), and purchase some herbs and oils at 50% off, your savings on those products pays for your teaching material.

You have a 30 day happiness guarantee with this bundle. I'm not sure how you can go wrong.

If you have any questions about the bundle contents before you purchase feel free to ask me. I will do my best to give you an honest evaluation, based on your needs and interests. I'm on Facebook, you can email me or leave a comment.

I used to really be "into" herbs and herbal knowledge. I'd say approximately ten years ago, in my late 20's and early 30's at the same time I started blogging, is when this interest took root in my life.

On the recommendation of a close friend (she swore by elderberry) I started using a few store-bought herbal remedies. But in my opinion, they were pricey and when I learned I could make my own, well, that's what I wanted to do. I started growing herbs, making tinctures, poultices, and salves. I was very excited by all of it. This is also the phase of my life in which I became a soapmaker.

It was the edge of my growth curve and like anything at the edge of my growth curve, I was motivated to write about it also.

When we downsized and left Maine, moving back to Canada and deep-diving into the adventure phase of our family life, I moved my stash of dried herbs, tinctures, and infusions. But slowly, through a combination of moving every nine months, hearty and healthy constitutions, and evolving interests and shifts in personal growth and development, my study and practice of herbalism fell by the wayside.

Then, a few years ago when I started to learn about essential oils I figured these could replace the role of herbs in helping me to treat the minor illnesses and everyday aches our family experienced.

A small kit of essential oils were my go-to remedies on the Appalachian Trail to treat upset tummies, rashes, sun exposure, bug bites, etc. (We used Permethrin on our clothing and tents and Picaridin on our skin to repel insects. When it came to ticks, we weren't messing around.)

I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing, whether to dilute or not, how much to apply, etc. but what I did worked relatively well. Lavender, lemon, peppermint, melaleuca, oregano, frankincense, and Deep Blue®, from the DoTERRA Family Physician Kit were my go-to oils on the AT.

But even so, it wasn't enough to prevent each and every one of us from experiencing mild to severe gastroenteritis; acquired from the unsanitary conditions on the trail. We should have used more hand sanitizer. We should have used more On Guard. We should have... we should have... all easy to say when you're looking back. We survived and finished the trail, with the exception of myself due to a foot injury.

Fast forward to this past winter when our family came down with the worst flu virus we've ever experienced.

The cupboards were mostly empty of the herbal remedies I had used in the past and I had actually forgotten the best strategies for using herbs. I was so out of practice. And by the time I had wrapped by brain around the fact that rest and fluids was not going to cut it this time around, it was too late for any essential oil or herb to be effective at treating our illness.

I went into the winter unprepared. The knowledge I had acquired in the past was relegated to a long-term memory folder I wasn't able to access and was insufficient for what I was dealing with. Wait and see meant wait and be ill.

And if I'm completely honest, I was kind of hoping we were done with all that. That once the baby reached 13 we'd be through the worst of the kid illnesses and that somehow just having the bottles of essential oil in the house would keep illness at bay.

This is almost comical in retrospect and I can't say it was a conscious thing, but I do think subconsciously I may have thought we were done with all that. Like you can be "done" with illness. Ha!

When we emerged from the fog that was two months of flu and and then secondary infections (that required antibiotics, the first time in about fifteen years) I resolved to re-learn what I had lost, re-stock what I need in the cupboards, and to have a plan for next winter.

I never want to go through that again. Pain does that. It hurts and you try to figure out how to avoid that suffering in the future, because it sucks.

My goal, by next winter, roughly November, is to have developed our family's essential oil and herbal remedies path for treating cold and flu. What I want to create is a classic if-then-else flowchart for cold and flu. (At the first sign of... do this.... then this.... else this...) I don't want to mess around, I don't want vague notions in my head about horseradish, onions, oregano oil and zinc.

I don't want to start searching the web, dusting the cobwebs off my knowledge, when we start feeling off. It didn't work last time. I want to have a plan of action, going into winter.

To that end I was going to take online courses. And I was planning to buy some herbal remedies my friend recommended. But the money situation has changed and it will be tight well into winter, so I was waiting and worrying, resigning myself to the fact that I'd have to do the work myself of finding the resources, searching the links and finding other solutions to the expensive herbal products I hoped to buy. (I recognize essential oils are also relatively expensive, but I have a lot of the basics already.)

And then... the Herbs & Essential Oil Super Bundle came along.

This is exactly how it happened. I don't keep in the Bundle loop, as I don't need a lot of homemaking help these days, and I find most bundles are full of a bunch of stuff I don't need. But I got an email a couple weeks ago that this would be for offered for sale. Was I interested in helping promote it?

Yes! Never mind promoting it, I need it for myself.

The information is all here. I don't have to go searching the web, or clicking through my growing list of essential oil bookmarks. These books have everything I need.

In truth, I probably have everything I need in the two hardcopy books I own (yes, just two), one on essential oils, one on herbs, but there is so much information in those books and I really want to focus on cold and flu right now.

Do you need this bundle to learn about essential oils and herbs? Do I need this bundle to learn what I need to get me ready for next winter?


But I believe it will simplify the process or at least get me solidly pointed in a good direction. And at a price I can afford.

I still have to do the work of reading through the material (not all of it, just the ebooks most relevant to me), making notes and drafting my flow chart (I'm serious about the flow chart). But it seems doable.

Before I committed to buying and writing about this bundle I wanted to make sure it provided a few things:

  • resources for cold & flu specifically
  • high caliber authors & teachers
  • non-MLM essential oil resources
  • great bonus features

I'm not one of those people who's going to tell you this bundle has everything you need, because it doesn't. You don't just need the knowledge, you don't just need the resources at your "fingertips". I had resources at my fingertips and it wasn't enough.

yarrow, growing like "weeds" in my backyard

I need to use the knowledge, find the supplies, buy the supplies (the bonus offer of the bundle helps with this), make the stuff. That part isn't done for me, or you.

I'm at the stage of life where I wish that part was done for me (because I have other interests I want to spend time on) but I can't afford what that costs. So... I'm back to rolling up my sleeves, using the brain God gave me, and the resources easily accessible (my weedy yard is full of yarrow!) to get where I need to go. Because I do not want to re-live another sick season like this past winter.

I'm going to publish a bit more about this bundle in the coming days, sharing what I'll be using specifically for my cold and flu prep work, and what I think about the bonus offer. (It rocks! I've already ordered my oils and saved more than the cost of the bundle. That's significant.)

In the meantime, you can check it for yourself of course.

March is my least favorite month and each year I have to be intentional about how I'm going to get through the end of the winter.

I get very antsy this time of year. Cabin fever I guess.

I definitely experience a transformation through the winter season. In January, right after the energy and resource expenditure of the holidays, all I want to do is retreat, rest and hibernate. I want to hunker down. So I make every effort to honor that desire.

But as the days slowly lengthen and winter's magic wanes (early winter is magical but the magic doesn't last forever) I am itching for a change.

By March I want to start making plans for the summer and I want to go places, right now. This seasonal shift in me has helped fuel our moves over the last few years. It wasn't the reason for our moves, they were necessary for other reasons - short-term rentals, hiking the AT, housing availability etc. But this natural change in "energy" helped us pull it off, for at least four of our last five moves (one move was in autumn).

This year no moving. Hallelujah!! So I can instead plan summer camping, backpacking/hiking, and roadtrip adventures. I am so relieved I want to start planning those again. After our hike I thought I lost my travel and adventure desires all together. All I wanted to do was to nest and make home. Thank goodness that was just part of my post-trail experience and recovery.

I'm ready to go places again, both in terms of the March "itch" and in the bigger picture of my life in which I am both a homebody and an adventurer.

That's the big story, the more immediate story is that back in January, anticipating my need in March to go somewhere I made a plan with my mom to meet up in March, roughly halfway between Nova Scotia and Montreal.

This weekend was that meet-up. We called it a retreat. We did this once before, six years ago when I still lived in Maine. We met in New Brunswick that time.

For this retreat my mom made a big effort in driving all the way to Riviere-du-Loup and I arrived by bus from Montreal. There are not a lot great places to meet, in March, in central New Brunswick, which is truly the halfway point between us. My mom graciously agreed to "go the distance" to meet me in Riviere-du-Loup, which offers more culture and outdoors opportunities than small-town New Brunswick.

I had such a wonderful time with my mom. We connect on many levels, and share multiple interests. And we respect and love the differences in each other. I feel safe with my mom, at ease.

Sometimes I get so caught up in our current friendship that I forget my whole history and being is dependent on her. There is no part of my life she does not know, she has not been witness to.

She knows me in one of the most intimate ways possible, more intimately than I can ever know her. My mom had a life before me, a childhood I wasn't a part of and an early adult life that I was largely oblivious to. As a child I didn't think of my mom as a person to know, she was just "my mom". It wasn't until my adulthood that I appreciated my mom as a person unique from me.

My mom does not offer unsolicited advice and she does not smother. She has always given me plenty of space to become independent, to be my own person, the daughter of Derryl and Karen Toews.

From the time I was little my mom has been the parent that I got along with most easily. It is my Dad, who shares many of my personality traits and ways of looking at the world, with whom the sparks flew in my teenaged years.

Now there are no sparks, except those that ignite the love in my heart for these two people in the world who know me so well and have loved me unconditionally all my life.

Most of the time my mom and I are together we are with other family - husbands/fathers, kids/grandkids. Our attentions are divided, conversations shortened by things we must do. But this weekend was one long, uninterrupted, conversation and connect time.

It was winter in Riviere-du-Loup but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm to get outdoors and walk, something we both love to do. We even dress the same for the outdoors. That's years of Damien's influence, helping equip our family and my parents to be comfortably active outdoors year round.

We drank red wine at the end of the day and ate our meals out. Nothing as tasty as my mom's cooking, but I sure enjoyed the break from the kitchen.

We talked a lot but we enjoyed companionable silences and personal time. I napped and did Zentangle. We read.

My mom loved on me with an AromaTouch Technique experience.

We talked about our passions and our dreams for the future. Of course I talked about my kids. My mom is the one person in my life, other than Damien, that does not tire to hear the stories and struggles of Celine, Laurent and Brienne, my life's pride and joy (and the cause sometimes of heartache and concern).

My joy is her joy and my pain is her pain. And as a grown adult, the empathy goes both ways. She is no longer just "my mom", the way she was when I was a kid, she's my friend.

We filled our adult relationship mother-daughter well, and agreed we should make this an annual activity.

Driving back to Montreal on the bus, watching the snow disappear as we travelled south, it feels like spring is just around the corner. I'm happy to leave the snow in Riviere-du-Loup.

March has turned. We reached the equinox, and winter is truly waning. The magic of spring will start soon, and summer, a season for traveling and adventures, will follow shortly.

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