The phenomenal healing powers of plants

Sooke Garden Club examines healing power of herbs and native plants at this month’s meeting.

Loretta Fritz


For Christine Hopkins, it all started with a love of herbs, largely for their culinary, therapeutic and medicinal potential.

A passionate gardener “forever committed to organic and sustainable practices,” she began experimenting in the early 1970s with garden herbs, native plants and dye plants (for spinning and weaving) and researching their historic uses.

Some 20 years later, after a particularly stressful event, she found herself literally following her nose to an essential oil shop, the first she’d ever encountered. As she puts it, inhaling a few of the oils just before critical back-to-back meetings “left me feeling calm, clear and focused. It was one of those moments of clarity and insight!”

It was also the impetus for an ongoing fascination with the potential and healing power of plants in all their incredible diversity. It whetted in her a desire to learn, and it set her on a path of ongoing education and training, including three international intensives in Province, France.

Serious gardeners tend to share a love of all plants – edible, ornamental, native, and cultivated. They find joy in playing in the soil and watching their “babies” grow into personal works of art.

At this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club, Christine Hopkins aims to spark an appreciation as well of the healing properties of many plants, especially herbs and native plants.

She will be talking about the therapeutic properties of essential oils, which are extremely concentrated drops of a plant’s potential, as well as the more subtle, but significant, health benefits of teas, including black, green, white, herbal and some “fermented” types.

Members will be able to sample a couple of special tea blends, one of Hopkins custom blends and an herbal tea infused with essential oils. She will also bring a few of her favourite herbs along with their matching essential oils.

Hopkins is an essential oil therapist and thalasso (seaweed) therapist, certified in Washington State (1998) and in B.C. (2002), the latter certification including aromatherapy massage.

She is widely known locally for her knowledge on the use of seaweed, teaching classes and workshops for School District 62, Royal Roads University, and interested groups and individuals within the community. Since 2010, she has also been the proprietor of Honestly Tea, a company committed to organic, fair-trade teas.

Join us on Wednesday (May 24), 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Rd. There will also be a parlour show and plant sale. Annual membership is $15, and new members are always welcome. Questions? Visit our website at or email us at


Loretta Fritz writes for the Sooke Garden Club.