ASHEVILLE NC – Most people who live in urban areas like downtown West Asheville have no idea that they are surrounded by edible and medicinal plants. Examples of this include the garden ornamental forsythia, which is used in for fevers and infected sores, and violet, the common lawn weed, which is both edible and useful for treating red, swollen eyes. Even non-native invasive species like honeysuckle, kudzu, and Japanese knowtweed are both edible and medicinal. “In the years that I have been doing these plant walks I have catalogued over 60 medicinal and edible plants in the block immediately surrounding the Center and I am sure that there are more,” says Nancy Hyton, Licensed Acupuncturist, Certified Herbalist, and founder of the Center for Holistic Medicine in downtown West Asheville. Nancy says that edible and medicinal plants can easily be found in abundance in formal gardens and abandoned lots, even in the cracks in the sidewalk.
This May 18th with be the sixth West Asheville Urban Plant Walk, an event that Nancy hosts every spring and fall. “It is so amazing,” says Nancy, “without fail every time I do a plant walk I have between fifteen and twenty people show up. The general public definitely has a strong desire to learn about plants.” People are interested in attending the walks for a multitude of reasons. Some want to learn what plants they can harvest for food, some are interested in making their own medicine, and some just want to feel more connected to nature. “Going on a plant walk is an excellent way to open your eyes to the bounty that the plant world has to offer us and can change the way you think about weeds forever.”
Nancy collaborates on the walks with different people each year. This May’s walk will be co-hosted by Nancy and Ceara Foley, director of the Appalachia School of Holistic Herbal Medicine. This school, also located in West Asheville, has been opened for over twenty years and is the oldest school of its kind in the southeast. Collaborating on the walks with different people each year helps keep it fresh. “We also try to cover a different route each time,” says Nancy. “Last fall we spent an hour just in the parking lot!” Having Nancy, who is trained in Chinese herbal medicine, and Ceara, who is trained more in western herbal medicine, host the walk gives participants two different perspectives. “Its amazing how the same plant will used so differently in different traditions,” says Nancy.
The 6th West Asheville Urban Plant Walk be happening Saturday, May 18th from 10:30 to 12:00, rain or shine. It will start at the Center for Holistic Medicine, which is located at 779 Haywood Road in the heart of downtown West Asheville. The cost for the walk is $5 for adults (kids are free!) and includes a free handout of local plants. Sign up in advance at the Center or just come by on the day of the event. You can also call 505-3174 or email [email protected] to reserve a spot. The walk does sell out each time so reservations are recommended. For more information about the walk go to the “Events” page of the Center’s website, www.centerholistic.com. For a list of plants that have been covered in the past see their “Urban Herbs” page.
About the Center for Holistic Medicine
The Center for Holistic Medicine is located at 779 Haywood Road in downtown West Asheville, 28806. It was founded in 2008 and will be open five years this April. The Center has been voted best of WNC four years in a row in the mountain Xpress reader’s poll in three different categories: Best Alternative Healing Center, Best Acupuncturist, and best Massage Therapist. The Center was founded by Nancy Hyton, a Licensed Acupuncturist and Certified Herbalist, who has a special interest in collaborating and working with health care practitioners from other fields. The Center’s website is www.centerholistic.com and the phone number is (828) 505-3174.