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 for fevers and sore throats, 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 knotweed are both edible and medicinal. “In the years that I have been doing these plant walks I have catalogued over 90 medicinal and edible plants in the blocks immediately surrounding the Center and the list continues to grow,” 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 3rd with be the eighth 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 over 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 Wendy Lippman, Certified Herbalist and founder of Wendy’s Wonder Botanicals. 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 Wendy, 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 8th West Asheville Urban Plant Walk will be happening Saturday, May 3rd from 10:30 to 12:00. 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 $8 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 firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot. The walk does sell out every time so reservations are recommended. For more information about the walk go to the Center’s website, www.centerholistic.com. For a list of plants that have been covered in the past click on the “Urban Plant Walks” link under the “Services” tab.
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 is open six years this April. The Center is home to four different holistic practitioners and has been voted best of WNC five years in a row in the Mountain Xpress reader’s poll in three different categories: Alternative Healing Center, Acupuncturist, and Massage Therapist. The Center was founded by Nancy Hyton, a Licensed Acupuncturist and Certified Herbalist, who is honoured to be a member of the first class to graduate from Asheville’s acupuncture school, Daoist Traditions. The Center’s website is www.centerholistic.com and the phone number is (828) 505-3174.