HealthLinks Charleston May/June 2022

The Facts on Food & Drink By early 2020, longtime Botanist April Punsalan had already spent more than 20 years studying the use of plants in healing but wanted to impart her knowledge and experience to a wider range of people. So at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she founded and opened the Yahola Herbal School in Charleston – not only to teach students the health value of plants as an alternative to medicinal drugs but to show how many everyday plants can be used to add years to your life. “I offer Botanical Medicine Movement twice per year and have 10 to 15 students per session,” Punsalan said. “I teach students how to make medicine and food with the plants that grow right underneath their feet or within two miles of their doorstep.” Part of her instruction focuses on utilizing plants to gain more daily energy, slow the aging process and prevent all forms of illness and disease, especially by eating certain plants in season. “In the spring, many of the wild herbs, such as violets, chickweed and cleavers, help build and cleanse the blood after the winter when the body needs to detoxify,” Punsalan said. “And I teach students about the importance of many different kinds of herbs and plants.” For example, consider the value of hawthorn and mulberry, two of the plants studied in courses at Yahola. YAHOLA: By L. C. Leach III 100 | www. Char l es tonPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com USING PLANTS TO HEAL