Sprinkled throughout Columbia are people who think differently than the typical American consumer. People who eat organic foods, shop locally and use natural remedies for common illnesses*. People who believe in the importance of healthy living. People who enjoy the feeling of shopping at places where the owners know their name and are their friends. People like Kala Pullen.
Earlier this month, Utopia Invitations met up with Kala Pullen, Columbia resident and recent graduate of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville where a typical classroom looked like this:
We decided have lunch at Café Strudel and we were lucky enough to get a sunny little table looking onto the Gervais Street bridge and the Columbia skyline.
Surrounded by local artwork, Kala described to us her passion for natural healing and the ways in which she stays healthy during the colder seasons.
Kala had quite a charming little childhood, growing up in an old schoolhouse in Winnsboro, South Carolina.
“It wasn’t your typical childhood. My sister and I use to press flowers together and play in our playhouse. My siblings and I would camp out in our tent and we would have bonfires,” Kala said.
When Kala was 16 her mom gave her the book, Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices
“It opened a whole new world for me,” Kala said.
She started working at Rosewood Market and now works in the Supplements Department. It was there that she decided to attend the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine to find out more about natural healing and nutrition.
“It was a five weekend program spaced out five months. We foraged, learned about herbs and their medicinal properties, identified trees, learned how to make different natural medicines, etc.,” she said.
So what does she do to stay healthy during colder months? She takes Elderberry Syrup, which she makes herself.
“Elderberries are really a wonder of nature. They’re full of antioxidants and nutrients, during Fall and Winter is the best time to harvest them. But you can also use dried elderberries to make a medicinal syrup. Because elderberries are full of nutrients such as vitamin C, it can help to boosts the immune system, helping to prevent or shorten a flu or cold.”
Make your own Elderberry Syrup: (or visit Rosewood Market and find something similar already made.)
1/2 cup elderberries
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp. rosehips, whole
2 cups water, distilled or purified
1 1/4 tbsp. ginger, minced or grated
1/2 tbsp. cardamom pods, crushed
1 cup honey
1/2 oz. elderflowers (1 tbsp.)
In a small to medium saucepan, combine water, elderberries, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, rosehips and cardamom. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until reduced by 1/2. Turn off heat. Add elderflowers. Cover and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain. Add honey. Mix until dissolved. Let cool. Bottle and refrigerate.
Interesting note: Her boyfriend, Paul Grant, is the founder of Freshly Grown Farms, a small farm in Columbia that offers greenhouse and organically grown produce. Freshly Grown Farms supplies produce for local businesses including Motor Supply, Tombo, Terra, Rosso, Ristorante Divino, Gervais and Vine, MoMo’s and Rosewood Market and Deli. We think they must make the cutest couple ever.
Written collaboratively by owner Lauren Landers and Karina Salehi, creative writer and friend.