Ontario Herbalists Association

Promoting safe & natural healing with plants since 1982

Board of Directors



Lianna Vargas, RH – President

Lianna is a Registered Herbalist who continually seeks to deepen her understanding through engagement with the natural world. Her focus has been on getting to know local plants, connecting with Nature, and getting back to the basics in hopes to help forge a more sustainable future. She is also an artist that has many interests and skills she has been developing alongside her training in herbal medicine such as wildlife tracking, organic gardening and traditional crafting. She received clinical training under Diane Kent’s Clinical Herbalism Program and studied in the field with with Michael Vertolli, learning to identify and harvest the local wild plants, connecting with them on a deep level.

Lianna is a professional and active Board member of the Ontario Herbalists Association (OHA). She has served as one of the OHA representatives for the of the Canadian Council of Herbalists Associations (CCHA) since 2015 and currently serves as the Vice President of that organization. She works with Living Earth School of Herbalism as the Student Liaison & Administration Coordinator and has a private clinical practice in York, ON.


Tahir Ahmad, RH – Vice President, Applications Director

Tahir Ahmad, D.N.M., R.H., N.M.D has forty years experience in herbal medicine. Tahir qualified from one of the oldest colleges in the world, and received an Honours Degree in Herbal Medicine. Tahir has served as president of the Toronto College of Natural Medicine and he has given approximately 500 lectures on Rogers cable. He has done considerable research on Eastern and Western herbs, and Health Canada has approved his 74 formulas for manufacturing in Canada. As a herbalist practicing in Toronto (Etobicoke), he has more than ten thousand patient files in his office.


Elena Pintilie, Student Member – Secretary, Communications Director, Student Liaison

Elena Pintilie completed her studies in holistic nutrition in 2013, and has since been complimenting her nutrition knowledge with herbal education through various courses and workshops. She is passionate about health, wellness and all things natural; and hopes to guide her future clients to take health in their own hands – find their unique optimal health and balance through wholesome real food, daily use of herbs and herbal blends/preparations. Elena has been an active volunteer with the OHA for several years, and is a student member of the OHA.


Rick DeSylva, RH, DNM – Director, Political Liaison

Richard DeSylva, RH, DNM is the owner of The Herb Works in Rockwood, ON. His education as a herbalist began with a correspondence course from Dominion Herbal College in Burnaby B.C. in 1977. After receiving his diploma in 1979, he began another correspondence course with Norma Meyers, a Mohawk medicine woman, again in B.C. Concurrent with this, he undertook an apprenticeship with a Swiss herbalist and naturopathic doctor by the name of Dr. Albert Thut, helping to wildcraft herbs, mill his formulae, and occasionally going on his rounds to the Mennonite community, all the while learning about herbal medicine from him. Richard has read numerous books on herbal medicine as well as those of a scientific nature, to confirm what he reads in the historical texts as accurate and correct. Richard is an advocate and lobbyist for the appropriate regulation of herbs and herbal medicine; in this regard, he helped fund two different lawsuits, and organized local national and international meetings to stop the ‘drug’ style regulations the natural health industry was facing.



Zhyfhs Millicent, RH – Director, Volunteer Coordinator, Events Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon!





Karim Jivan, Student Member – Director, Marketing Coordinator

Bio Coming Soon!






Elizabeth Boyd, RH – Treasurer, Bookkeeper

Elizabeth grew up on a crop farm in Southwestern Ontario, and was familiar with many plants and ‘weeds’ from a very early age. Through university, Elizabeth’s summer jobs were in the agriculture industry and these positions enhanced her plant identification knowledge so that she can rapidly identify many locally growing plants.

After completing a Chemical Engineering and Management degree at McMaster University, Elizabeth’s interest in culinary and medicinal plants became a hobby that eventually led to more education. After enrolling in a 6 month herbal field study program, she knew that Herbal Medicine was her passion and Elizabeth began pursuing a degree in Traditional Herbal Medicine at the Institute of Traditional Medicine in Toronto. She graduated in the Fall of 2011. Elizabeth lives with her husband, son, and daughter on a 40 acre property between Grimsby and Smithville. She is currently accepting new patients into her practice. She is also available for seminars and talks on a wide variety of topics relating to Herbal Medicine.


Nancy Majoulian, CNP, RH (OHA), nd-1223 – CCHA Rep


Nancy Majoulian is a Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutritional Practitioner and a Registered professional Herbalist with the Ontario Herbalist Association (OHA). Nancy is a former aerospace executive turned holistic health advocate. Her journey started after a life changing ski accident in 2008 where she had 3 surgeries and was able to get back on her feet in 6 months, exceeding the surgeons recovery expectations.

Her own health journey not only inspired her to invest in her own health help but help others get their health back. To learn more go to www.gaialifeforce.com

Nancy decided to join the CCHA board because she believes herbal medicine has a role in today’s world. It needs to be protected and the public needs to be properly educated on it. The use of plants as medicines predates written human history. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans were using medicinal plants during the Paleolithic era, approximately 60,000 years ago. Nancy wants to also honour her great-great-great grandmother Cema who was a renowned mid-wife and medical herbalist in the 19th century in the region of Cilicia, the “village” of Alexandretta, previously known as” Little Alexandria”.

Nancy uses holistic and complementary approach in helping her clients get their health back. She specializes in plant-based, and holistic nutrition, digestive and hormonal imbalances. She also gives regular health and wellness workshops across North America within the private and public sectors and has been a guest speaker at the Thrive with Cancer Expo in Toronto, Berkeley University in California, University of Ottawa, Ryerson College, at the International Association of Airport Executives conference in Montreal and more. In 2017, Nancy had a 6 part plant-based television series in Toronto and has made several television appearances sharing her nutritional and herbal tips including on Breakfast Television.

Nancy’s motto is: “Health is your biggest asset. Invest in it and it will pay dividends.”


Laura Holloway, RH – General Manager

Allanah Canal – Social Media Communications Officer

Previous Board 2020 – 2021: Susan Elliotson, RH – President, Lianna Vargas, RH – Vice-President, Elena Pintilie – Secretary, Chris Lamont, RH – Director, Applications, Thair Ahmad, RH – Director, Rick DeSylva, DNM, CH, RH – Director, Dee Gauthier, RH – Director,      ADDITIONAL TEAM MEMBERS: Elizabeth Boyd – Treasurer, Bookkeeper, Nancy Majoulian, RH – CCHA Rep, Laura Holloway – General Manager, Anitha Venkatesan – Office Administrator, Allanah Canal – Social Media Communications Officer

Previous Board 2019 – 2020: Susan Elliotson, RH – President, Abrah Arneson, RH – Vice-President, Elena Pintilie – Secretary, Chris Lamont, RH – Director, Applications, Shanthi Balasubramaniam, RH – Director, Dee Gauthier, RH – Director, Lianna Vargas, RH – Director, CCHA Rep,     ADDITIONAL TEAM MEMBERS: Barbara Anderson/Elizabeth Boyd – Treasurer, Nancy Majoulian, RH – CCHA Rep, Devi Panday – General Manager, Anitha Venkatesan – Office Administrator

Previous Board 2018 – 2019: Susan Elliotson, RH – President, Abrah Arneson, RH – Vice-President, Elena Pintilie – Secretary, Chris Lamont, RH – Director, Applications, Shanthi Balasubramaniam, RH – Director, Dee Gauthier, RH – Director, Barbara Anderson – Treasurer     ADDITIONAL TEAM MEMBERS: Lianna Vargas, RH – CCHA Rep, Nancy Majoulian, RH – CCHA Rep

Previous Board 2017 – 2018: Marianne Beacon, RH – President, CCHA Rep, Lianna Vargas, RH – Vice-President, CCHA Rep Elena Pintilie – Secretary, Barbara Anderson – Treasurer, Chris Lamont, RH – Director, Applicant Schools Liaison, Susan Elliotson, RH – Secretary/Privacy Officer, Shanthi Balasubramaniam, RH – Director

Previous Board 2016 – 2017: Marianne Beacon, RH – President, CCHA Rep Lianna Vargas, RH – Vice-President, CCHA Rep, Elena Pintilie – Secretary, Barbara Anderson – Treasurer, Chris Lamont, RH – Director, Applicant Schools Liaison

Previous Board 2015 – 2016: Richard DeSylva, DNM, CH, RH – President, CCHA Rep, John Redden – Vice-President, Susan Elliotson, RH – Secretary/Privacy Officer, Elizabeth Boyd, RH – Treasurer, Lianna Vargas, RH – Director, CCHA Rep, Marianne Beacon, RH – Director, Chris Lamont, RH – Director

Previous Board 2014 – 2015: Diane Kent, MNIMH, RH – President, Richard DeSylva, DNM, CH, RH – Vice-President, CCHA Rep Susan Elliotson, RH – Secretary/Privacy Officer, Elizabeth Boyd, RH – Treasurer, Michael Vertolli, BSc, RH – Director, CCHA Rep Monika Ghent RH, PSM – Director, PMC Chair, Lianna Vargas, RH – Director, Student Liaison