Ontario Herbalists Association

Promoting safe & natural healing with plants since 1982

Board of Directors

2018 – 2019

Susan Elliotson, RH – President

After many years as a law clerk with a life-long interest in plants, Susan returned to school to study Phytotherapy in the diploma program at the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, Mohawk College. Now in private practice in Caledon, surrounded by the herbs she uses, she is a professional member of the Ontario Herbalists Association, serving on the Professional Members Committee and the Board of Directors. Susan formerly wrote a regular column for the Canadian Journal of Herbalism. She is also a professional member of the American Botanical Council. Susan regularly leads herb walks, speaks to private groups on different aspects of herbs, taught Herbal Pharmacy as a faculty member of Mohawk College (Hamilton), and Introductory Herbal Medicine and Advanced Herbal Medicine Applications at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition (Toronto).

Chris Lamont, RH – Director, Applicant Schools Liaison

ChrisLamont After working for many years as a professional musician, Chris expanded his way of life by pursuing his love of nature through the study of Herbal Medicine. He studied under renowned herbalist, Isla Burgess and now holds a diploma in Clinical Herbal Medicine from the International College of Herbal Medicine in New Zealand. He followed his studies with a 12-year herbal apprenticeship, where Chris trained extensively in the manufacturing of herbal medicines. Chris became a registered herbalist and member of the Ontario Herbalists Association (OHA) in 2014. Determined to be actively involved in the profession, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the OHA in 2015. He has clinical practices in both Toronto and Dundas, Ontario.

Elena Pintillie, Student Member, Director – Secretary

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.

 Shanthi Balasubramaniam , B.A.M.S., RH – Director

With over 25 years of experience, Shanthi is the founder of Ajara Ayurvedic Wellness Center. She is an Ayurvedacharya from the University of Madras, India where she served both as a Professor and medical officer. Before moving to Canada, Shanthi was head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the renowned college for Ayurveda, Sri Jayendrasaraswathi Ayurveda College, India. She has been conducting lectures for students and the general public about the values of this ancient science. Her objective, while living and working in Toronto, has been to make a difference in the Holistic Health Care System by applying her education and professional wisdom.

Abrah Arneson, RH, Clinical Herbal Therapist  – Vice President

Abrah Arneson is a Clinical Herbals Therapist and has been in practice since graduating from Dominion Herbal College in 2007. After having practiced for many years in Alberta, Abrah has opened a private practice in Ottawa. Abrah also has an apprentice program that offers students clinical experience with herbal medicine. She is the author of The Herbal Apprentice: Plant Medicine and the Human Being and The Herbal Apprentice Workbook. Abrah is committed to creating unique educational opportunities for both practicing herbalists and students.

Dee Gauthier, RH  – Director

Dee has been passionately involved with the study of Herbalism for over 15 years. She is a graduate of the Diane Kent School of Herbalism and while attending her education she also completed a 2 year study program in the evenings and a year long apprenticeship with Celina Ainsworth, and became a RH in 2016. She has been a student and professional member of the OHA for 6 years. She now is the owner of her own apothecary, Tincture and Tonic Apothecary, where she teaches workshops on various medicinal and esoteric aspects of herbs, and practices as a herbalist in her clinic.

Lianna Vargas, RH – Director, CCHA Rep, EZine Editor

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.


Barbara Anderson – Treasurer

Barbara is passionate about herbalism and has been studying herbs over the last 15 years. She is currently transitioning from being a teacher, mother, and financial consultant to working in a health based business. She is pleased to be able to use the skills and knowledge gained as a chartered accountant in her previous career to help forward the cause of herbalism. She lives close to the escarpment with her 3 children and loves to spend any free time hiking and plant watching with her dog and anyone else who can tolerate the frequent plant discovery stops. She was a general member on the Board of Directors in 2003 -2005 and managed the Herb Faire in 2004. She believes that the OHA can continue to promote and support its professional members, support its student members, and be the voice of herbalism in Ontario so that fewer people have to ask “ what is a Herbalist?”.

Previous Board of 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

Previous Board of 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 of 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

Board of 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