Anna-Marija Helt, PH.D.

Osadha Natural Health

About the Herbalist

Marija grew up running wild in the woods. (Well, at least ’til sunset.)  She’s a research scientist-turned-clinical herbalist, practicing in Colorado since 2010.  Marija studied botanical medicine with Pam Fisher at the Berkeley Herbal Center (formally the Ohlone Center of Herbal Studies), with Kathi Keville at the Green Medicine Herb School, and for shorter stints with other herbalists.  Much of her herbal training was done while running a motorcycle cafe in San Francisco, and the cafe was a great place to recruit victims (er, volunteers) to try her herbal remedies. Prior to becoming an herbalist, she spent a dozen years as a research scientist, with a focus on cancer and infectious disease.  She earned her doctorate in microbiology from the University of Washington School of Medicine while studying cancer-promoting mechanisms of human papillomavirus, the primary cause of cervical cancer. Her postdoctoral research on dengue virus replication was through the School of Public Health at the University of California-Berkeley. She was an infectious diseases trainee at the UW Center for AIDS & STD and an infectious diseases fellow through UC San Francisco Division of Infectious Diseases. Despite the high tech past, Marija’s focus as an herbalist is a simple and holistic approach to health that integrates botanical tradition with a critical evaluation of what botanical research science has to say.  More information on Marija’s training as an herbalist and scientist can be bound at the bottom of this page.   

Marija’s goals as an herbalist are to:

1. Promote a low-tech, accessible approach to health and wellness in an      era where healthcare is getting absurdly expensive

2.  Empower people to take charge of their health by  

3. Bridge the gap between traditional herbalism and modern medicine as someone fluent in both languages.

 

Writing and teaching is a large part of this. She’s a regular columnist for Plant Healer Quarterly and is a free lance writer.  In addition to offering classes through Osadha Natural Health, she’s taught for the following organizations:

    Berkeley Herbal Center, CA

    Albuquerque Herbalism, NM

    The Forager’s Path School of Botanical Studies, AZ

    Fort Lewis College, CO

    The Good Medicine Confluence Annual Conference, CO

    The Discovery Museum, CO

    The Native Plant Society of New Mexico, NM

    The Native Plant Festival, AZ

    WholeExpo, CO

    Blueprints of Hope – Living Fully with and beyond cancer

    Durango Garden Club, CO

    Durango Seniors Outdoors, CO

    Cortez Garden Club, CO

    Pura Vida Healthcare, CO

    Natural Grocers, CO

    Meet the Doulas & Midwives, CO

About Western Herbalism:

“IT IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT PERSON THE DISEASE HAS THAN WHAT DISEASE THE PERSON HAS.” – HIPPOCRATES

Western herbalism is a holistic approach to health involving herbs, nutrition and lifestyle adjustments.  We’ve evolved using plants and mushrooms as food and medicine. The body recognizes them, and when used appropriately, they can be a safe ally on the path to health and wellness.                                                                                                                   

Western herbalism has ancient roots.  The Blog on this site is a place to learn more about medicinal herbs, mushrooms, plant aromatics, science and other health-focused topics.                                                                         

“WHAT COMMERCIAL DRUG DEALER IS GOING TO WANT TO PROVE THAT SAW PALMETTO IS BETTER THAN HIS MULTIMILLION DOLLAR DRUG, WHEN YOU AND I CAN GO TO FLORIDA AND HARVEST OUR OWN SAW PALMETTO? ” 

James Duke, Ph.D.,  USDA scientist and herbal medicine specialist. Rest in peace, December 2017.

True botanical medicine is not a “one size fits all” approach to using herbs and mushrooms. The best approach to herbalism is when the botanicals are matched specifically to the person, something that doesn’t usually happen unless the practitioner is a trained herbalist. It’s not simply about what a particular plant or mushroom“does”, but also about how its energetics and taste fit the person sitting in front of the herbalist.  This allows for deep work while also dealing with symptom picture.                                                                                                                      

Finally, engaging with plants — with a mug of tea, in a local park, with a plant emerging from a sidewalk crack —  is a way to reconnect to the natural world of which we are a part. 

Marija’s Training

Herbal Training in Detail:

Ohlone Center for Herbal Studies. Pam Fisher, Director. Berkeley, CA.

  • Student Clinic – saw clients under Pam’s supervision in the donation-based communitity clinic
  • 10-month Herbal Therapeutics Program
  • 10-month Foundations of Herbalism Apprenticeship Program

Songbird Herbal Co-op, Cotati, CA & The Green Bough, Sonoma County

  • One-on-one training with Dawn Zaft on clinical herbalism and Traditional Chinese
    Medicine. Saw clients on my own & reviewed cases with Dawn.

Green Medicine Herb School. Kathi Keville. Grass Valley, CA

  • Herbal Apprenticeship
  • Herbal Medicine and Body Systems
  • Aromatherapy Series (Level 1 Training)

California School of Herbal Studies, Forestville, CA

  • A variety of short courses

Other Courses:

  • International Certification Course in Aromatherapy. Pacific Institute of
    Aromatherapy. Kurt Schnaubelt, Director. San Rafael, CA.
  • The Art and Science of Herbology. Rosemary Gladstar, E. Barre, VT.

Scientific Training:

  • 2002-2005: Postdoctoral Fellowship. Dengue virus replication. Division of Infectious Diseases, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley
  • 2003-2005: Infectious Disease Fellow. Division of Infectious Diseases. University of California, San Francisco.
  • 1996-2002: Doctoral studies in Microbiology. Molecular mechanisms
    of Human Papillomavirus-induced oncogenesis. Department of Microbiology, University of. Washington, Seattle, WA. Work carried out at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.
  • 1997-2000: Infectious Diseases Trainee. University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD.
  • 1993-1996: Research Technician in cancer drug pharmacology and in digital microscopy. Department of Pharmacology, Fox Chase
    Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 1991-1993: Research Technician in the Department of Ornithology, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA.
  • 1989-1993: Bachelor of Science in Biology w/ Chemistry Minor, Neumann
    College, Aston, PA.