Phyllis Bala is a Doctor of Indigenous Medicine, medical advocate, transcultural health consultant, herbalist, and holistic health educator.
Phyllis Bala is a Doctor of Indigenous Medicine, seer, medical intuitive, medical advocate, transcultural health consultant, herbalist, and holistic health educator. She is the great granddaughter of Tomása Malijen, a curandera (one who cures with herbs and prayers) of Yaqui and Aztec descent from Mexico. Tomása was a midwife and helped people manage their illnesses with food combining and the use of “medicine foods”. Her herbal liniment was responsible for saving many lives within her community in Oakland, CA, during the 1918 Flu Pandemic. Phyllis’ great grandfather Pedro Malijen, was a seer and bonesetter from Guam and eventually settled in Oakland, CA, on a farm where he and Tomása raised their family. Her diverse cultural background includes grandparents from the Philippines, Nicaragua, and the Azores.
Born in San Francisco, California, Phyllis has lived in the North Bay Area most of her life, and in Sonoma County since 1970. For over 20 years she and her family tended a dispensatory medicinal herb garden, along with organic fruits, vegetables, culinary herbs, flowers, and native plants.
Over the years Phyllis has received awards and acknowledgement for her leadership and volunteer work in Sonoma County including Head Start, Help for Teen Parents (Sonoma County Health Department), and Youth Empowerment Services. She earned her certification in non-violent communication through the Alternatives to Violence Project at San Quentin Prison, in San Rafael, California. She also served as a board member of the American Indian Cultural Education Committee (AICEC), in Santa Rosa, California.
She completed her certification in Western Herbalism at California School of Herbal Studies (CSHS) in Forestville in 1988. She studied Therapeutic Herbalism with David Hoffmann, B.Sc., M.N.I.M.H., and worked with patients in a clinical setting in the office of Lois Johnson, M.D., in Sebastopol, California.
Among the variety of experiential workshops Phyllis has facilitated are: Creating Reciprocal Relationships With Plant Medicine Spirits; Planting Seeds of Security: The Military & The Planet; Healing Through Twenty Thousand Generations of Ancestors; and Herbal Medicine Making: An Indigenous Approach. She has taught a broad range of audiences throughout California, including UC Davis, Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium, New College of California in Santa Rosa, Institute of Deep Ecology, Holy Names College, Mom’s Head Gardens in Santa Rosa, and Rosemary’s Garden herb store in Sebastopol, where she also worked as a staff herbalist.
Her expertise as a patient advocate allows her to work well with western medical teams, patients, their families, and other designated support groups in hospital settings applying effective, time-honored, integrative methods of indigenous (earth-based) care. She specializes in doctoring and advocating for tribal elders, children with special needs and medical traumas, as well as the difficult-to-diagnose high-risk patients, all with medically documented results. As a transcultural health consultant, Phyllis is highly skilled at building bridges of understanding between western medical teams and indigenous peoples, while facilitating respectful, ethical, and culturally appropriate protocols to foster a safe, and positive healing experience.
For many years Phyllis has brought the art and science of herbal medicine making and Plant Spirit medicine into public and private schools throughout Sonoma County and California. Her passion is inspiring a renewed sense of cultural self-esteem to at-risk youth, while sharing the history, values, and methods of building organic compost, planting foods and flowers as medicines, and medicinal and culinary herbs.
Currently, she is sole proprietor of Sacred Ground, a Community Education and Resource Center in Occidental. It is here that she looks forward to bridging art, science, compassionate communication, and indigenous technology into western culture, assisting individuals into a graceful, healthy process of empowerment.
Phyllis has implemented a Medicine Wheel approach towards holistic health. It’s design is based on ancient principles of self-development and healing, found throughout cultures around the world and in North America. For over 20 years patients who were referred by their doctors and therapists used the Medicine Wheel as a primary healing modality to creatively work with unsolvable health issues as a fine art.
Today, Phyllis extends an open invitation to those who feel compelled to explore their own personal relationships to the Medicine Wheel, for the purposes of developing a more authentic way of living in good health and balance during these challenging times, while learning to live in respectful reciprocity with nature and twenty thousand generations of one’s ancestors.