Meet Dr. Martha
Dr. Martha Mathews Libster, Ph.D., MSN, APRN-CNS
Dr. Martha Mathews Libster, PhD, a native of Ohio, USA, is a healthcare consultant who specializes in consumer health education and medical science liaison programs related to herbal medicine. She is a program designer, Advanced Practice Nurse psychotherapist, author and historian, herbalist, and inspirational trainer known for her pioneering work in nurse-herbalism, her Elements of Care™ system of integrative health, Science of Energy Flow® foot reflexology, and health culture diplomacy. She is the award-winning author of Herbal Diplomats, six other books and numerous professional articles. Dr. Libster is the Founder and Creative Director of Golden Apple Healing Arts and Golden Apple Publications. She has been inspired by people and plants her whole life, surprising her family at age 3 when she asked for artichokes for her birthday dinner! Dr. Libster was first introduced to healing plants by her grandfather and mother. The principles of herbal medicine-making that she learned early in life have been the foundation for her work in translational caring science and the art of nursing. Dr. Libster comes from a long lineage of healthcare reformers and is always seeking innovative ways to provide the best, most cost effective, and simplest ways for achieving sustainable health.
In 1997, Dr. Libster worked with Health Decisions International, a pioneer in the telehealth industry founded by Dr. Don Vickery, a National Institutes of Health researcher and author of the best-selling book Take Care of Yourself. As a university professor of nursing for 15 years, she has taught health professionals and created numerous centers and programs focused on the promotion of Self-care, informed health decisions, and making mindful choices about everything from surgeries and pharmaceutical regimens to long-term care to supplements and alternative or complementary therapies. Dr Libster is an international authority on the restructuring of health systems to incorporate indigenous knowledge, specifically traditional beliefs and practices in botanical medicine. She integrates consumer health and Self-care with biomedical cares and health research utilization. Her health culture diplomacy work came naturally to her as she began her professional life in the healing arts by simultaneously training in nursing and traditional German foot reflexology with topical herbal and essential oil applications. The focus of her writing and speaking is Self-care as a first and foundational step toward health, which she defines as the “cumulative product of our daily quest for balance between effort and energy flow as we provide service to humanity.”
Dr. Libster’s passion for the study of energy flow began at age seven during her training as a professional dancer in the American modern dance tradition known as the Denishawn. Her unique and highly intuitive approach to consultation and teaching is a result of the integration of her love of the science of vibrational healing, expressive arts therapies, and spiritual teachings east and west. Dr. Libster offers her clients and students a rich experience in the harmony of eastern and western health culture gained over the years from her time as a Denishawn-trained then Japanese dancer with the first Sachiyo Ito Dance Company in 1981, her family roots in medical missionary work in China, and more than 25 years integrating traditional Chinese herbal medicine with high-technology nursing care. Her dance-movement background has made her particularly adept at non-verbal communication with infant to elders!
Dr. Libster is perhaps best known for her extensive repertoire of botanical science-based Simple Solutions in Self-Care as well as her memorable stories of her encounters with powerful healing plants. As a historian and healer, she embodies traditional wisdom that the “medicine is in the story.” In her book publications, she draws her readers into her unique plant perspective and the integrative insights she has drawn from her ongoing partnership with plants that she incorporates in her biomedical and nursing care, self-care education programs, clinical practice, and broader health policy work and system reform.
Dr. Libster has received awards for her research, teaching, and writing and has served as associate and guest editor for a number of academic journals. She has been guest speaker for institutions, such as the World Health Organization, the Royal College of Nursing, the United States Botanic Garden and numerous professional associations, public events, and botanic gardens around the world. She is an improvisational poet who can sum up any meeting or event in an endnote that delights and amazes! Dr. Libster is Founder and Director of the Bamboo Bridge Global Tea House educational events and world cafés for health professionals, indigenous and traditional wisdom keepers, and the public who would solve tough health problems through building caring community. Current Tea House topics are cannabis policy concerns, chronic pain and the opiate/opioid crisis, over-prescription in young children for disruptive behavior, dementia prevention, and teen suicide.