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Ancestral Apothecary school is dedicated to the study of herbal, folk and indigenous medicine.  We are committed to creating a multi-cultural learning community for the study of herbal medicine, which honors the diverse cultural healing traditions of the Bay Area.

Ancestral Apothecary is the prayer and dream of Atava Garcia Swiecicki.  Atava has been studying holistic healing and herbal medicine for over twenty-five years.  She is inspired by the healing traditions of her Mexican, Polish, Hungarian and Diné (Navajo) ancestors and has been trained by western herbalists, indigenous healers and Mexican curanderas.

Atava began teaching herbal medicine classes out of her home in Oakland in 1997.  She was inspired to share her love for plants with her community. She realized that teaching people a few basic herbal skills could make a huge difference in people’s health and wellness.

Over the years her classes grew in size and length until one day Atava realized that her business had transformed into a school, which she renamed Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk and Indigenous Medicine.   Her vision was to create an educational center where people from many different cultures could come together share their herbal knowledge and ancestral medicine.

The first regular ongoing classes at Ancestral Apothecary were the Curandera’s Toolkit and Herbal Allies.  As time passed, we added more class offerings and brought in more teachers. After much demand from our students, in 2016 we launched Cecemmana, our nine-month herbal training program.

Currently Ancestral Apothecary offers dozens of classes per year, has an amazing team of teachers, and has trained hundreds of students.  

16 Comments on “OUR STORY

  1. I am interested in this online herbal class. Will it teach how to make herbal medicinal medicine? Will it teach me how to find these herbs in the wild? How much does the program cost? How long is the program? How much time does the program require? Is it online?


    • Jennifer: we do not offer an online herbal class. All of our classes are in person and listed on the class page. They are different lenghts and different costs. The next upcoming class is Herbal Allies which starts on April 4th.


  2. Hello. How can I apply to the school, this is exactly what I have been searching for, expecting your reply as soon as possible thank you.


  3. I would like to become a herbalist interested n all the classes you have to offer


  4. Hello. I’m interested in attending this school. I came to the location started on google maps but it doesn’t seem like that’s the right address. I’d like to know when I can register and possible prerequisites. Or just a day I can meet with one of you in person and ask some questions. 4158495311


  5. Hello, I am very interested, may I please have information on your classes and prices


    • Thanks for your interest! You can find all the information about our classes and prices on the “Classes, Trainings & Retreats” section on our website.


  6. Hello Erin, my name is Maria Garcia, I have filled out an application for the Cecemmana 1 year training on line 2 months ago and I never received an answer, can you call me please my number is 510-219-4489. Thank you Erin


    • Hi Maria – thanks for reaching out! We don’t have a record of your Cecemmana application. I just left you a voicemail. Looking forward to connecting. Erin


    • Here are some!

      Body into Balance, An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by Maria Noel Groves

      Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar

      Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore

      Life in the Medicine by Leslie Gardner

      Working the Roots, Michelle Lee


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