Herbal Support for Stress and Trauma: Part 2, Adaptogens

Adaptogens are some of our best herbal allies to help ourselves cope with chronic stress.  Adaptogens are herbs that help increase the body’s ability to adapt to all kinds of stressors: physical, emotional, environmental, social, and biological. Adaptogens help build the body’s resistance and reliance to stress by supporting the nervous, immune and endocrine systems. They help to increase the body’s strength, stamina, vitality and immunity. Many adaptogens have been considered supreme herbal tonics in the cultural systems from which they come.  For example, reishi mushroom was considered in ancient China to… Read More

Herbal Support for Stress and Trauma, Part 1: Nervines

Herbal nervines are herbs that support, strengthen and nourish the nervous system. They can help with stress, shock, tension, pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia and other nervous systems disorders. Nervines are great herbal allies to support our bodies during acute or chronic stress. They also help the body, mind and heart to heal from stress and trauma.

Dreaming with Plants

By Atava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG) Here at Ancestral Apothecary two of our favorite subjects to explore are medicinal plants and healing dreams.  As an herbalist and a dreamer, it has been thrilling for me to discover the ways in which the world of plants and the world of dreams intersect. I have trained myself and my students and clients to pay close attention to a plant that shows up in a dream.   Plants that appear in dreams can be prescriptive, instructive or even direct transmitters of healing energy. Plant communication… Read More

Tips to Connect to your Dream Medicine

Our healing gifts and talents are not limited to what we do while we are awake. Every night, each of us has a chance to tune into our dreams and develop our capacity to be a dreamer. Everyone’s dream medicine is unique.

Remembering Our Ancestral Medicine, Part One

By Atava Garcia Swiecicki, MA, RH (AHG) Remembering our Herbal Ancestors One of the most important aspects of Cecemmana, our nine-month herbal training program, is the Ancestral Medicine Project.  For this assignment, each student researches and presents about one aspect of healing that comes from their ancestral lineage.  For example, their project may be about herbs, foods, music, mythology or cultural ceremonies.  For their presentations, my students have shared rituals, recipes, songs, folk tales and personal stories. The class presentations reflect the diverse cultural backgrounds of my students.  They have shared ancestral… Read More

Elderberry Medicine!

European elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a time-honored folk remedy for good health. Elderberries have traditionally been made into wine, brandy and cordials.  Folks made their elderberry medicine in the late summer and sipped it throughout the winter. Recently, science has discovered that elderberries protect the cell wall against viral attack. That means they can help to protect your body against any virus, including H1N1. A species of Elderberry, sambucus mexicana, is native to California.  I planted an elderberry tree in my yard four years ago.  This year my tree is giving me… Read More

Featured Class: Herbal Allies

Over ten years ago, I developed the first version of Herbal Allies with a class called Plants as Spiritual Allies.  Modern herbalism often focuses on the physical healing qualities of plants and I wanted to create an herbal class that gave space to learning the emotional and spiritual healing properties of plants. From an indigenous science perspective, plants are not only alive, but they also have spirit and intelligence.  As modern people, we have much to learn from our plant relatives.  The first step for many of us is learning how to… Read More

Fall Schedule of Classes 2016 & More

Download our Fall 2016 Schedule of Classes:  fall schedule of classes 2016 AA front  

People’s Community Medics Training

On Sunday, our Cecemmana herbal students had a great training with Shareena and Leslie from the People’s Community Medics of Oakland.   Many times in brown and black neighborhoods there is a delay in the arrival of EMT’s after injury or violence in the community.  Shareena and Leslie founded this organization as a response to the 2009 murder of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale Bart Station in Oakland,  whose medical care was delayed 20 minutes due to racist infrastructure in the police force. These women train community members to be first responders… Read More

Cecemmana weekend herb walk

              Cecemmana, our nine month herbal training program meets during the first weekend of each month.  This past weekend started with an herb walk led by Kara Sigler at Briones.  Our students learned how to identify local plants and wildflowers.  There was also plenty of time to sit and meditate with the plants. Sticky money flower is a local wildflower.  As a flower essence it can be used to clear fear we hold in our second chakra, specifially fear around intimacy and sexuality.