9 Month Herbal Training


Cecemmana/Planting Seeds

Year One: Fundamentals of Herbal Medicine 2021

Cecemmana is a Nahuatl word that means to sprinkle and plant seeds on the earth. This program is dedicated to planting seeds in our diverse communities for future herbalists. This 300 hour training provides students a solid foundation in the art, science & spirituality of herbal medicine from a multi-cultural perspective.

Due to the pandemic, we are currently dreaming up what this program will look like. We are planting the seeds so that this program will become possible potentially in March of 2021. If you are interested in receiving updates on Cecemmana 2021, please submit the form below.

Much gratitude to the founder of Cecemmana and Ancestral Apothecary School, Atava Garcia Swiecicki and founding Cecemmana teachers, Elokin Orton-Cheung, Tracey Brieger and Kara Siegler.

Cecemmana / Planting Seeds

Year One: Fundamentals of Herbal Medicine 2020

Cecemmana is a Nahuatl word that means to sprinkle and plant seeds on the earth. This program is dedicated to planting seeds in our diverse Bay Area communities for future herbalists. This 300 hour training will provide students a solid foundation in the art, science & spirituality of herbal medicine from a multi-cultural perspective.

The focus of Cecemmana is to help students build a strong relationship with the plants; and to also support them to develop an intimate and healing relationship with their own bodies. We will cover the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of herbalism and healing. Class time will include lecture, class discussions, medicine making, herbal gardening, herb walks, field trips, and small group apprenticeship. Class projects include a long term study of one herbal ally, and researching and presenting a project for each student’s ancestral medicine.

Cecemmana will give our students the skills to work with herbal medicine for themselves and their family. This is not a clinical herbalist training program. The American Herbalist Guild requires 1600 hours of training to become a certified professional herbalist. In this way, what we are offering is a first step for those who wish to achieve that. Our curriculum will provide a solid foundation for those who wish to continue their herbal education and train to be a clinical herbalist.

Our curriculum will include 250 hours of core classes and additional classes in special topics. These 250 hours are either taught or supervised by our core or adjunct faculty. In addition, there will be 50 hours of independent work in which students will be gardening, volunteering, or working on school projects.

Core teachers: Atava Garcia Swiecicki, Abi Huff, Angela Angel, Francine Madrid, Myrna Cabán Lezcano

Core classes:

  • Materia Medica
    • Herbal Allies
    • Herbal Energetics
  • Herb walks & field identification
  • The Elemental Body (an embodied study of our body systems)
    • Health & wellness
    • Anatomy & Physiology
    • Nutrition
  • Medicine Making
    • Pharmacy building
  • Gardening/botany (class time + field work)
  • Small group apprenticeship

Additional Classes:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Ayurveda
  • Curanderismo
  • Herbal practices of the African Diaspora
  • Street medic training & emergency herbalism
  • Herbs & astrology
  • Herbs and magic
  • Flower Essences
  • Aromatherapy

Independent hours:
Gardening & community service (25 hours)
Homework & class presentations (25 hours)

Cost: $3,750 + $250 materials fee — $4,000 total

Application due by Friday September 6th 2019

Deposit of $500 due by Friday November 1st 2019. Deposits are refundable ONLY when cancelled within 2 months of first class.

Early bird special: pay in full by 1/1/20 and receive $100 discount

Returning student discount: all returning students receive $50 discount

Partial scholarships are available to students of color. We are currently fundraising for our Cecemmana Student of Color Scholarship Fund and hope to raise enough money to offer students $200 – $500 in scholarship funds. Scholarship applications will be available soon.

Tuesday Schedule:

Dates: February 8th – December 8th 2020

Summer Break: July 1st – August 17th

Fall Session Resumes: August 18th

Beginning Weekend Intensive: February 8th & 9th

Tuesdays, 6pm – 9pm & first Saturday of the month 10am – 5pm

Monday Schedule:

Dates:  February 1st – December 14th 2020

Summer break:  June 23rd – August 16th

Fall session resumes August 17th

Beginning Weekend Intensive: February 1st & 2nd

Mondays, 10am – 1pm & first Sunday of the month 10am – 5pm

Field Trips: TBA

Locations: Ancestral Apothecary office; home office & garden; out in the field; community gardens.

*We are not doing payment plans at this time. If the class becomes full- we will add you to the waitlist in the order you submit your application. We will be raising money for our Student of Color Scholarship Fund and will make the scholarship applications available soon.

Access Information:

The classroom space is located up one flight of stairs. There is an alternate entrance available for folks who need it. Please contact us at the email below with your accessibility needs.

We ask folks to come free of perfumes, scented lotions, scented detergents, essential oils, and other scented products. While we strive to keep our space free from chemical scents, we share a building with others and are located above a nail salon. As an apothecary, there is regular use of smudging and essential oils in the space. Please contact us at the email below if you have concerns.

For more info contact:   ancestralapothecaryassistant@gmail.com

14 Comments on “9 Month Herbal Training

  1. Hello, Born and raised in Oakland ca, I am a tradition Mexican medicine practitioner in morgan hill ca. I am familiar with and use plants from traditionally used in Mexico, and would like to learn more about local medicinal plant. I have been studying under a curandera in Mexico for the past 4 years and travel there 2 times a year. I would like to know what kind of flexibility there is in your learning programs for an abcence as well as what class might be appropriate. My personal interest is in learning so that I might teach. Thank you, teresa


    • Hi Teresa,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I was away for much of December! We have several classes that cover herbal medicine. Either the Curandera’s Toolkit or Herbal Allies is a good start. The Toolkit is taught from a perspective of how plants are used in Curanderismo and Herbal Allies is more general. We also have a nine-month herbal training program that is called Cecemmana that begins in February. In all these classes we do teach about local plants as well as many other medicinal herbs.
      For Cecemmana, we ask that students attend 80% of the classes to get their certificates. For the other classes we encourage as much attendance as possible, but know that it is common for students to miss a few classes.
      We are having an Open House on Friday January 6th from 7-8:30, so please come by to learn more!
      Take care, Atava

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this. Can you please refer me to any similar training programs in the Los Angeles area? I would really love to gain the knowledge to heal and reconnect with my heritage. Thank you.


    • I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with what is available in LA. You might want to check out the list of herbal schools on the American Herbalist Guild website. (www.americanherbalistguild.com)


  3. Good Day Sir/Ma
    What is your prerequisite for someone from.Nigeria to attend your herbal school and graduate?
    Looking forward to hearing from you.



    • Hi Tony — thanks for your interest! We don’t have prerequisites for our year 1 Cecemmana program but we do have an application process. We’ll be offering the 9 month training again is 2020. If you have additional questions, you can email us at school@ancestralapothecary.com


  4. I would love to do the 9 month program, do you ever plan to offer it evening hours for those of us who cannot make it during the day.


    • We’re still working on the schedule for Cecemmana 2020 and we’re not sure if it’s going to be offered during the day or evenings. Email us at ancestralapothecaryassistant@gmail.com if you’d like to be on the list of interested folks for Cecemmana 2020 so you’ll be the first to know when we have the details settled.


  5. Can the cost be covered in installments or does it have to be paid all at once?


    • We don’t offer payment plans but we do offer scholarships for students of color. If you’re interested in being added to the list of folks interested, which we’ll send an email to when we have the details finalized, email ancestralapothecaryassistant@gmail.com.


      • Is this an online class…if not where is it located…Ames I’m interested in the scholarship as well for students of african or other ancestry


      • Thanks for your interest! It’s an in person class at our school located at 3798 Grand Ave. Oakland, CA. You can apply to the program at the link on this page. We’ve had an overwhelming amount of applicants for the 2020 program and, after receiving your application, we’ll reach out to you for an interview if there is space in the program. The scholarship application will be available to folks accepted into the program. You can email ancestralapothecaryassistant@gmail.com with any additional questions.


    • Thanks for reaching out! We have waitlists for both the Tuesday evening and Monday daytime class and registration is closed. You can email us at ancestralapothecaryassistant@gmail.com if you’d like to be on the list of folks interested in future Cecemmana classes.


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