The Curanderx Toolkit: Reclaiming Ancestral Latinx Plant Medicine and Rituals for Healing

The Curanderx Toolkit: Reclaiming Ancestral Latinx Plant Medicine and Rituals for Healing
Paperback, 7 x 9, 304 pages.
ISBN: 9781597145718.

By Atava Garcia Swiecicki

Arranging ofrendas. Brewing pericón into a healing tea. Releasing traumas through baños and limpias. Herbalist and curandera Atava Garcia Swiecicki spent decades gathering this traditional knowledge of curanderismo, Mexican folk healing, which had been marginalized as Chicanx and Latinx Americans assimilated to US culture. She teaches how to follow the path of the curandera, as she herself learned from apprenticing with Mexican curanderas, studying herbal texts, and listening to her ancestors. In this book readers will learn the Indigenous, African, and European roots of curanderismo. Atava also shares her personal journey as a healer and those of thirteen other inspirational curanderas serving their communities. She offers readers the tools to begin their own healing—for themselves, for their relationship with the earth, and for the people. 

The Curanderx Toolkit includes more than 25 profiles of native and adopted plants of Baja and Alta California and teaches you to grow, know, and love them. This book will help anyone who has lost connection with their ancestors begin to incorporate the herbal wisdom and holistic wellness of curanderismo into their lives. Take the power of ancient medicine into your own hands by learning simple herbal remedies and practicing rituals for kinship with the more-than-human world. 


"As Garcia Swiecicki observes, the effects of white supremacist patriarchy are all but impossible to ignore, and as a result, space is being claimed during this cultural moment for traditions and ways previously sidelined, silenced and dismissed. This book is part of that important work." BookPage
"Centering women of color and queer, trans, and nonbinary lives, Swiecicki successfully demonstrates how to meld ancient wisdom with modern life, one in which fighting for justice is just what we do as part of our daily practice. [...] The volume is a showstopper with vibrant photos, drawings, and other images to help identify the vegetation she refers to." Karla Strand, Spirit Bound Press
"In Atava Garcia Swiecicki’s The Curanderx Toolkit she graciously offers thirteen medicinal chapters that each spotlight community healers who illuminate the heart of ancestrally rooted rituals, relationships, and recipes. This book is a gift to all curanderx on their path. It is full of wisdom, meditation, and guidance to remembering ancestral traditions and wellness ways of life. Through the voices of elders we receive original instructions on how to build right relations with plants and the earth. Swiecicki beautifully weaves her journey of growing with her garden while providing scientific and spiritual knowledge of the plants." Susy Zepeda, author of Queering Mesoamerican Diasporas: Remembering Xicana Indígena Ancestries
"I've always felt like I've been on the outside looking in on traditional healing practices. This book has deepened my understanding of herbal medicine and served as an affirming entry point to start investigating my personal healing lineage. If you are interested in reconnecting to earth medicine, yourself, and your ancestors, this is a wonderful place to start." Dalia Kinsey, author of Decolonizing Wellness: A QTBIPOC Guide to Escape the Diet Trap, Heal Your Self-Image, and Achieve Body Liberation
“From daily life to times of crisis, the ancestral plant wisdom in The Curanderx Toolkit will gracefully carry its readers through life. This is an inclusive and expansive guide for collective healing that many are searching for today." Almila Kakinc, author of The Thirlby: A Field Guide to a Vibrant Mind, Body, and Soul
“In her book The Curanderx Toolkit, Atava has revived a passion of mine: traditional medicine. I am so pleased that she has addressed herbal history and knowledge as well as medicine making, energetic/spiritual cleansings and many more topics dear to me. I congratulate Atava on reclaiming our traditional medicinal culture.” Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, author of Curanderismo: The Art of Traditional Medicine without Borders
"I had the good fortune to take Atava’s Curandera's Toolkit class in Oakland, California, many years back and it has transformed my understanding of the power of plant medicine. With this book, Atava is generously sharing her knowledge with an even wider community. This book is a gift to everyone who wants to deepen their connection to ancestral wisdom.” Catrióna Rueda Esquibel, co-author with Luz Calvo of Decolonize Your Diet: Plant-Based Mexican-American Recipes for Health and Healing
"Without love, gratitude, reciprocity, knowledge, and service to one’s community, a curanderx’s path is empty. The Curanderx Toolkit deeply embodies these principles and more. While there are books written that describe purification rituals without care for a reader’s lack of experience and the possibility that information shared in that manner could cause harm, Atava Garcia Swiecicki generously shares grounded ways of using curanderismo practices with care and discernment. This book guides readers to learn about and nurture deep relationships with herbal allies, and Atava teaches readers to reconnect with Indigenous healing practices and their own luminous nature in a way that honors the ancestors and the path of curanderismo as a way of life. It is good medicine.” Grace Alvarez Sesma, Cultural Practitioner / Curanderismo, the Healing Art of Mexico
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Categories Latinx Studies | Nature

About the Author

Atava Garcia Swiecicki

Atava Garcia Swiecicki

Atava Garcia Swiecicki is guided by her dreams and her Mexican, Polish, and Hungarian ancestors. She received a BA in feminist studies from Stanford University and a masters degree from the Indigenous Mind Program at Naropa University in Oakalnd. Atava has studied healing arts extensively for over thirty years and has been mentored by herbalists, curanderas, and traditional knowledge keepers. She works as a clinical herbalist and teacher. She is the founder of the Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk, and Indigenous Medicine on Ohlone territory in Oakland, and she currently lives in unceded Tewa Pueblo territory in the Southwest. Her personal website is, and the website for her school is

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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