Healer and herbalist Atava Garcia Swiecicki takes readers on a journey to reclaim the knowledge and power of Latinx folk traditions for everyday healing

BERKELEY, CALIF. — Atava Garcia Swiecicki, founder of Oakland’s Ancestral Apothecary, has dedicated her life to the study of curanderismo, a healing tradition rooted in Indigenous communities of the Latinx diaspora. Growing up a child of immigrants, Garcia Swiecicki lost much of her family’s healing practices to assimilation and colonialism. In her three-decade quest to piece together the fragments of her past, Garcia Swiecicki has sought wisdom from teachers, plants, dreams, and ancestors. Her debut book, The Curanderx Toolkit (on sale July 12) acts as a roadmap of resilience for those who have lost connection with their ancestral roots and those who are ready to reclaim them. 

“This book documents a healing movement led primarily by BIPOC women, queer, trans, and nonbinary folks,” says Garcia Swiecicki; “This book is a story of personal and collective healing. It is about remembering the precious knowledge that our ancestors left for us and learning how to apply that knowledge in our lives today for healing, transformation, community wellness, and social justice.”  

Whether through the practice of grounding, creating herbal tinctures, or quieting our minds to listen to our own intuition, this book helps us see that the tools for healing have always been just under our feet. The Curanderx Toolkit features more than twenty-five plant profiles designed to help readers incorporate ancient herbal wisdom into everyday life. 

Framed with breathtaking illustrations, poems, and medicinal recipes, you’ll dive headfirst into a historical healing practice that colonialism has too often tried to silence. Garcia Swiecicki draws upon the support of her ancestors, her teachings, and her gifts to ignite and empower the healer within us all. 

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About the Author

Atava Garcia Swiecicki is guided by her dreams and her Mexican, Polish, Hungarian, and Diné ancestors. She received a BA in feminist studies from Stanford University and a master’s 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 Tewa Pueblo territory in Albuquerque. Her personal website is, and the website for her school is

Praise for The Curanderx Toolkit

“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

“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. I want to assign this book in my undergraduate Decolonizing Spirit course as it can provide students with a practical guide and respectful entry into curanderismo and traditional healing.

SUSY ZEPEDA, author of Queering Mesoamerican Diasporas: Remembering Xicana Indígena Ancestries

“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, curandera and founder of Curanderismo, the Healing Art of Mexico

“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

“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

“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 entrypoint 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

The Curanderx Toolkit

Reclaiming Ancestral Plant Medicine and Rituals for Healing

by Atava Garcia Swiecicki

ON SALE JULY 12, 2022

304 pages, full-color illustrations and photos
ISBN: 978-1-59714-571-8

The Curanderx Toolkit by Atava Garcia Swiecicki