School Personnel

 School Staff

  1. Director, Curandero:  Charles R. Garcia
  2. Assistant, Curandera: Lori Pino
  3. Apprentice: Ash Ritter

 Supporting Staff


Charles R. Garcia

The Director and Primary Instructor of the school, Charles is a third-generation curandero, having learned much of his skills from his mother, Martha Garcia (who passed in 2001 at the age of 84), who learned them from her father, Desidro Navarro. Charles treated and healed family, friends, and colleagues for almost two decades before going public with his herbal practice in the 1990s. He continues to treat physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses in the Hispanic and Anglo communities of Northern California. He does not charge the sick or those in need continuing a family tradition.

Charles R. Garcia has lectured on Hispanic Herbalism for over a decade at venues large and small, formal and impersonal, including:

    Charles Garcia herbwalk 13may2012

    image: whiteboard cleavers and passion flower

  • University of California Berkeley Joint Medical Program
  • UC Berkeley Urban Botany Program
  • California State University at San Marcos
  • Oakland office of the American Red Cross
  • San Francisco Community Healthcare Consortium
  • On Lok Healthcare Services of San Francisco
  • San Francisco office of AmeriCorp
  • Sonoma County Herb Festival
  • Wilderness Medical Society meetings
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • UC Davis
  • 2004 Wellness Fair at the University of San Francisco
  • Future of Medicine Conference at California State University San Francisco.
  • Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park
  • University of California School of Nursing
  • UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
  • California Institute for Integral Studies
  • CIIS round table on the Future of Alternative Medicine
  • Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills (MAPS) gatherings in Virginia and Maryland
  • 2008 Latino Cancer Survivor's Conference, Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center Inc. in Hayward California.
  • Maryland Survivalist and Primitive Skills Association
  • Breitenbush Herbal Conference in Oregon
  • Herbal Resurgence in the Coconino Forest in Arizona
  • Red Cross Wilderness First Responders
  • Montana Herb Gathering in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
  • Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference in New Mexico
  • Medicine of the People Conference in Arizona
  • Herbal Resurgence Rendezvous in Arizona
  • HerbFolk Gathering in Arizona
  • RadHerbfest deep in the Mojave in Arizona
  • California Historical Society
  • Woodward Park Regional Library
  • Harmony Hut Healing Arts Cooperative
  • Five Flavors Herbs in Oakland
  • Milagros de México in Oakland

For three years Charles wrote a weekly newspaper column, "Herbs In Our Lives", anda bi-weekly herbal column for the Sierra Mountain Times. He wrote a chapter on herbal first aid for the textbook Wilderness Emergency Care by Steve Donelan, basee on his lectures to the Red Cross Wilderness First Responders.

Charles also served as a consultant for America's Most Wanted on the topic of Hispanic witchcraft. He has been interviewed on public radio stations in Berkeley and New York City. He was a guest on the local (Channel 4) television gardening program KRON's HENRY'S GARDEN, and Jackie Chin's Zombiepalooza Radio: Dead Again on He was profiled on NPR's Latino USA and KQED's California Report.

Charles attended classes at the Pacific School of Herbalism in Oakland California, where he still maintains a close association with the director, Adam Seller. He recommends Adam's classes for those who desire to learn a strong western-based medium of herbal healing.

Charles considers his style of teaching and philosophy of herbal healing as minimalist. If you can make a fire, get a pot of water simmering, find herbs in your back yard, your neighbors lawn, a city park, an empty lot, in a mountain meadow, or in the middle of the desert, you can aid the sick. The unofficial motto of the school is, "is est non silicis scientia." (It is not rocket science.)

This does not mean to suggest that his advanced courses are easy; ask any of his students.

His students and clientele reflect the bay area in all its diversity. On any given day or night he might be found treating the homeless, lecturing at a medical school, making soup for an HIV or cancer patient, or treating an elderly women's cat for pink eye. (Ask him about that case sometime!)

On his off time, Charles enjoys growing roses, cooking, writing poetry, gardening, cheesy Sci-Fi movies, watching the television series HOUSE,  reading Robert B. Parker mysteries and camping in the Sierra while searching for medicinal plants. He has published a down-load  novel of fantasy and survival entitled Forever Faire which has garnered good reviews. He is currently writing a sequel.

co-director, curandera

Lori Pino

picture Lori Conwell Pino 2013 Lori began her involvement with the school as a TA and official apprentice. In April 2013, Lori was promoted to Special Projects Manager for the California School of Traditional Hispanic Herbalism. A curandera since 2014, she has a strong interest in all aspects of Traditional Hispanic Herbalism. In January 2017, Lori became full co-director for the school.

Lori has accompanied Charles to all the conferences since 2011, and will continue to do so. Lori attended the 2011 and 2012 Traditions in Western Herbalism Conference in Arizona, the 2012 Montana Herb Gathering, and the Herbal Resurgence Conference in Arizona in 2013, all with Charles.

picture Lori ready to de-hide February 2013 Lori attended the US. Military Academy at West Point after growing up as an Air Force kid. As a girl, she spent time in Texas and knew several astronauts. She is an accomplished fighter with a bowie and tomahawk, as witnessed by several people during demonstrations at Herbfests. Here she is preparing to de-hide at the Sierra Herbfest.

While fun for demonstrations, Lori practices other skills in daily life: Healing, education, and art occupy most of her attentions. Come to classes to share Lori's knowledge, or get a sneak peek at her art on the Herbal Shop page.

picture: lori's art show booth 6-6-2014Lori renfaire october 2015



Ash Ritter October 2014 and 2016

Ash Ritter, originally from Southern California, is a child of the sea and desert, having spent time on boats and walks in the desert near Ojai.

The California School of Traditional Hispanic Herbalism welcomed Ash as its new Apprentice in October 2014. Typical for apprentices, some of Ash's first duties included planting herbs for the school.

In 2015 Ash became the school's official gardener and assistant jam maker. She attended her first herbal conference with Chuck and Lori that September 2015 and came away with a flame of herbal determination in her soul. 

Prior to joining the school, Ash worked for the well-known San Francisco herbalist Joshua Muscat, founder and director of the San Francisco Botanical Medicine Clinic and Information Center. (Joshua Muscat and Charles Garcia have been friends since they met at the Pacific School of Herbal Medicine over twenty years ago.)

Ms. Ritter has a gypsy soul, and her education in herbal healing is benefitting from this. Both Charles and Lori Pino contribute to her training.

webmaster, technical advisor


Roane and Ice dog western style

Roane was invited to visit the school in 2000, shortly after its inception, and quickly joined as its Scribe, keeping records of classes (including student comments), in person and sometimes remotely via Skype or Google Hangout.

A Human Factors Engineer with a Master's Degree, and an Associate's degree in Web Development, Roane moved into the Webmaster role in April 2013. She organized and updated the school's first site, creating our first catalog of classes, index of plants, and online archives of articles.

Roane and her service dogs, Ice and Toofie, grow an organic garden with a chaos of raspberries, chives, mints, balms, roses, yarrow, chamomile, marjoram, lavenders, bleeding heart, and other useful herbs. When you write to the Webmaster, Roane will reply within a few days.

In 2015, Roane was given the additional title of Technical Advisor, in appreciation for keeping the technical and e-business end of the school running remotely. In truth, Lori Pino does more to keep the tech end up at home, so they happily share the award.

supporting cast

Contributing Canines

service dog in training


Rescued from a cardboard box in an abandoned building, Blanquito joined the school in November 2014, and is a devoted student. An adorable lab mix, Blanquito is the school's dog-in-residence.

Blanquito 6 monthsblanquito 08dec2014

service dog full time

Ice Dog

ice 8-10-13ice 12-9-2014

Ice Dog supports the school from afar, and attends classes whenever she can. Always ready to lend a steadying presence when out walking, Ice Dog looks forward to every visit she gets to the school.

school e-mail:

        (510) 672 7849

Please leave clear phone messages. Do not rush through your request. Your call will be returned in time.