Frieda Kipar Bay is an herbalista and medicine maker working in Sonoma County. Thrive is honored to sell her medicine and has a deep trust in it’s ability to support and sustain families. A little from frieda’s website: “Taproot Medicine began with my deepest friend, pregnant with her first child, needing a little iron boost. I concocted a (mighty) tasty syrup packed with iron, and watched how tiny sips off the bottle fortified my dear friend during pregnancy. Word spread, and more bottles were made for mothers and menstruating women alike. As each new person took a sip, I witnessed smiles broaden and breath deepen. It’s this human response that has lead me to offer my medicine more widely, and enter this sticky world of selling some ‘thing’ to someone else. I called that stuff “strong woman syrup”, in honor of that deepest friend, the strongest woman I know.”
Below is an interview with frieda about her medicine, motivation, and tips on staying connected with the plant world. We hope you enjoy her wisdom and can come in soon to sample her syrups!
Kelly Gray, Director of Perinatal Education at Thrive
Kelly: Tell me about your syrups and how they might benefit our growing families at Thrive?
Frieda: This medicine was formulated with the birthing mama and healthy child in mind. The Strong Woman Syrup directly effects iron levels in the body–which is so important for growing a baby–and is also made with plants that nourish and tone all the systems of the body. hawthorn to calm the heart, marshmallow for a juicy gut, milk thistle to support the liver, I could go on and on. It’s the kind of medicine that pretty much jumped out of my hands the moment I made it, and I just continue to follow it around as it finds it’s way into others’ hands.
The wellness syrup was formulated as my son started gnawing on the shopping cart handle, and I thought about how many other grubby little kids did the same thing. This formula builds immunity and provides some deep nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins C, B, and A. It’s also got as much apple cider vinegar that I can get in it, which my grandma used for everything and anything. It’s so good for the compromised or developing immune system, and I use it as the sole sweetener for my young child. It’s food medicine!
Kelly: One of the things that really strikes me about your medicine is how good they taste- what type of feedback do you get from kids?
Freida: The main reason this stuff works is because people take it. Medicine doesn’t have to taste good, but it’s so much more effective when it does. Most kids love this stuff and require some surveillance with how often they reach for it. The only kids I’ve had who don’t like it are 8-10ish year olds, who have been less exposed to alternative sweeteners or herbs. I think it’s a good idea to get kid’s pallets tuned to herbs, it makes them better medicine takers overall.
Kelly: Do you have any tips for parents who are looking to further their children’s relationship with dirt and the plant world?
Frieda: Be not afraid of the natural world! get on your belly, take your shoes off, pick up the earthworm…model for your children how good it feels to be woven into the earth, not just living on top of it. I think the wisdom of being in “touch” with the earth goes deeper that we can know.
Kelly: When I was looking at your website, I noticed your commitment to selling your medicine locally for local people. Why is this important to you and has this created any particular challenges or benefits?
Frieda: It just doesn’t feel right to ship my medicine to people when there’s so many of us right here! It also feels good to let this medicine be local, not pushing it or trying to extend it beyond where it’s made. You can’t just get the Pacific Ocean shipped to the Ozarks, just because people want it, and I feel the same way about this plant medicine. I do routinely have to turn people away who want to order from the east coast, but I feel like it’s an important statement to make in support of local community.
Kelly: I have a bottle of your Strong Women Syrup in my refrigerator and it might be one of my favorite things in there. On the bottle, it encourages you to take a deep breath and make room for the plants entering your body. Can you tell me more about this and how this works?
Frieda: My first herb teacher, Gail Julian, told me that you’ve got to make space in your body for the medicine to enter. For me, this means clearing my mind for a moment, settling my nervous system, maybe even letting the image of the actual plants come into view. Just like food–it tastes so much better when I slow down and let all my senses be a part of the experience!