taproot medicine

honoring the connection between people and plants

about taproot medicine...

strong woman syrup

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.  

I make medicine from my heart, with specific people in mind, and gratitude for the offering of the plants.  This is my religion:  Pay attention and give respect to the earth, the body, the heart.  When we are close to the earth, we are close to our selves.  We all know this…earth body, human body.  This medicine is real, made by my hands, made for this community.  I’m not interested in selling you something you don’t need, or participating in the destructive capitalist structure.  I do not ship it far away, I make it right here for the people surrounding the Bay.  I am doing an alchemical dance in the kitchen when I make this medicine, watching plants melt into liquid to be sweetened with bee nectar and transformed into delicious food that has a hint of magic about it.  When you take it, make space in your body for the plants to enter—one deep breath usually does the trick.

in good medicine,

frieda kipar bay

owner, medicine maker


what is an herbal syrup?

A simple herbal syrup is a preparation of herbs decocted in water, with a sweetener added.  Most commercial syrups out there tend towards using refined sugars for this process, so always look on the label and check out what’s in there.  We use local honey, heated slightly to keep the living enzymes well, alive.  That said, we also add in lots of other ingredients, like molasses (thank you for that iron) and spirulina (thank you ocean).  Because we aren’t making a simple syrup here (which has a shelf life of 1-2 years), we like to keep it refrigerated.

How is it made?

Taproot medicine is made with care and attention, in small batches (and we mean small), by the hands of a mother, herbalist, and artist.
Enter the kitchen.
Put on your favorite apron.
Wash your hands, slow and steady, preparing for alchemy.
Pots, herbs, scales, wooden bowls, and filtered water all come out to play.
Dancing with the grinder helps the seeds break down, spooning out the raspberry leaf leaves a sweet floral smell behind.
Herbs go in wooden bowls to be weighed, then into sturdy pots that leave the arms feeling strong.
Filtered water and a stir with the “witches wand”, and we’re ready for a flame.

Waiting.  Herbs releasing their essence takes time.

(still, waiting.)

Finally, press out the water—a deep deep chocolate color, smelling astringent and sweet.  Squeeze every last drop out, it all wants to be medicine.
Add honey, gently, while thanking the bees for their miracle.
Mix in the final touches that change the color from deep earthy red to dark green to brown, and bottle with gratitude.
Gratitude for the willingness of water, the wisdom of the plants, the opportunity to make something beautiful.
Bottle in dark glass, label every one.

Where do you get your ingredients?

We believe that transparency should be the first priority in making any product for someone else.  Here is the list of suppliers we support, that you support in buying these syrups.

Pacific Botanicals (for herbs we don’t harvest ourselves—these guys are the best!)
Wholesome Organic Molasses
Gipson’s Golden Honey
E.D. Luce (bottles and caps)
E.D. Kundsen

questions that come up…

Where can I get your medicine?
Please visit the locations page for that info.

Are these syrups appropriate for people with food sensitivities?
That depends.  Please read the ingredients, and figure out what’s right for you.  It is gluten free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and organic (where applicable).  If you are still unsure, please contact me.  It is full of goodness, plants, bee nectar, and love.

do you ship?

why don’t you ship?
It’s very expensive, not energy-efficient,  and generates a lot of waste.  I like to keep things as local as possible.

Will you hand deliver a bottle to me?
No joke, it’s been asked.  The answer is probably not.  If you just had a baby and you are on my beaten path, maybe.  But please, respect my time and boundaries, and don’t ask.

I have _______ health issue.  Should I take this medicine?
Please come see me on one of my low-cost clinic days to find out.  Otherwise, you must be the judge of whether or not this medicine is something that your body needs to be well, to re-balance, or to heal.

Is it a tincture?
No.  This is a *sweet* medicine, with honey as the base.  There is a small amount of brandy in the adult syrups, but not enough to taste.

Does it need to be refrigerated?
Yes.  Honey can ferment if it heats up.  If you don’t have a fridge, keep it somewhere consistently cool.  If it ferments, it changes the medicine, but it’s still ‘safe’ to drink, if you are interested in experimenting…

Why is it SO sweet?
To extract constituents from plants, herbalists traditionally either use alcohol, vinegar, honey, or water.  This medicine is as sweet as it is to both extract and preserve without additives or chemicals, using honey and water extraction.  The result is a traditional herbal syrup.

Can you make a special bottle for me without the sweetness?
I’m sorry, but it’s not possible.  It may just not be your medicine.  You can always dilute it though, if natural sugars are okay in your diet…

What’s the sludge at the bottom of the bottle?
That’s the spirulina that doesn’t dissolve in water.  If you shake your bottle before you use it each time, there won’t be any sludge left at the end.  If you forget, add water and pour the sludge into your tea or something.  Don’t let that goodness go to waste!

Is this medicine safe?
Yes.  And, I am trusting you to be tuned into your body enough to know if this is the right medicine for you.  I am also trusting that if you have specific conditions, you will be educated about what’s okay for you to have and what’s not.  Essentially, this medicine is made with many people in mind.  It is effective, yet gentle.  It is formulated to bring more harmony and balance to most bodies…but cannot be for every body.  I suggest you think of it as food, try it, and trust that you will know if it’s not good for you.  Kind of like onions.  For most, it’s a healthy and powerful food, but not all.
I like to use this question often: “would your mother’s mother’s mother take it?”  If most of us go 3 generations back, we find ancestors that embodied a more natural and holistic way of living.

Is it good for kids?
The Wellness Syrup is formulated with kids in mind.
The Strong Woman Syrup is formulated for menstruating women, but if you have a child with iron-deficiency, you can offer them this medicine at a child dose.  Many children have had positive results.
The Stabilizing Syrup is not appropriate for young children.

do you re-use old bottles?
I want to make sure the syrup gets to you in tip top shape, so I do not re-use old bottles for syrup.  However, I am more than happy to take bottles back from you and re-use them in my home apothecary and classes.  If you like, please keep them for your oils, small seeds, and concoctions.  The dark glass is very protective to whatever goes in.

Do you need an intern or apprentice?
Sometimes!  send inquiries to info@taprootmedicine.org

Do you diagnose or see people clinically?
Yes, please visit the Offerings page to find out more about my clinical practice.