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About

clinical herbalist veronica ricksen

Hey! I’m Veronica, creator of Kapu, a holistic care company for women.

I’m a practicing clinical Western herbalist, graduating from Berkeley Herbal Center's 4-year clinical herbalism program.

I'm a women's health educator, speaking at apothecaries in the Bay Area helping to dismantle the cultural taboos surrounding the menstrual cycle and fertility. 

I love making things that don't yet exist, but ought to. I started by making pelvic / yoni steam stools in 2017 (since then have retired as there are now many of these on the market), then self-published my Menstrual Calendar Journal in 2018, and also offer organic Herbal Skin Care.

I'm currently enrolled in a 2 year teacher training program to become a certified Fertility Awareness and Sexual Health Educator recognized by AFAP, the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals. 

Kapu (which means taboo or sacred in Hawaiian - scroll down to learn more) is dedicated to supporting women who want to live in tune with nature and their bodies.

XXo, Veronica

Still curious? Here's some other tidbits abut me:

I live in the East Bay of CA with my husband, Mark, my newborn baby boy, Kai, and my two kitties, Luna and Louie. I love hiking around all our local hills, creating new herbal skin care concoctions in my kitchen, working with clients, and teaching about the menstrual cycle. 

Favorite Herb: Chamomile

Favorite number: 8 (my birthdate is 8/8/88)

Most proud of: Creating the Menstrual Calendar Journal: Track your cycle, change your life

Favorite shows: I love Lucy, Sex and the City, Golden Girls 

Favorite Food: Soup! Any and all kinds of soup. Also, I’m a mint chip ice cream connoisseur and am always on the hunt for the best, most minty flavor! Any brand recommendations? Please send my way! 

Catalyst to becoming an herbalist: Being a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, South America. It began with my host mom teaching me about the medicinal plants that grew in our yard, and piqued when I befriended a 90+ year old man who taught me how he stayed so healthy-- boiled toad bones (like bone broth) and herbs!

When I returned to the states, I enrolled in a 4-year clinical herbalism program at the Berkeley Herbal Center becoming a trained clinical Western herbal practitioner and educator. Interested in having an herbal consultation with me? Get in touch here!

Any other questions about me, just ask! 

ka∙pu | ˈkäpō | noun

Taboo or Sacred.

A set of rules and prohibitions for everyday life. 

(in Hawaiian traditional culture and religion) 

I value the word "Kapu" in this capacity: this word recognizes that something can be sacred, and still taboo, much like women's health has been throughout the world's most modern history. Kapu seeks to keep women's reproductive parts and holistic health every bit as sacred as it always has been, with less of the taboo quality.

 

Kapu

Kapu, pronounced kah-puh, is a Hawaiian word, meaning Taboo or Sacred among its much broader history and meaning. Kapu were rules that guided the Hawaiians in their way of life, but ended in 1819 as it did not treat women fairly. I’m not native to Hawaii, yet I chose Kapu to represent the essence of this company. I do this with respect for the indigenous Polynesian people who created this word in their language, respect for the people who have Hawaiian ancestry, and respect for Hawaii Herself. As a woman born in California in the 1980’s, I’ll never fully grasp the concept of Kapu as I did not live in the time nor place where the law of the land was Kapu. But, I value the word in this capacity: it recognizes that something can be sacred, and still taboo, much like women's health topics have been throughout the world’s most modern history. I seek to keep women's health every bit as sacred as it always has been, with less of the taboo quality. These are my own thoughts, and have no bearing on what Kapu actually meant for Hawaiian people. This all brings me to my next point, cultural appropriation. 

Cultural Appropriation

I can not run this business without addressing Cultural Appropriation, meaning the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not one’s own, especially without showing an understanding or respect for this culture. Cultural appropriation happens all over the world, but I’d say especially in the United States. As a melting pot with diverse ethnicities, ease of travel, and globalization, we often take other people’s customs and adopt them as our own. Many everyday items-- the clothing styles in our closet, the foods we cook, alternative medicines, etc.--stem from other cultures’ customs and traditional knowledge. I think this is actually wonderful and makes living that much more colorful and exciting, but only when respect and credit is given to the culture where it came from. For example, your new favorite tea, spice, body-movement, etc.,- where did it originate from? This opens the door for better cross-cultural understanding, more opportunities to learn, and dare I say-- world peace?! So whenever I introduce a new product or service, when relevant, I will always talk about the country and culture it originated from. 

Women

When asked by a business mentor, “Who are your products and services for?” I answered, “Women of course!” She replied, “Well, is it only for women who have vaginas and identify as a woman? Or for women who have vaginas, but identify with the masculine gender? Or for women who only call their reproductive parts vaginas?” This line of questioning continued further; Her point being that there are many people all over the world that identify as being a woman, but may not have been born with the reproductive system in which my products, such as the Menstrual Calendar are intended for and marketed to. She said I needed to be clear about who my audience is. I replied, “I started this business because I just want women to feel good about themselves. Can’t it just be that simple?” She said, “Well, that’s the premise of privilege in the first place, is that it can be that simple for you, but it’s not that simple for everyone.” I understood what she meant. It’s simple for me because I’ve never had to think twice about it. I was born with a vagina, I identify with the female gender, and these two facts fit in to society’s expectations of “normal.” But it is not this way for everyone, and I want to be inclusive and understanding of everyone’s unique life experiences. With that being said, the Menstrual Calendar and the majority of my offerings are / will be intended for those who have wombs. 

Any questions? Please reach out! veronica@kapu.community