Vaginal Food & Cuisine (Fall 2004 at All About My Vagina)
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Lily Fawn of Earth's Herbal

Lily Fawn in her fawn costume

Lily Fawn is the creator of Earth's Herbal and its entire, diverse line of tasty and medicinal herbal teas, aromatherapy and massage oils, tattoo care, and recently, personal pleasure products. She obviously knows her stuff and is enthusiastic about all her projects. She's a little hard to track down, as when she's not busy with business, she's apt to be engaged with her crazy rock band Hank & Lily or some other adventure. We had to reschedule our meeting once, due to a conflict with a roving zombie party. Seriously.

Would you like to start with when and how you got interested in herbs?

OK. When I was in high school, in grade 11, I got a night job in a health food store, and we weren't allowed to do homework or anything. It was at night, in a mall. We weren't allowed to do anything but work, which seemed weird to me, because there was no one there! So I just started reading all the books that we had on the shelf, and I couldn't believe it. It had never really dawned on me before that plants were medicine. I was coming from a household where most of the vegetables we ate were frozen, and… it just amazed me. Then I started working in the vitamin section of that health food store, and started trying things out. I just couldn't believe when I noticed them working! [laughs]

While I was in high school, I started taking some night classes on plants, and after high school I took full herbal studies, and it was great; it just blew my mind. I started studying a little bit of botany at Camosun College as well and the whole plant in general was just beautiful… So I think my favorite part about it was more the scientific aspect of the chemical constituents in the plant. It just was neat.

Do you have favorite herbal resources, or books?

Well, one of my all time favorite teachers is from Victoria, here, Carol McGrath. She teaches in town. She was really inspiring, a really smart and lovely lady. And, I've studied with Rosemary Gladstar, and David Hoffman, and Ryan Drum. These are all really great teachers, if that's helpful information. They're mostly American.

Did you study with these people in person, or through books?

I actually had workshops with each of these people, and Amanda McQuade Crawford. They also have really great books, so if somebody can't get ahold of these people to go study with them personally, their books are super good. I brought one to show you because I thought you might like it! [Shows Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing For Women]

Thanks! Did you take a particular interest in herbs for women? I know you have teas for PMS and menopause and so on.

Earth's Herbal Tattoo Salve and Soap

I've been working with herbs for 12 years, and I've gone through different phases of being, like, really into skin disorders. Or, really stoked on Candida. And then really getting interested in menopausal women. It sort of depends on who comes through my life. Generally, people conducted my interest because I worked as a consultant and whatever people were needing, I would try and help them.

One of my really big interests was Candida, because that affects a lot of women. It affects everyone, but women always come to you because “I have yeast infections!” And so I made a whole Candida cleansing program that's 3 or 6 months long. That's one of my big interests.

So, are you ever going to have something like an anti-yeast tea? Or is it more involved than that?

The cleansing kit comes with a tea, and it is a little bit more involved. The herbs that are really good at killing Candida albicans and bacteria are usually kind of bitter, so I made the herbs into capsules, and then there's a cleansing tea and a fiber blend, and you can supplement your diet with all sorts of other things like garlic, and apple cider vinegar, and little things like that… grapefruit seed extract, things that don't taste good in a tea. The best one is the [Purity Fountain] Cleansing Tea. It's good for the urinary tract and the liver, and cleanses the blood.

There's also the Green Mother's Calcium Tea. I like this one; I suggest it mostly as a tonic to drink every day. It's like having a big salad or a multivitamin… the tea is stinging nettles, which I harvest, and raspberry leaf, and dandelion, red clover— they all grow around here, and pretty much wild… It's just a tonic that's super good for you. It nourishes and strengthens your uterine muscles, and it's high in B vitamins and minerals and calcium, and it's just a nice all-around, good-for-you tea.

That must be great for cramps— some women swear by raspberry leaf and calcium to prevent cramps.

The best one for cramps is the PMS Tea. It's mostly herbs that balance your hormones. I'll read you the ingredients so you can know what they all are. It has: chastetree berries, which are also called vitex, scullcap herb, which is really good for your nervous system, sasparilla root, dandelion root and dandelion leaf. So it's a very simple recipe but what it mostly does is it helps to balance your hormones. It's not like an aspirin, where if you have cramps you take it and then they go away, although people have said that that's worked if they made a really strong tea and drank it all day. But, the best way to use it is a week before your period is due, drink it three times a day so that your hormones are getting in balance and that will, a lot of times, help.

I also make Cramp Oil, with ginger and cloves and castor oil. You rub it on your abdomen, and that, at the moment you have cramps, is really soothing. I rub lots of it on, and [over] your kidneys too, because it's good for inflammation. And then put a hot water bottle overtop, and it makes a huge difference.

What is Pregnant Belly Oil about? I'm all for belly rubs!

The Pregnant Belly Oil is really popular. I originally made it for stretch marks, a long, long time ago, and what I was thinking when I was designing the recipe— which has changed (that was 10 years ago)— was originally a massage oil for young breasts, to prevent stretch marks. I also thought it was really great to encourage women to massage their breasts. It's really important to keep circulation through the breasts.

Sure, and a great way to notice any changes, like breast self exams.

So it kind of evolved into this. It's called “Mummy's Tummy” because over the years that was generally the people who were shopping for stretch mark products. But I highly recommend it for those pregnant women to use on their breasts as well, and also young girls or anyone. But as far as for the pregnant women, it has herbs that help to monitor your moods, for mood swings. It's good for headaches, and it's got a little bit of rose oil in there, which is nice because roses just make you feel really good.

This ended up being a really lovely product, and if I had to choose one of my massage oils that I would use every day, I usually end up putting on the Mummy's Tummy Pregnant Belly Oil! It's a little bit thicker because it's got vitamin E and castor oil in it, and it is really gentle— I mean, roses and chamomile and lemon balm… really gentle.

You've got a really diverse product line, with the teas and tattoo care and now the Stroke It cream. Have you got plans to make more fun, sex products?

Stroke It!

I'm really having fun! I've always focused on really medicinal, organic products for the people who are really sick, and dealing with them one on one. But in the last year— Cory [Silverberg at Come As You Are] was the one who phoned me and said, “Can you make a men's masturbating cream?”

Right, because Men's Cream stopped making theirs, so there was nothing out there.

Right! And that's what Cory said… he sold my massage oils for a few years, and then he said, “You know, you should really think about specifically making products for our store because people like your products,” and he had to ask me like four times to try it. So now I've got the Stroke it, and the Super Stroke it [laughs]… the Super Stroke It has menthol and wintermint and peppermint and stuff added to it, just a little bit. It's very slightly minty. But the Ice Queen Nipple Gel is really tingly. That one's a really hot item, too, because you can use it as a clitoral stimulator, you can use it for fellatio, or you can rub it on your nipples, obviously, and it's dynamite!

[Stroke It is] also really great in the bath, because the unusual thing is that it's an oil-based product— it's commonly said that oil based products aren't good to be used with condoms, so people need to make that personal decision…

But there are times when people don't need to use condoms.

Right, especially for masturbation, and that's why it was originally made for men by themselves. But, people who had taken [a test sample] home and used it with their partners, their partners ended up coming in with the [market research] questionnaires and being like “This shit's great!” So I'm really happy with it, and I don't want to change it from being oil-based.

What is the role of herbs in your own personal care regimen?

Earth's Herbal Tea

I've gone from being a health nut and having a thermos filled with plants that I go out in the yard and pick every morning and drink all day long, to being on a junk food junkie binge, just like anybody. I use herbs every day, in my cooking. I cook with stinging nettle— it's one of my favorite vegetables— and chickweed. If I'm making a salad at home, it's not just gonna have lettuce in it, it's also going to have chickweed, and calendula flowers, and borage flowers and a variety of other yummy edibles that are all considered medicinal herbs, or vegetables.

I'm healthy; I don't need to take a lot of medicines, but like I said, I think your daily medicine is just what you eat. Although, herbs are amazing and they can be amazingly strong for people who are sick. I know people who have cured themselves from cancer using herbal therapy. I've seen amazing things, so I don't doubt their power at all. But as far as my role using herbs, I really think they should be used daily, and I just incorporate them into my everyday life.

Where do you get most of your herbs?

Well, I do a lot of wildcrafting, as much as I possibly can do. This year, because they're rezoning and they're going to tear down my house and build condos, I didn't put as much effort into a garden, although the herbs have just sprung back anyway. But I usually have a garden that can sufficiently supply me with peppermint, and rosemary and marshmallow root and a lot of the things that I use.

Besides your herbs, you play a lot of music, too. I've seen you drum in a few different bands around town. How did you get started in that?

Hank Pine & Lily Fawn CD

Well, my very first band was Blue Pine, which is now Frog Eyes. I'm forever indebted to Carey [Mercer] for being the first person to come up to me and say, “Hey! Why don't you play drums with me?” and so I did! I was just learning, but I learned really fast. I loved that band— the music was great!

The project that I'm totally focused on now is the Hank & Lily… show.

The costume extravaganza…

And all our comic book friends! We're going on tour on October 21st— our very first tour! We are going to go down to Montreal and mostly across Canada, although we're going to try to sneak into the States a little bit. Hank and I actually have 2 albums, and 2 comic books, and 2 more albums on the way. We have spent so much time and money… and it's just because we love it so much. You can't convince us not to do it— we're totally addicted to playing music!

Sometimes we think that we must just look like crazies to everyone else because we are so wrapped up in our reality of this world— I mean this is our life! On stage, if someone hasn't read our comic books, we might look like we're just nuts! But who cares? [laughs] Really, the moments when we get to play shows are when my real self is most there. It's the funnest thing in the whole world.

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You can win Earth's Herbal products in this issue's contest! Deadline for entry is October 15, 2004.

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