My journey into beekeeping began over 20 years ago. A friend and I rented an allotment, it was our escape from young families as well as being productive. The allotment soon grew into a ‘women’s co-operative’ as many of our friends too needed some time to themselves and it was great fun (we were even interviewed for a daytime TV programme).
At this time the Kingston Beekeepers Association moved the apiary onto the allotments and one of my friends suggested we join and learn to keep bees. Our first year was spent learning with experienced club members and thereafter I’ve had my own hives. My first bees were ‘feisty’ to say the least – a real baptism of fire and prolific honey producers.
Inspired by our ingenious and industrious bees, we went on to create and make a range of body care and home care products using our own beeswax and honey from our hives near Hampton Court in Surrey.
Our ethos is ‘less is more’ as there are so many benefits from the wonderful gifts produced by our buzzing friends. I’d like to go through a few of them here.
Here I am referring to the honey extracted from the hive, lightly filtered and bottled. As the bees have produced it without adulteration, it’s often and confusingly referred to as ‘raw honey’.
- Honey is a delicious natural sweetener and ‘nature’s golden healer’ containing enzymes vitamins, antioxidants and antibacterial qualities. It contains over 180 properties, not available in any other food which keeps us fighting fit internally.
- Powerfully antibacterial, nothing will grow in honey, it is used in hospitals to treat infected surgical wounds and ulcers. Soldiers would carry honey in their first aid kit to apply directly to wounds.
- Honey is the only food stuff which never goes off, they have found viable honey in the pyramids (not sure it’ll taste that good though!) and coating foods in honey traditionally preserved them.
- Our honey is lightly filtered thereby retaining pollen within which is higher in Vitamin C
- Honey is naturally moisturising
- All the benefits described above are the reasons we use honey in our creams
Is the architecture of the bees’ world and produced by the bees from glands in their legs. Hexagonal in shape is incredibly economical, leaving no gaps. A real mathematical feat of nature. Every cell is used for either egg laying/bee growing, pollen storing and for their larder – honey storing.
- It is one of the oldest ingredients to be used in cosmetics because it nourishes and moistens the skin. Creating a fine barrier on the skin, moisture isn’t lost and skin is protected from drying winds and drying air conditioned offices as well as pollution.
- High in anti bacterial and anti allergenic properties and is nourishing for the skin.
- High in vitamin A excellent for eyes and skin, cleansing thus reducing excess oil and bacterial infection.
- For the skin beeswax softens, rejuvenates, has anti bacterial, anti fungal, antiallergenic and antioxidant properties – so no wonder the pharmaceutical industry is the 2nd largest user of beeswax.
Propolis is collected by bees from trees and sticky buds, it is resinous, very very sticky and the bees coat their hives to create a sterile barrier to outside infection. As our honey is lightly filtered it retains some of the wonderful propolis.
- It is anti fungal , anti viral and anti bacterial. Should anything invade the hive over winter then the bees will coat the corpse with layers of propolis and a final layer of wax which prevents any infection followed by decomposition. Being anti viral people use propolis for influenza and herpes viruses (cold sores etc).
- propolis cream is used to treat psoriasis, acne and burns. Teenagers find it useful to soothe embarrassing rashes on the face.
- In parts of the world scientists are studying the efficacy of using propolis for the treatment of MRSA.
- Propolis capsules, swallowed build immunity so are a great way to fight influenza.
Whilst pollenating plants pollen is collected by the bees in pollen sacks on their legs, they stuff the pollen into these sacks and look like they’re wearing a colourful pair of pantaloons. The colours change from plant to plant – I particularly love seeing the deep pink from horse chestnut. Bee pollen is ‘mother’s milk’ for growing bees packed with proteins, vitamins and minerals.
- Weight for weight it contains more protein than other food sources and is often referred to as ‘the food of the Gods’.
- It also contains lecithin the ‘fat buster’ NB always take the smallest amount of pollen first to test one’s reaction as people could be highly sensitive to it and it can cause a severe allergic reaction. So please use with caution.
- Hay fever sufferers benefit from eating approximately 2 teaspoons per day of pure local unadulterated honey as it builds an immunity to the pollens they’re probably reacting to. Alternatively pollen capsules can be taken. Always best to take these before the season starts so that the body has the chance to build it’s own defences – for me far more preferable to taking regular medication.
To read more about Alison click here.
Alison has created the wonderful BeeInspired skin care range from her own hives. Take a look at her beautiful creams in the natural health star health shop.
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