Monday, August 24, 2015

6 ways to use honey to pamper your skin

Most people look at raw honey and think “healthy sweetener,” but you might be surprised to learn that the ingredients found in raw honey have tons of skin benefits too! That’s why you'll find honey in many skin-care products made today. (Our retail store has samples of some excellent hive-based skin and hair care products.)

Made by the alchemy of bees collecting nectar, pollen, and resins from plants, honey helps moisturize skin and fight aging and bacteria. It’s also loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and healing compounds.

Try the following honey facial tips for your very own at-home spa treatment. Your skin will thank you for the extra moisture and improved appearance!

1. Moisturizing Mask
Honey is a natural humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air and retains it in the layers of the skin where it’s needed most for penetrating, long-lasting hydration.
Try it: Spread one teaspoon raw honey on clean, dry skin, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

2. Pore Cleanser
The enzymes in raw honey clarify skin and keep pores clear and clean. Plus, the antibacterial properties of honey and jojoba or coconut oil are also good for preventing bacterial buildup that can lead to skin imbalances and breakouts.
Try it: Stir together one tablespoon raw honey and two tablespoons jojoba oil or coconut oil until the mixture is a spreadable consistency. Apply to clean, dry skin. Massage gently in a circular motion, avoiding your eye area. Rinse with tepid water.

3. Gentle Exfoliator
Honey is loaded with antioxidants, enzymes, and other nutrients that nourish, cleanse, and hydrate skin. Baking soda, meanwhile, is a gentle, natural exfoliator that removes dead skin cells, allowing new cells to emerge for a radiant complexion.
Try it: Mix two tablespoons honey with one tablespoon baking soda. Splash your skin with water, then gently rub the concoction on your face or body in a circular motion. Rinse well.

4. Scar Fader
Honey is said to lighten skin, and its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds help to decrease the appearances of scars and increase healing and tissue regeneration. The hydrating properties of honey and coconut oil or olive oil will also help revive skin cells, while regular, gentle massaging will increase circulation to aid skin recovery and cell turnover.
Try it: Mix one teaspoon raw honey with one teaspoon coconut oil or olive oil. Apply to the affected area, and massage with the tips of your fingers in a circular motion for one to two minutes. Place a hot washcloth over your skin, and let sit until cool. Repeat daily.

5. Sunburn Treatment
Honey restores hydration to the deepest layers of sun-exposed skin—and both honey and aloe vera contain powerful anti-inflammatories to calm burned skin and aid recovery.
Try it: Mix one part raw honey with two parts pure aloe vera gel. Apply to sunburned skin.

6. Acne Treatment
Honey contains antibacterial and antifungal properties that can thwart the bacteria that often leads to breakouts. Its anti-inflammatory properties will calm redness and irritation.
Try it: Apply a dab of raw honey to affected areas, and sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Buzz - August 2015

NATIONAL HONEY BEE DAY is August...what?!
15th! No, the 22nd….it’s both! Believe it or not, two different days were chosen for this year’s National Honey Bee Day (NHBD)….ask us why. The theme is ‘Ban Ignorance - Not Honey Bees.’

We love everything bees and honey here at the Minnesota Honey Company, so EVERY DAY is honey bee day - we’re now open 7 days a week (Mon - Sat 11-6 and Sun 12-5).

New this month:
  • Beehive Botanicals - a regional company for over 40 years, they make excellent skin and hair care products using the products of the beehive - honey, propolis, pollen, royal jelly and beeswax. Ask for a sample at the front counter.
  • Plantain Salve - the perfect & natural solution to the itch of insect bites & stings. New from Welcome Harvest, the maker of Helan (natural first aid remedy).
  • Double Punch Card Days - August 15th & 22nd. For every $5 spent on honey, you normally earn one punch. Make that two on NHBD!
  • Bee Spinners - a new shipment is in; pick one up today! Add a little whimsy to your yard and show your support of the honey bees.

Start your holiday shopping now. These charming pieces were previously owned by an avid MN beekeeper. They’re beautiful, gifty and waiting for new, loving homes.

Polymer Clay Bees Pic.jpg

AUGUST WORKSHOP IS ABOUT BEES - Friday, August 14, 10-11 am
Only one summer class left for grade schoolers; sign up now. Local school teacher Debi Mattson and store co-owner Deb George will co-lead. Learn more at or pick up a store flyer for more info.

  • Friday, Aug. 14, 10-11 AM Polymer Clay Bees


One free punch gets you started. Earn punches with every $5 you spend on honey. Accumulate 10 punches, & you’ll receive one FREE pound of Meadow Wildflower Honey. The best part is...we’ll keep your card on file for you!!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Beyond honey: beehive benefits

This month, we’ll focus on beehives and the natural products found within the hive. Honey bees are well known for making honey and pollinating 30 percent of the food on our tables. But did you know, bees are busy producing four other key ingredients found in a hive - beeswax, pollen, propolis and royal jelly. Let’s take a brief look at each!

Beeswax - young worker bees use their wax-secreting glands to produce beeswax, and nest-building bees use the wax to build hex-shaped cells for raising brood and storing honey, pollen and water. We use beeswax in many everyday products, from cosmetics and polishes to candles and art materials. At the Minnesota Honey Company, we offer:
  • excellent skin care products containing beeswax and made by local companies - Worker Bee, Crow’s and Welcome Harvest.
  • locally sourced, filtered beeswax in 1 oz, 1.3 oz, 1 lb and 2 lb bars so you can DIY some of your own household products. We carry beeswax candles too.
  • honeycomb. It makes a lovely addition to an appetizer tray and is a deliciously different replacement for chewing gum!

Pollen - Pollen is a bee’s sole protein source, so you’ll do bees a favor by growing a wide variety of their favorite flowers. It will give them more complete nutrition (just like us humans needing a variety of foods). Honey bees collect pollen on their fuzzy bodies and in what are called pollen baskets on their back legs. For their larvae food, they mix pollen with honey and nectar, creating bee bread, and drop it in cells before larvae is placed.

While we cannot claim specific health benefits with pollen, there is significant anecdotal evidence. Pollen can benefit certain health conditions, be used as a protein supplement and desensitize pollen allergies. We offer pollen in a couple different ways:
  • Aged (unheated, unfiltered) Meadow Wildflower Honey. This is honey straight from the hive. It has larger particles of pollen, beeswax and propolis, making it a very healthful, sweet alternative.
  • Pollen-fortified Meadow Wildflower Honey. An excellent way to take daily doses of pollen.
  • Raw bee pollen.

Propolis - Trees and plants produce propolis, a resin that protects against bacteria and disease, and honey bees collect it to coat the inside of their hive. Propolis is an antimicrobial, antibacterial substance, which can be extracted and used as a healing ingredient, both topically and internally. You’ll find the following propolis-infused, locally made products at the Minnesota Honey Company:
  • Vibupro - a cough and sore throat formula made by Wolf Honey Farm
  • Worker Bee Balm - topical sticks and bars made by Worker Bee

Royal Jelly - Royal jelly is secreted by worker bees and is only fed to royalty - the queen bee and potential future queens . Like other byproducts of the hive, royal jelly offers many topical and internal benefits for us, although health claims have not all been scientifically proven. The Minnesota Honey Company does not carry royal jelly at this time, but it is something we’ll continue to evaluate as we expand our product lines.

Honey bees are amazing little insects, and we’re lucky to have their busy little bodies working hard to help keep us fed and healthy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A remedy for arthritis pain using raw honey

Customers periodically share their favorite recipes with us, and this one really caught our attention. This woman experienced excellent results and even found out her doctor was doing the same thing for his arthritis pain! Let us know if you try it and how it works for you.

Here’s what she said...

Mix together:
1 cup of hot tea or water
2 Tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon*

Drink it twice a day to start - a half hour before breakfast and at night before bed. Give it a little time (a week or two?). When the pain is gone, reduce the frequency to once a day, then every other day as it seems right to you. (She now does it three times a week.)

* Our customer was very specific about using raw honey and Ceylon cinnamon in particular. The cinnamon will clump, so do your best to stir it in.

Drink up, and best wishes for good health!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

THE BUZZ...what's new and what's happening...

Minnesota Honey Company is proud to partner with Sweet Science Ice Cream, a local natural food crafter, to bring you an all-honey sweetened ice cream using our own Meadow Wildflower honey.

  • 4 oz mini cups (honey vanilla & vanilla) and pints (honey vanilla) now available

Perfectly timed with ice cream, Infused Honeys are now available in nine sweet flavors. They pair well with ice cream, yogurt, coffee, tea and you name it!

  • Stop in anytime for a sample
  • Available in 3- and 9-ounce jars and 8 oz squeeze bottles.

Bee-themed vintage ceramics previously owned by an avid MN beekeeper are now on display around the store and looking for new, loving homes.

  • We owe our lives to the honey bees - they pollinate over 30% of our food.
  • Find a piece for your home or give one as a gift; each piece comes with a special tag.

Our new cold beverage case is now loaded with all kinds of great drinks - Sprecher’s Honey Sodas, Deane’s Kombucha, tea, lemonade and water. Just in time for Super Summer in the neighborhood.

SHOP & STROLL Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21
This twice-a-year neighborhood event offers great opportunity for stocking up at our ‘everything honey store’! Everything will be 20% off. Taste samples to be featured throughout the weekend include:

  • Friday tastings: Deane’s Kombucha - never tried Kombucha? You’re gonna love it!
  • Saturday tastings: Minnesota Honey Company Infused Honeys in nine sweet flavors
  • Sunday tastings: Sweet Science Ice Cream - HV Honey Vanilla

We're pleased to offer three summer activities in the store for children beginning in June. Local school teacher Debi Mattson will lead a different project each month. Click on the Community icon for more information and to register.

  • Friday, June 26, 10-11 AM: Frozen Honey Pops
  • Friday, July 31, 10-11 AM: Rolled Beeswax Candles
  • Friday, Aug. 14, 10-11 AM: Polymer Clay Bees

Saturday, May 2, 2015

How well did our honey bees survive this past winter?

These notes are from a presentation given by Ellen Topitzhofer, former University of Minnesota graduate, research assistant at Oregon State University, and crop analyst for the Washington/Oregon/Idaho area. She spoke at a recent fundraiser for the Woodlake Nature Center, a 150-acre preserve in Richfield, MN. (Author’s note: I made every attempt to verify my notes and apologize in advance for any misstatements or inaccuracies.)

Ellen opened her presentation with a perspective on honey bee losses over time. Looking back, declines started in the 1950s; the population in the U.S. was recorded at about 5 million colonies. Today, it’s half that number, 2.5 million. Extreme losses occurred in 2006-07, and since then, five of the last seven years have seen 30% or more loss. This past winter (2014-15), losses were in the range of 20-30%. The sustainable loss rate is 15% or less, so you can see why there is great concern!

The term Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) came about when significant colony losses were observed in the U.S. in 2006-07. There are many reported causes for CCD. Among them, malnutrition due to lack of access to diverse food sources, mono farming and habitat loss; pesticide use and the sublethal effect of multi-chemical applications; pests (i.e. varroa mites) and pathogens.

Multiple factors are likely contributing to stress, loss and overall weakening of bee and colony health. For example, the average lifespan for a queen bee is reported to be about 2 years, down from an average of 2-5 years.

For other information and potential causes, read the UMN Bee Lab newsletter, April 2015, Marla Spivak, Bee Lab Research Update. (Congratulations to Matthew Smart for successfully defending his PhD dissertation and furthering bee research / discovery.)

Honey bees perform very critical functions for us humans. First and foremost, they pollinate plants and crops in ways that we cannot. These small creatures transfer pollen from plant to plant to increase crop yields for farmers, and they pollinate about 30% of the food we put on our tables every day! I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention their delicious honey, naturally produced for us to enjoy.

Economically, bees are responsible in large part for industrial crop production, like almonds for example. California produces 80% of the world’s almond supply across 750,000 acres. Each acre requires 2-3 colonies, which calculates to about 1.5 million colonies, just for almonds alone!

While there is much to do at the agricultural level to address these issues, we can help support our local honey bees in a few simple ways. Ellen suggested creating nesting habitats, reducing pesticide use and planting bee-friendly gardens.

Post Note:  Carefully select native plants, and purchase them from trusted resources. Be sure they’re really organic. Bill HF2029 is currently being debated in the MN legislature, and the final vote could negatively impact the labeling of ‘bee-friendly’ plants. Contact your legislators ASAP and insist on full, transparent labeling.

Minnesota legislators attempt to roll back protections for bees - Pesticide Action Network North America, March 27, 2015 article.