It’s a lifestyle and dedication for mind, body, and spirit to be in health and ease. One of the most significant qualities of honeybee medicine is that it is alive. Honey itself is perhaps the most important substance to support our good health within our reach. It is our mission to disseminate these medicine foods of the bees, to improve the way we all interact with and relate to our environment.
The use of natural raw honey as food and medicine by humankind has been in existence since before recorded time. It is our most ancient sweetener and has been used around the world for millions of years. For the organs internally, it is highly assimilable and travels far in the body, bringing its healthful benefits to the far reaches of the body. Locked within, is magic waiting to happen when you eat it. It never spoils, and stored in the dark in glass the medicine value is protected. Honey is full of enzymes that create hydrogen peroxide and that assist digestion by breaking down other carbohydrates in your gut. Honey contains antioxidants that scour your bloodstream and vital organs, as well as vitamins, and minerals in a highly absorbable form. It is a vital food full of lasting energy and benefits to all the organs of the body. Honey is soothing to the nerve cells of the gut, and provides a steady supply of prebiotics to feed the beneficial bacteria in your intestines. It is an essential skin care treatment, and unparalleled in the treatment of burns and infections of the skin. Paired with bee pollen it creates a whole and complete food.
Honey Production Standards
We follow a strict set of standards with regards to how we handle our honey. For starters, we pull the honey from our hives by hand, using no fumigants or irritants to remove the honey, only a bit of smoke (or none at all) and a brush to sweep bees from the combs we wish to remove. Once the honey is safely home it is quickly extracted before the heat of the day wanes. We use no heated wax separators or filtration systems. Our honey is left to stand in stainless steel bottling tanks for 36-48 hours to clarify naturally to a clear state. From here, the honey is bottled using no added heat and using only gravity. We pack our honey directly into glass containers destined for our customers. We never pack or store our honey in plastic buckets, and never reheat honey to a liquid state prior to sale. Our honey is packed directly into glass and sealed away in the dark to maximize the retention of enzyme activity and to protect the vitamins and antioxidants present in the honey.
All honey crystallizes. If you purchase liquid honey in late winter, spring and even in early summer prior to the fresh honey season, it is honey that was likely reheated by a beekeeper and packed, prior to delivery to a store for sale. Diggin Livin Honey is packed directly into glass at the time of extraction and is never heated. If you desire your honey in a liquid state at a time of year other than fall/winter when our honeys are naturally liquid, you must warm it in a water bath. You can know that your honey was never heated in contact with plastic like most conventional honey sold in stores. Instead, you can know when and how long your honey is heated and to what temperature it was heated to, thereby confirming that minimal enzyme degradation has occurred. To warm honey we recommend honey be warmed in a thermostatically controlled water bath set to 114 deg. F or lower (a natural temperature of inside a hive). At this temperature, it will take approximately 18 hours or less to liquify and 36 hours, to drive to a clear state lacking honey crystals. By doing this at a low temp such as this you are maintaining the highest levels of enzymes and antioxidants intact in your honey. Be aware, when honey is heated or reheated by others, it is often in buckets or barrels and the temps used are often much higher.
We decided to combine these two passions into one jar- and three different tea blends. We added organic coconut butter to all three blends because of its excellent health benefits and ‘bulletproof’ qualities. Coconut butter is a medium-chain fatty acid and contains MCTs (medium chain triglycerides), which are rapidly absorbed in the bloodstream, making it a fast track to getting your caffeine or energy boosting effects. Shelf stable, portable, delicious. Mixes into your favorite warm beverage or just right in your mouth.
Bee bread is the substance created by the bees in hive to act as a stable source of food for raising young bees through their larval phases into adulthood. Also, it is consumed in large amounts by young bees that are responsible for making an enzyme rich food fed to all bees in their first few days of life, known as royal jelly. When bees gather pollen from flowers, it stick to their bodies due to the presence of forked hairs covering them from head to toe. The bees wet their legs with saliva full of enzymes (including invertase) and use their wet legs to comb the pollen out of their hair and into lumps that are stored in the corbiculae on their hind legs. Upon returning to the hive, the bees deposit the pollen already full of enzymes and beneficial bacteria into cells on their wax comb. Thereupon, they pound the pollen firmly into the cells until full and then cap this pollen mash with honey decreasing the air exchange and desiccation. The mixture undergoes lacto-fermentation where nutrients become digested and available and new vitamins and amino acids become present.
To produce our bee pollen infused honey, we start with pollen that has never been dried. We harvest pollen fresh from the hives and move it directly into the freezer where the nutrients are best preserved. We then transfer fresh frozen pollen into jars and cover with honey. While the process cannot compare to a beehive, we know from experience that the biological activity of the pollen and honey combine to form a living food complete with a small amount of fermentation that occurs within the jar.
Fresh Bee Pollen
We pride ourselves on the pure quality of our bee pollen. Our pollen is trapped from selected yards here in the Illinois Valley where we can provide elevated attention to the hives to ensure freshness. Our traps meet the highest of organic standards with naturally finished cedar and stainless steel screen collection baskets. All pollen sources in our pollen are wildflowers from the Illinois River Valley, a place devoid of intensive agricultural practices and on the fringe of the wild Siskiyou Mountains. Major pollen sources at the time of trapping include tree species such as Quercus spp. (Oaks), Fraxinus sp. (Ash), as well as shrub species including Ceonothus spp. and Toxicodendron (Poison Oak), Rubus spp. (Blackberry), as well as a long list of herbaceous flowers that bloom in field and forest.
We promptly remove pollen from the hives while still fresh and soft and transfer it immediately into freezers. By freezing our pollen fresh, we retain a maximum amount of vitamins and enzymes in this living food. We sell our fresh frozen pollen in our store and also priority ship with cold packs for an additional charge. However, one of the best ways to acquire our pollen at a distance is by ordering our pollen infused honey. Fresh pollen placed under live honey creates a stable living food easy to transport.
Nutritional value of Bee Pollen
Bee pollen in the living reproductive potential of plants, potency peaks in a plants creation of gametes. Over 200 substances have been identified in bee pollen including amino acids, lipids, vitamins, and flavonoids. Protein content of pollen averages around 22% with roughly half in the form of free essential amino acids. Lipid content is typically around 5% and includes essential fatty acids, phospholipids, and phytosterols. Pollen is also rich in other phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, leucotrines, and phenolic acids.
A nice summary I found at www.envirobee.com states nicely:
Composition: Pure Bee Pollen. Bee pollen has been considered to have the following nutrients: ... Bee Pollen contains at least 22 amino acids, 18 vitamins, 25 minerals, 59 trace elements, 11 enzymes or co-enzymes, 14 fatty acids, 11 carbohydrates and approximately 25 % protein.
Pollen contains significant amounts of both fat-soluble vitamins as well as water-soluble vitamins including, all the B’s (no surprise), C, D, E, and tons of carotenes which are the precursor to Vitamin A. Also lots of lecithin. What else is cool about bee pollen is that typically about half of the protein content is in the form of free amino acids, so it more like vegetable soup, than a simple food. Also, pound for pound, bee pollen has more essential fatty acids than that found in animal proteins.
Like so many products from the wild, all people consuming bee pollen need be cautionary and aware that individuals can have an allergic reaction to bee pollen. Consume with care. Discontinue use if acute allergic reactions occur upon consumption.
Likewise, pollen can help with people’s sensitivity to airborne pollen. To maximize the effects of pollen on one’s histamine system, one should consume the pollen for a period of two months prior to natural exposure.
It is known throughout Ayurvedic medicine as a “Yogavahi”, a catalyst substance known to penetrate into the body’s deepest tissues and accelerate the properties of other substances dissolved within. When honey is used with herbal preparations, it amplifies the medicinal properties of the herbs, as well as decreasing the transport time. For these reasons, we believe making medicines in the form of an oxymel not only tastes great, and are good for you, but they are also a strong administor of the herbal extract itself. An oxymel is a herbal extract using a menstruum of honey and apple cider vinegar. Like its latin name confirms, oxymeli, meaning “acid” and “honey”, has been used throughout the ages as a recipe and methodology to suit your herbal and health needs.
Both raw apple cider vinegar and raw honey are alkaline-forming in your body. This is very significant because in order for the body to function at an optimal level, the body needs to be slightly alkaline. All of our cells produces waste naturally and daily that is slightly acidic, and alkalizing foods help to neutralize the acidic waste and therefore clean and support the immune system. By consuming alkaline-forming foods, it helps to get rid of the waste that otherwise might lead to disease. In fact, in 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for proving that cancer can not survive in an alkaline, oxygen rich environment but thrives in a acidic, low oxygen environment. To be noted, processed honey is acid-forming which makes sense because when it is heated at high temperature it acts more like a sugar and loses its medicinal value. In Ayurveda medicine, it is believed that honey heated over 140 degree Fahrenheit creates “ama”, which is a condition of mucus brought on by inflammation and toxicity.
Apple cider vinegar is of course a fermented food and thus contains significant amounts of probiotics and enzymes. ACV is renown for its ability to regulate blood sugar levels, enhance weight loss, lower cholesterol, and boost gut health. Both honey and ACV are both powerful preservatives for different reasons; APC contains acetic acid and honey contains hydrogen peroxide, making them densely anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
Honey and apple cider vinegar are excellent solvents for extracting plant medicines. The composition of an herbal product is influenced by the method of extraction. All of our oxymels are made in a menstruum of honey and apple cider vinegar. The menstruum is slightly warmed and added to the herbs in a 5:1 ratio by weight. In the 6 to 9 weeks that follow we agitate the mixture by shaking and stirring the mixture. We then press the herbal extract from the raw plant material and create the individual oxymel. Last, we use the individual oxymels to create our 6 blends: Long life, 5th Chakra, Throat and Cough, Fire Cider, Fire Cider for Kids, and Relaxation.
Our use of these solvents, honey and apple cider vinegar, in making this medicine makes them ideal for those who are alcohol sensitive and it makes it very easy to share with kids; allowing both young and old to get a daily dose for good overall health.
It almost feels like cheating when all you can taste is the strong cacao melting in your mouth. Shelf stable, portable, delicious. Mixes into your favorite warm beverage or just right in your mouth.
Ingredients: Honey, Cacao, Maitake, Reishi, Shiitake, Cordyceps, Agarikon, Blazei, Chaga, Reishi, Turkey Tail, and Lion’s Mane.
Eric has a strong science background including over 10 years working as a professional botanist and mycologist consulting for the federal government in Western Oregon. His education in Botany and Mycology from Oregon State University included work toward a PhD in population genetics of fungi. Eric and his enthusiastic mycophile friends have collected a variety of conk mushrooms for the production of our Woodland Wonder fungal tincture for the health of our honeybees. Honeybee parasites have been implicated in vectoring viruses to the bees in an altogether new way, increasing the virulence of these viruses in a relatively short period of time. The appropriate answer is of course finding natural ways to support honey bees in suppressing viruses in their bodies.
Wise people from Fungi Perfecti and University of Washington have taken the time to test some of these fungi on honeybees, and it’s no surprise that these health promoting fungi are helpful to bees as well. We started making our own fungal tinctures drawing on the history and literature associated with their effects on humans. We all loved it so much, we decided to start bottling it for us humans too. Yeah! The principal ingredient is Oregon Reishi fruit-bodies collected near our region in a place of majestic old growth, where these fruit-bodies can be found in great abundance. Oregon Reishi has many of the same active sterols found in Reishi and potent polysaccharides that are very active against tumors. The second ingredient is Quinine Conk or Agarikon (Fomotopsis officinallis), fruiting-body sustainably harvested from rotting host material. Agarikon has historical uses treating fevers and has been demonstrated to have potent antiviral activity. We supplemented this formula with three other potent fungi found in our region, Artist Conk (Gandoderma applanatum), known for its steroidal compounds similar to G. lucidum, Red-Belted Conk (Fomotopsis pinicola) with traditional as well as Chinese medicinal uses , and Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), very high in various sterols known to be active against cancerous cells as well as viruses.
The combination of pure environment and the abundance of Populus balsamifera (Populus trichocarpa spp. balsamifera) in our water-ways leads us to believe that we produce some of the best propolis available in the world. We create our propolis tincture in a very simple manner. We take our hand-harvested propolis which is harvested from our paint-free natural equipment, freeze it, and then grind it to a powder and mix it with 95% pure organic ethanol. We tincture it for 4-6 weeks. Then we decant it and bottle. The result is a very potent extraction suitable for most maladies. We feel lucky to live in the isolated region that we do, in part because it seems to have a big influence on propolis composition and its associated qualities(read more below). Be aware, if you have never used our propolis products, please start with the application of a small amount externally on your skin and observe any reactions. Like other honeybee products, occasionally people do express an allergic reaction to propolis.
Propolis, or bee-glue, as it is called in many places is a mixture of resins gathered by the honeybees to coat and line the inner surfaces of the hive. They use it to seal entrances and unwanted cracks or gaps in the walls of their home. They cover all surfaces inside their home with thin layers of propolis to maintain a dry hygienic environment. As well, they use this substance to embalm and remove from the environment any foreign substance they cannot physically remove from the hive, including the corpses of unwanted pests. As honeybees’ genomes do not contain much in the way of resistance genes associated with an immune system, it becomes clear that behavioral traits are the basis of much of their ‘immune system’. Propolis is no doubt a central component of the hives immunity. With this knowledge, it is ironic that beekeepers for ages found propolis production to be a nuisance and attempted to even breed the habit of propolis gathering out of the bees. Strains of bees are being identified today that still gather large amounts of propolis and are being used as breeding material for disseminating this trait back into modern beekeeping practices for the betterment of the bees. Personally, we love propolis and are happy to see hives that gather copious amounts. We associate this trait with hardiness and hygienic behavior conducive to repelling disease.
Propolis has been studied throughout the world. Analysis of propolis has shown as many as 200-300 different substances in its resinous matrix. Propolis is largely resins, mixed with a lesser amount of waxes, and containing no small amount of terpene and aromatic oils. The list of bioactive compounds found in propolis to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral is far too long to list. What is fascinating about propolis is that there is considerable variation in the composition of propolis, and yet despite completely different plant origins and plant chemistry, propolis is found to have very similar activity when tested against different organisms for its ability to retard normal growth. What else is fascinating about propolis, is that despite a lot of studies, the molecular mechanisms of how propolis thwarts cellular growth in certain organisms is still not well understood in many cases.
Propolis around the northern temperate regions has one thing in common. When honeybees are in the vicinity of Poplar or Cottonwood trees, they always gather the lion’s share of resin from these trees to make their propolis. Collectively, these propolises are known as poplar propolis. In most assays I read, poplar propolis set the standard, in that it always appeared to have the same or even superior antimicrobial activity or higher concentrations of known active ingredients. Other propolises from different regions with totally different composition, such as Brazilian green propolis showed similar but at times inferior activity when compared with poplar-propolis. Furthemore, there is a great amount of variety within the genus Populus around North America and Europe. Studies show that the balsam poplars have the most potent resin extracts with relatively higher concentration of active ingredients. We are proud to live in a place where the poplars grow to 4 and 5’ in diameter along the all the waterways our bees sit adjacent to. Furthermore, our poplar is a balsam poplar, Populus balsamifera ssp. Trichocarpa. Apparently one of the most resinous species of them all. Our hives are never far from a rich source of resins and it shows, making it easy for us to be choosy in our harvesting; seeking only the best, richest of dark amber glassy resin.
We use only beeswax from other Oregon beekeepers (No offense CA or WA beeks, sorry). We use only 100% cotton or cotton/hemp wicking. All of our candles have been produced for years and are guaranteed to burn to the end. We produce a full line of hand-dipped tapers. And we mean 100% hand-dipped, not molded and then hand-dipped once to make it look like a dipped taper (we have seen our competition use this slight-of-hand to sell molded tapers to the unaware). Check our our rotating display of custom engraved candles made by Joy. Note: we do not sell tea lights in aluminum bases. This style candle requires a synthetic candle wick and wastes a bunch of metal. Try our votives made with 100% cotton wicking instead. Oh, and always use a votive glass with votives as it doubles their burn time. Please read our candle burning instructions located__________ for best burning results.
Apitherapy is the medicinal use of all products from the beehive: raw honey, bee pollen, bee bread, propolis, royal jelly, beeswax, and bee venom. I am a practicing apitherapist out of my office at Diggin’ Livin’ Natural Foods, Farm, and Cafe in Cave Junction, Oregon. If you are interested in learning more about my Apitherapy practice, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been making potent blends of essential oils in honey for consumption when we are ill for a dozen years. Furthermore, from the start, essential oils have been the backbone of our materia medica for our bees as well. We finally decided that in our pursuit of biodynamic standards we would just synonomize our efforts and create one product that serves the same antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral purpose for us all.
Our Aroma Honey is a very potent concoction of essential oils in honey, making it easy to dose a human with the tip of a teaspoon, or to dilute into medicated feed for your bees. It is to be consumed with care. Good news is, a small amount on the tip of a spoon will fill your mouth with flavors and feelings of health. Aroma Honey is a convenient and easy way to consume essential oils in a medium that ensures that terpenes travel far into your body to all tissues and organs. This all encompassing list of oils create a balanced and warm flavor in your mouth with a hint of bitter and spice, and with a fresh finish of mint, lemon,and rosemary.