Carly Stein has a pretty special story about how she came to love bees. It all started with a scary tonsil infection, an Italian pharmacy, and a cure in the least expected form! I’ll let her share it below. But, in the time since then, she has created Beekeeper’s Naturals–an amazing natural wellness brand that actually delivers results. She’s found a way to harness the natural superfoods derived from bees and their hives into an all-star product range that boosts immunity, provides energy, and supplements the body’s essential vitamins. Since I’m new to all things bees–and very curious–I was psyched to ask Carly a few questions and have her explain the health and environmental benefits below!
What is so special about Propolis that it inspired you to start this company?
Propolis is pretty incredible, but surprisingly few people have ever heard of it. When we think ‘bee products’, most of us think honey—but propolis is truly an allstar! As the protector of the hive, it contains over 300 powerful natural compounds, many of which are renown for supporting immunity and protecting wellbeing.
I first discovered propolis when studying abroad in Europe. I got hit with a nasty infection and my tonsils blew up to the size of golf balls. It seemed like I would have to go home for surgery. Willing to try anything rather than cut my trip short, I popped into an Italian pharmacy and was handed a bottle of brown sticky stuff—propolis. Within a few days, my tonsils were miraculously in retreat and I knew I’d found something special.
I quickly discovered that this magical substance was not on the radar of people back home. I was unable to find bee propolis on the shelves of my local health food stores, pharmacies, or anywhere. I had to dig deep to secure a steady supply of my new secret weapon, so I sought out a local beekeeper to learn how to keep bees, started harvesting my own propolis, and learned all about what the bees have to offer. Eventually, I started formulating my own products–that is when Beekeeper’s Naturals was born!
Can you walk us through the differences between Propolis, Bee Pollen, Raw Honey, and Royal Jelly?
Propolis is a protective substance bees make by collecting plant and tree resins. The result is a sticky substance that is used to line the hive walls. It is packed with powerful phytochemicals that protect against foreign germs, viruses, and intruders, so it functions essentially as the hive immune system. Propolis is also rich in antioxidants, making it a useful ally in countering day-to-day stress and free radical damage.
Bee pollen, on the other hand, is considered one of nature’s most nourishing foods. I like to call it nature’s multivitamin! It’s packed full of vitamins and minerals, including energizing B vitamins, and contains nearly the full spectrum of essential nutrients. Seriously, it’s power packed! With more protein per gram than any animal product and lots of easily digestible amino acids, bee pollen is my essential post-workout snack to renourish and restore my muscles.
Okay, raw honey. Most people know about honey, but not all honey is created equal. Real raw honey is rich in enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants, and is a powerful supporter of internal balance and overall wellness. With natural antiviral properties and easy to digest carbohydrates, raw honey is super hydrating and soothing on the skin (I use honey face masks regularly), while gentle and nourishing to the digestive tract. Not many people know this, but a spoonful of raw honey is even known to promote quality sleep and overall relaxation by supporting the production of serotonin and melatonin in the brain! It’s incredibly nourishing.
Royal jelly is the exclusive food of the queen bee. Highly nutrient-dense, it is a deeply hydrating beautifier. But it has also been researched extensively for its unique fatty acid profile, particularly in relation to memory support, mental acuity, and its potential to protect against neural damage. Royal jelly is also a source of acetylcholine—a neurotransmitter found in the brain, spinal cord, and throughout the nervous system—which helps to regulate memory and transmit nerve messages from cell to cell.
How is your work benefiting both human’s health and the health of the bee population?
We set our standards pretty high. Our mission at Beekeeper’s Naturals is to provide people with natural, highly effective alternatives to conventional remedies. We use the hive superfoods and plant-based adaptogens in our potent nutraceuticals to really help people support their wellness without refined sugars, artificial ingredients, or nasty side effects. It’s always amazing to hear customers’ stories about how nothing worked for them until they discovered our products—and that ever since, their health has changed for the better. I honestly get a little teary, because I totally understand that feeling, and it’s deeply rewarding to be able to give people that much-needed relief that they’ve been searching for.
Of course, as much as we care about people, we’re just as passionate about our mission to #SaveTheBees. Bee populations around the globe are dwindling. While climate change and habitat loss certainly play a major role in the decline of the bees, many researchers point to the extensive use of neonicotinoid pesticides as the main culprit. There is no question that neonicotinoids kill pollinators, which is why they have been highly restricted and banned in certain parts of Europe. However, similar action has not been taken extensively in North America. This is bad news for pollinator decline. Without our pollinators, our environment and food system as we know it would utterly collapse—they are crazy important. That’s why we take every precaution, including third party pesticide testing, to ensure that BKN bees are safe from harmful chemicals.
Beyond diligently practicing sustainable beekeeping, we go even further. BKN partners with two leading bee research institutions to support pollinator protection—The University of California Davis Honey Bee Research Facility and the Canadian Bee Research Fund. If you want to get involved, you can make a direct contribution to these institutions on their websites. We also donate 10% of the profits from our apparel line to support these charity partners and their crucial work. We are doing everything we can to be a powerful voice for the bees!
What is your favorite thing about working with bees?
I find beekeeping deeply meditative. Honestly, it’s my happy place. When beekeeping, bees are highly sensitive to energetic shifts. In order to not stress them out or disturb them too much, you need to be super calm. When I start walking towards the hives, I immediately force myself to get more centered and relaxed. And it’s easy to do—-the dull drone of their buzzing is almost hypnotic. Sometimes I’ll just spend time around the hives watching the bees work to get back in touch with myself and nature. They are utterly fascinating creatures, full of personality and quirks, and it’s just so wonderful to spend time around them.