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simply bee beeswax magazine articles

Way back in 1954 Derick Hugo´s father-in-law presented him with a very unusual wedding gift: a beehive. “He said I was too poor to put jam on the table, so he had better give me a hive to make sure his daughter has honey.” Thus begun a hobby that he kept up until his retirement in 1994, when he and his wife, Marie, returned to Hopefield and he turned his beekeeping hobby into a full-time business.

The business has grown and expanded and today Derick´s daughter, Helena and her husband Pierre van der Westhuizen are at the helm as the prowd owners of Simply Bee in Hopefield.

Pierre was only 17 when he became friendly with the Hugos and Derick Hugo took him under his wing and treated him like his own son. Pierre never even thought that he might marry his schoolmate, Helena, one day. When the two met again after 24 years when Helena returned from the USA (where she lived for 14 years) to attend her mother´s funeral in 2007, it did not take Pierre long to convince her to move back to South Africa and to marry him. Derick Hugo handed the reigns over to Pierre in 2008 and sadly passed away in 2010. Since then Pierre has been lovingly tending the hives, where the bees not only produce honey, but also beeswax and propolis.

With Helena being allergic to most cosmetics, they have done much research, trials and studying of the bees and their products. This led to Helena starting Simply Bee, a range of natural, organic beeswax products for both the body and home.

“We are very fortunate to have our bee hives in Fynbos areas around Hopefield where there are no commercial farming within the immediate vicinity. Therefore, our honey, beeswax and propolis are all 100% organic,” says Helena. “Our bees are not used for commercial pollination either, which eliminates the negative effects of exposure to chemicals. Our hives are all placed on stands, which make them badger-friendly.” The Simply Bee line consists of all natural products such as beeswax, honey, propolis and essential oils. “We strive to support our local suppliers, so our carrier and essential oil ingredients are bought from reputable local companies.”

They started off with only five products in their line, so it is a particular source of pride that, due to public demand, the line has now grown to over thirty products in a relatively short period of time. These include body lotions, hand cream, foot balm, ointments, shampoo, soaps, facial skin products and even leather polish. “We have had amazing results treating psoriasis and eczema with our antiseptic balm. It also helps tremendously with burn wounds, ulcers, acne and minor scrapes and lesions,” says Helena.

The secret lies in the combination of good, natural ingredients with natural processes designed to maximise purity without damaging the ingredients. According to Helena, natural ingredients are profoundly effective, they stimulate your senses, they are better for the environment and beneficial to your overall well-being. Natural ingredients nurture the skin with wholesome nutrients that are familiar to the body´s chemistry, thus working in harmony with the body. They also believe that natural ingredients must come from a renewable and plentiful resource found in nature, yet with absolutely no petroleum compounds. Equally important is how those ingredients are processed. Helena herself controls the manufacture of their products. Any processing, including distillation, condensation, extraction, steaming pressure-cooking and hydrolysis, are kept to a minimum. Their goal is to maximise purity without negative effects on the ingredients - simply put: their goal is to keep natural ingredients natural. This ensures full rentention of their beneficial properties.

Primitive people already recognized and used beeswax and honey as an antiseptic aid for healing wounds. The honeybee secretes beeswax to build the walls of the honeycomb. Initially it is a colourless, transparent liquid which later turns into a semi-solid substance on contact with the atmosphere. Propolis is the resinous material gathered by honeybees from flowers and leaf buds of various plants. It is mainly used to disinfect and waterproof the hive. Propolis contains a variety of pharmacological and biological properties. The most important of these, for Simply Bee Products, are the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.

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