y name is Mike Bain and I am a beekeeper in East Lothian.

As a ‘by-product’ of beekeeping I collected a large quantity of good clean surplus beeswax and wondered what I could do with it other than turn it into candles

I was asked to put on a demonstration at the Shrewsbury Flower Show Bees and Honey section (One of the largest honey shows in the UK) and decided to have a go at cosmetics

The first display was a low grade barrier cream, manufactured at the show. Whilst it proved popular many people asked if it would be possible to produce a better quality product

The following year, having done some research, I changed the ingredients from the low grade oils to almond and coconut oil and the end result was a rich moisturising cream with the waterproofing effects of the beeswax.

Whilst reading some herbals I discovered that Chickweed (Stellaria spp) was very effective in reducing skin irritations and low grade exzema. I extracted the herb into an oil base and used this as the starting point for a ‘medicinal’ hand cream.

The same time as I was developing the herb creams I also added tincture of propolis (a bee produced resin) to the hand cream base as an antiseptic cream.

The Chickweed proved extremely popular and the following year I added Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) to the range as this is effective for bruises and sprains.

Further years added cleaver (Galium aparine) for psoriasis and Roman Nettle (Urtica dioica) for haemorrhoids.

This is yet to be established. I am still scouring herbals with a view to increasing the range. As I insist on using home grown herbs - where I have the control over growth conditions and harvesting - this is limiting the choice.

I also need to develop a different method for extracting the essence from the herbs. A hot extraction is possible with the ones I do use but most herbs require quite a complicated procedure or vast quantities to obtain the same end result.

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