The Herbal Artist: Every Herbalist Should Have a Backyard Beehive

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Madelyn Morris is the owner of Mickelberry Gardens in Portland, Oregon. Visit her Poppy Swap online shop. 

Honey, beeswax and propolis are the honeybee’s gifts and are precious medicines that work in symphony with plant-based remedies. Bee products can enhance the effectiveness, flavor, consistency and longevity of many herbal preparations.

Herbalists can benefit greatly from tending a backyard beehive in their garden. Every herbalist should consider backyard beekeeping!


Here are the products from the beehive that belong in every herbalist’s toolkit:

+ Raw honey. It is made from the nectar of millions of flowers. Raw honey benefits include astounding healing properties for many conditions, from internal GI conditions to topical burns and wounds.
+ Beeswax. This is the bee’s structural masterpiece, and it lends an incomparable quality to preparations for the skin.
+ Propolis. It is the bee’s own herbal remedy, assembled from plant resins. It is uniquely designed to keep fungal and bacterial outbreaks at bay.

Here are the other benefits that come with keeping bees:

+ Pollination. A beehive placed in the herbalist’s garden will improve the pollination for many plants.
+ Enjoyment. The bee’s dance of interconnection with the plants and the sun are ripe sources for inspiration and information. Herbalists can enhance their craft by looking deeply into the relationship between bees, flowers, and themselves.
+ Wellness. With a beehive, the luxury of tasting a bit of raw local honey on your tongue every day is possible and may create a feeling of deeper connection to your surroundings—while also soothing your digestive and respiratory tracts.


Our Experience

For my husband and I, building a sustainable livelihood in partnership with our honeybees stemmed from keeping bees in our backyard and making medicines from our harvest. We learned to keep bees organically on our urban permaculture farm, influenced by biodynamic beekeeping techniques and the mentorship of an experienced beekeeper. My interest in plants, gardening and self-care inspired me to develop folk herbal remedies, so we began to carefully collect raw honey, beeswax and propolis and incorporate them into hand-crafted, raw, honey-based herbal syrups, beeswax salves, raw honey skin treatments, and propolis tinctures. We now offer honeybee-infused plant-based remedies at our community farmer’s markets, retail shops, naturopathic clinics, and online.
At Mickelberry Gardens, building a more balanced partnership between humans, honeybees, and ecosystems is a core company value. Because we keep untreated beehives exclusively on organic farmland, our hive products are very pure. Mickelberry Gardens now collaborates with small organic Oregon growers to provide honeybee crop pollination, and improve bee habitat. Additionally, we teach classes about natural beekeeping methods, gardening for pollinators, the health benefits of honeybee products, and making and using folk remedies. We are also developing pollinator curriculum for school garden programs.


Getting Started

Finding a beekeeper that is willing to teach you how they tend the bees is a valuable initiation into beekeeping. Deepening your relationship with the bees is an awesome learning process. Ask yourself these questions and see if you are interested in keeping a hive of bees!

Do you want to know what nectars the honeybees drink in your region or what crops they pollinate? Do you love raw honey and appreciate the beauty of the honeycomb and its mysterious development? Is there a beekeeper near your home that will let you visit the hives and share his or her skills?

Well, what are you waiting for? Make friends with the bees and their keepers.  And be sure to visit us online to discover our wonderful honeybee herbal creations!

Check out Madelyn’s Poppy Swap online shop, Mickelberry Gardens, and get 15 PERCENT OFF your first order! Use coupon code “BEES” to take advantage of this discount. 

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368