The Scottish Bee Company, a family-owned brand that prides itself on producing uniquely flavourful honey ethically and sustainably, is celebrating the mental health benefits of bees and honey this World Mental Health Month, which takes place every October.
The business, which has 500 hives dotted across the Scottish countryside, equating to around 25 million bees at the height of summer, says that there is widespread awareness that honey can be good for our bodies. The World Health Organisation endorses it as a natural cough remedy, and it contains numerous vitamins and minerals.
However, the positive impact on our mental wellbeing is far less understood.
With stress, anxiety and depression becoming increasingly common, and more people turning to natural solutions for their wellness needs, it could be time to consider one of the UK’s sweetest natural resources. There are several theories and pieces of research worth bearing in mind.
- Bee sound therapy. Several countries, including Slovenia use the sound of bees as an alleviant for anxiety and stress, particularly for people in high-pressure jobs like firefighting. The sound of bees humming around a hive or meadow is also becoming commonplace in meditation and sleep therapy sessions.
- Beekeeping may reduce anxiety. Many people find solace in keeping bees. It is thought that the responsibility of caring for a hive helps with feelings of self-worth, along with the benefits of spending time outside with nature. Beekeeping as therapy is starting to gain a foothold in the UK, including for hospital patients, veterans, emergency workers, and vulnerable people.
- Honey as a stress-reducing food. Recent studies indicate that honey has anxiolytic properties, meaning that it contains compounds (such as an antioxidant flavonoids called chrysin and gallic acid) that are capable of reducing anxiety. Honey is also beneficial for gut health, which researchers believe has a connection to better mental health. It provides prebiotic fibre to help the good bacteria (collectively called the microbiome) in the gut thrive.
Co-founders, Iain and Suzie Millar, are no strangers to the wellness benefits of honey, with scientists recently labelling their Scottish Heather Honey a superfood. It was discovered that it contains 10x the amount of Manganese than any other honey, an essential nutrient that is needed for healthy brain function.
“You only have to spend a few minutes amongst the hives and the heather to be convinced of how relaxing it is – the humming is a little bit like white noise, and being out in nature soothes the mind as well,” explains Suzie. “Then the practice of beekeeping itself is incredibly therapeutic. You forget about everything else that is going on, and focus completely on what the bees need. It requires a slower, more mindful approach than a lot of us are used to.”
“We have been co-existing with bees for centuries, and enjoying the mental health benefits for just as long. Beekeeping was even used in the First World War to help soldiers deal with post-traumatic stress. We would love to see more people exploring the positive impact that spending time around bees can provide – and the studies being done around the links between honey and better brain health are exciting as well.”
The Scottish Bee Company was founded in 2017, when Iain and Suzie Millar were inspired to do something about the plight facing bees. They adopted some bees, hired a team of expert bee farmers, and brought them together in the heather covered hills of Scotland to produce uniquely flavourful honeys that reflect the region’s unspoiled wilderness.
For more information on The Scottish Bee Company, visit scottishbeecompany.co.uk. For more details on their charitable work, visit repollinate.org.uk.
Note to editors: High-res images available on request.
Jennifer Boyes, Salt & Pepper, on behalf of The Scottish Bee Company
Phone: 07955 031 986
The love of bees. The Scottish Bee Company was founded in 2017, when Iain and Suzie Millar were inspired to do something about the plight facing bees. They adopted some bees, hired a team of expert bee farmers, and brought them together in the heather covered hills of Scotland to produce uniquely flavourful honeys that reflect the region’s unspoiled wilderness.
Creating a buzz. The Scottish Bee Company is almost five years old, so still a young brand, but it has already made waves. In 2020, the brand’s Scottish Heather Honey became the first food in the UK to be awarded the new BSI Kitemark for Food Assurance (for quality and safety). Scientists have also labelled it as a superfood after analysis revealed that it contains up to 10 times more of the essential micronutrient manganese compared to global rivals.
Award-winning. The Scottish Heather Honey has won multiple awards, including a Great Taste Award and winner of the highest award at the London Honey Awards.
From small beginnings. The Scottish Bee Company now has 500 hives dotted across the Scottish countryside, equating to around 25 million bees at the height of summer.
Fully trackable – from the hive to the jar. Unlike many other honeys, every product from The Scottish Bee Company can be tracked back to the brand’s hives in the Lothians, Dumfriesshire, Stirlingshire, Fife, and Aberdeenshire, meaning that customers can have confidence in the providence, authenticity and integrity of the honey that they’re buying.
A taste of place. Iain and Suzie believe that honey can be as complex and varied as wine, coffee, and olive oil, and tell you just as much about where it was produced. Suzie has recently achieved certified Honey Sommelier status. This is official recognition of her honey knowledge and experienced palate, which can identify a wide range of different flavours, aromas, and terroir.
International presence. The Scottish Bee Company currently exports to Europe, North America and the Far East, with plans to expand this further over the coming years.
Making strides for positive change. Social responsibility and environmental sustainability is central to everything that The Scottish Bee Company does. Iain and Suzie are working with local bee farmers to grow the industry in Scotland, and to provide opportunities for those wanting to forge a career in bee-keeping.
Iain and Suzie have also started a sister charity - repollinate.org.uk that aims to protect all types of pollinators through wildflowers spaces and education programmes. 10p from every jar of honey purchased is donated to Repollinate. Customers can also sponsor a bee, hive or brood box, which comes with different gifts and information packs, and also includes a donation to Repollinate.
The Scottish Bee Company products. The Scottish Bee Company currently produces three pure honeys, including its award-winning Scottish Heather Honey, along with Scottish Blossom Honey, and Signature Blend Honey (a combination of blossom and heather). The brand also produces a range of Shrub Drinks, Beeswax Candles, and Vinegars.
More Details. For more information, visit scottishbeecompany.co.uk. You can also follow the brand on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.
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