The Healing Properties of Bee Balm and Love

Yesterday I had the serendipitous pleasure of meeting a truly enigmatic human being. 
Three weeks of fighting a post-op staphaloccocus aureus skin infection, a notoriously resistant bug, and attempting to avoid antibiotics,  led me in the direction of the healing properties of propolis, a bee by-product,  which can be bought in tincture or balm form.
I called the number on a bottle of propolis tincture, bought by a friend at a local market, and was met by the strong, warm voice of Brent Samuels.  A tangibly bright and passionate soul,  I was taken aback by the intelligent questions he fired at me about my condition within seconds of my inquiry.   I could tell from this first impression that I was onto something interesting.  He quickly suggested that I take a drive to meet with him at his premises in Lansdowne, so that he could hear my story and educate me on the properties of bee-products.
I have never been to Lansdowne, a poorer coloured part of town.  As  privileged white girl,  I have never had the need. So armed with a clear set of directions, I wound my way down to the other side of town with a sense of anticipation that I was to be enriched in a much deeper sense than I originally intended.
As I pull up alongside Brent's home I am struck by what looks like a pocket of grace amidst a drab and run-down landscape of socio-economic struggle.  Like a pod of gold at the end of a rainbow. A beautifully kept property, the same size as the properties surrounding it, at first glance I can see the layers of soul that exist here.
Brent is as warm as he sounds on the telephone, his purpose and passion clear in his stride;  his eye contact and hand-shake demonstrating a rare authenticity and integrity . 
Other than his bee-keeping and bee product business, there is a greenhouse full of orchids, a vegetable garden, competely organic, including non-GMO organic Malawian corn from which he intends harvesting heirloom seeds, chickens for free range eggs and a beautiful rescued carthorse, a painted pony named Billy, who has a neigbouring plot all to himself for grazing.
Brent lives here with his wife Rolette, who happens to be the PA to Cape Town comedian Nik Rabinowitz, and his two teenage daughters.  In a separate building on the property, Brent's friend, Neil,  meticulously applies labels to bottles of honey, bee balm and and propolis tincture.  It is clinically pristine.
I discover that although Brent has a few hives on his property, he keeps hives all over the Cape in authorised areas to add diversity to his honey. He also rehabilitates unwanted hives on request.  To add to his myriad of interesting and life-giving passions, Brent also farms pollen.  He explains to me how this is done.  His home hives collect pollen for him from surrounding flora and he siphons some of it off for his personal medicinal use.
Brent explains that pollen is a powerful food-source for human beings and is packed with amino acids.   It is also excellent in treating upper respiratory allergies such as sinus and hay-fever, which is achieved by slowly building resistance through consuming it in small doses.
The propolis which is concentrated in his Bee Wise tinctures and balms is a delicious smelling substance, very similar to Friar's balsam, and in it's raw form looks a little like a truffle that has been dug out of a forest.  Propolis, or bee glue, is a resinous mixture that bees collect from tree buds, sap flows, or other botanical sources. It is used as a sealant for unwanted open spaces in the hive. Propolis is used for small gaps, while larger spaces are usually filled with beeswax.
  • Propolis is believed to
  • reinforce the structural stability of the hive;
  • reduce vibration;
  • make the hive more defensible by sealing alternate entrances;
  • prevent diseases and parasites from entering the hive, and to inhibit fungal and bacterial growth;
  • prevent putrefaction within the hive.
Brent gives me a piece of raw propolis to chew.  It is waxy and gummy in texture and I am aware that my gums numb slightly after a minute or two of chewing.  Brent uses a safe method to extract the propolis from its waxy housing, using mineral water and ethanol, into a form that can be used to add to his products. 
The healing properties of bee propolis are antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and it can be used on burns, rashes, eczema, cold sores, chapped skin, insect bites and bed sores.
In the tincture form it can be taken internally as well as sprayed on externally.  It can be used as a mouth wash for gum and tooth infections or swallowed for systemic infection.
The balm is a soothing ointment for external use and can also be safely used on your pets.

I can vouch for the fact that a day after using the spray-on tincture, my swab results from the lab showed no microbial activity on my skin and my doctor gave me the all clear.
Over a cup of rooibos tea in Brent's quaint home I discover more about the man.  A keen didgeridoo player and guitarist, Brent has followed a Rastafarian lifestyle for more than a decade.  Above the fireplace, wedding photos and a portrait of a man with dancing eyes show an impressive set of dreads, which are no longer.  He explains to me that in Rasta tradition he was required to cut his dreads at the time of the death of his father and is now more comfortable with short hair.  He also explains that as he grows as a person, this is the sort of change he is able to embrace. 
He turns the subject to me and my illness, but more so, my healing. I can hear he is about to take this conversation to the next level.  He has x-ray eyes and supersonic hearing and  I am aware that he is seeing into me, and hearing the sub-text of my story.  He  hones in on a very specific personality habit that I consider a survival strategy and coaxes me to break through this habit as a necessity to access the next level of healing.  We both share honestly of ourselves and at the end of this wonderful hour, I realise I have had a therapy session!
I come away with a stash of treasure.  A bagful of products for my body and a heart full of new perspectives for my soul.  And I just know with the all-encompassing love with which these products are made, both from the bee and the bee-keeper, they are bound to carry a miraculous healing energy.
Brent's vision is to develop an education centre for children and for adults.  This will include
The art of beekeeping, recycling as an opportunity rather than a duty and a third branch called Happy Homes where fathers and mothers or couples will learn to engage in empowering conversations that lay the solid foundations for great relationships.
Currently Brent's products under the label of Bee Wise can be purchased at
The Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay, which operates Friday evenings 6-9pm, Saturdays 9-5pm and Sundays 10-4pm, or from his home in Lansdowne.
Anyone interested in purchasing Bee Wise products, or individuals, businesses or institutions wishing to engage Brent's service of:  hive removal, beekeeping education, recycling education or family and relationship counselling may contact him on:
Copyright belongs to Jacqueline Jorgensen 11 March 2015
Information source for propolis:  Wikipaedia

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