The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Tribute to Claude Stratford (Aug 1910 - July 2013)

Written by Stephanie on July 28th, 2013.      0 comments

In August last year we posted a blog on Claude Stratford, one of New Zealand's health pioneers.  On 10 July he passed away, a few weeks from his 103th birthday.

With an interest that began as a child, Claude had a life-long affinity with bees and honey. He was 63 when he started the international health product business, Comvita, in 1974 and continued to take an active interest well into his final years. 

He started making and selling a range of bee products from the basement of his home in Paengaroa.  His idea was to help others - with a vision that included "caring for the community, producing natural products that work, and acting in a way which preserves the environment for generations to come".

Until he moved into his Te Puke retirement home at 96, Stratford was still driving and working up to six days a week.

Claude Stratford's 'Top 10 tips for living well'

  • A tablespoon of bee pollen every day - Claude had been doing this since he was 26.
  • A daily teaspoon of Manuka honey and a dose of Olive Leaf Extract (15 ml), two omega 3 fish oil capsules and a multivitamin tablet.
  • Persistence and at times - dogged determination - if at first you don't succeed, then try, try, try again.
  • A drive to help others is a strong motivator
  • An unswerving belief in the power of nature to provide a source of healing.
  • Dream big dreams and treat any setbacks as challenges to overcome.
  • Accepting people as they are, and believing the best of them.
  • Generosity of spirit.
  • Faith and prayer.
  • Read widely, keep up with the latest information about your interests, and have an open mind.
Comvita Photo Montage

Information for this blog post was sourced from
Image from
Topics: Health Articles

Avoiding Winter Ailments

Written by Stephanie on July 9th, 2013.      0 comments

iStock 000009780161XSmall
It's that time of year again when it can be hard to avoid those winter ailments.  Coughs, colds, sore throats, blocked/running nose, blocked ears, feeling miserable.  And then there is the full blown flu - we want to avoid that!

The best thing you can do to avoid these bugs is by having a good strong immunity to start with.  But with our fast paced lives these days there is often not enough time to exercise, get out in the sun or prepare nourishing foods.  And the physical and emotional stress just make things worse!

Here is what we recommend you do to support your body over the winter months.

To help you avoid nasty bugs over the winter we recommend:

  • Daily consumption of bee pollen to build your immunity.  
  • Take vitamin C every day (I recommend Clinicians Family Vitamin C)
  • Eat lots of fresh fruit and veges
  • Eat fish regularly, I would also recommend taking cod liver oil daily (here's a good one for the winter months)
  • Get some fresh air and exercise
  • Get outside everyday to get vitamin D, you may even need to look at taking a supplement for this over the winter months
  • Get enough sleep, try to get as much sleep before midnight as possible
  • Avoid stress - get some time out.  Take up yoga, mediation or relaxation exercises

If it is too late and you already have cold or flu symptoms try these:

  • When you feel a cold or flu coming on have some drops of Propolis tincture in a little bit of water. 
  • Make 'Helen's Cold and Flu Remedy', it works wonders and tastes delicious
  • Eat a teaspoon of active 5+ Manuka or active 10+ Manuka honey every hour or so if you have a sore throat
  • Make some homemade chicken stock/broth and drink some cups of this.  I know what you are thinking - but it works a treat!!  There are lots of great recipes online, try this Weston Price recipe
  • If your nose is blocked put your head over a bowl of boiling water with a few drops eucalyptus oil and place a towel over your head (and the bowl to enclose the steam) and breath the steam in through your nose.
  • Lots of rest, drink lots of water and keep warm. 
  • Try to get into a warm spot in the sun and get some vitamin D

If you feel you need something more to build your immunity or get you through the bugs go and see a health professional.  You may want to see your doctor, pharmacy, herbalist, Chinese medicine therapist, Naturopath, etc.  Personally I love to visit the friendly team down at the Herbal Shop and Clinic (cnr Ohaupo Road & Lorne St in Hamilton).  They, or any herbalist near you, will give you a brew specific for your needs!  I love this holistic approach to nourishing and healing your body.
Topics: , Health Articles

Claude Stratford, NZ Beekeeper, Turns 102!

Written by Stephanie on August 17th, 2012.      0 comments

Founder of Comvita, Claude Stratford, celebrates his 102nd birthday in
TePuke on the 18th August!  He is a walking Claude Stratfordadvertisement for natural bee products, with his daily health regimen consisting of bee pollen, manuka honey, olive leaf extract, multi-vitamins and Omega 3 capsules.

Beekeeping has been a constant in Claude's long career.  He started keeping bees at 11 years old, when he left school.  During his teenage years he ran a small commercial beekeeping business in Richmond, along with a prize-winning poultry farm.  He would cross the Cook Strait to sell his honey in Wellington. He then started an apiary businesses in the Waikato and the Peria Valley in Northland.  It wasn't until he was 64 years old, when he moved to the Bay of Plenty to be closer to his children, that he saw an opportunity to set up a honey and pollen-inspired health product business, Comvita.  It was meant to be his modest retirement venture, but today the NZX-listed business is turning over more than $80 million a year and has 250 staff in New Zealand, Australia, Britain, Europe, Asia and the United States. "It was really a hobby that just simply took off. It's gone beyond my expectations."

Mr Stratford retired in 1992, at 82, but continued to run a small pollen processing firm  until he was in his mid-90s – when he was a finalist for a Bay of Plenty Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

"I didn't actually know what it was to be well until my mid-30s. Around the ages 24 to 26 I suffered a lot of ill-health – I was just generally run-down – and when I was about 26 I read a book on pollen remedies by Marjorie McCormick called The Golden Pollen. I started producing and consuming bee pollen at that stage and I've been taking it for the last 80 years."

During his long career he has worked on Auckland's waterfront, driving taxis, selling insurance, growing comfrey, milling flour and working for Healtheries.  He is a man of amazing great tenacity and determination.  He has been married five times and had many personal tragedies. His first wife and fourth baby died during child birth, and has lost two adult daughters.  Many of his early business ventures failed and he just walked away and started all over again from scratch. 

He says it's been a mix of hard work, dogged determination, optimism and his Christian faith that's seen him through.  What an inspiration! 

Information for this blog post was sourced from
Topics: , Health Articles

Hungry for Change!

Written by Stephanie on March 24th, 2012.      0 comments

Hungry for ChangeThere is a NEW movie from the people who produced Food Matters.  If you haven't seen Food Matters, it is a must watch and this one will be too!  We all need to start taking care of our health.

The new movie is online and FREE to watch for the next week.

Here is their great 10 step action plan.  Go to their website to print a copy of the plan and to find out more information


Make these simple additions to your life and watch your health improve. You can even print this out and put this on your fridge!


“Freshly extracted vegetable juices are easy to absorb into the blood system - it’s the ultimate fast food - it is the 15 minute nutrient express to health!” - Jason Vale. Try celery, cucumber, parsley, lemon and pear (or apple).


“Cleansing our body is not difficult, it is going to require high quality green chlorophyl-rich plant food and being out in nature. Also gelatinous plant foods like aloe vera, seaweeds and chia seeds, these gels move through our intestinal tract absorbing toxins and passing them through the colon”- Daniel Vitalis. Try the juice above or blending some chia seeds into your favorite smoothie.


“Parsley cleanses your entire blood supply and it also gives you fresh breath, it contains so much chlorophyl that it cleanses the whole system. Cilantro (coriander) binds with heavy metals, many people are exposed to mercury poisoning through their dental amalgams. Cilantro binds with the mercury and eliminates it from the body so it doesn’t get lodged in your brain cells.” - Mike Adams.


“Yogurt, sauerkraut, kim chi and other fermented foods, we use these foods to help us with good digestion as they replenish the good bacteria that colonize our intestinal tract” - Daniel Vitalis


“Look for foods that create beauty from the inside out. Instead of coating yourself in chemical laden beauty products, why not try to get healthy skin from the foods you eat.” - David Wolfe


“The number one best way to digest stress hormones is sleep, deep sleep metabolizes excess cortisol and epinephrine. The second thing that digests stress hormones is exercise, just taking a long walk is enough. Laughter also decreases stress hormones. Have some funny movies lying around!” - Dr Christiane Northrup


“Visualization is like a language that you can use to talk to your subconscious. Make a visual image of the way you like to look, let your subconscious absorb it and imagine yourself in that body.” - Jon Gabriel


“The concept of loving yourself is the key to all of it. On a post it-note write “I accept myself unconditionally right now” and post it on the bathroom mirror and twice a day look deep into your eyes and say it to yourself. Do this for
30 days and after day 28 you will have planted a new affirmation.” - Dr Christiane Northrup


“Getting the right kind of fat in your diet is important. Cheap low grade fats like corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil are not good for us in the long term. Partially hydrogenated fats are the worst, found in cookies and crackers, margarine and butter spreads, these are highly processed and damaged fats. Healthy fats are the natural fats found in avocado, chia seeds and wild caught salmon, high in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids” - Mike Adams


Keep an eye out for the following E numbers and avoid them like the plague! Aspartame (E951) & MSG (E621). High Fructose Corn Syrup does not have an ‘e’ number so watch out for it by name. When you’re shopping make sure to read labels and become and informed consumer.

Topics: , Health Articles

Weston A Price

Written by Vicki Ravlich-Horan on March 8th, 2012.      0 comments

It’s an odd reality but since the mid 20th century the West has gone from a scarcity of food to an overabundance of it.  And while this abundance should be a good thing somehow it has meant an industry of chemists, food technologist, marketers and big business have more influence on our food than those who grow and produce it. 

The result has been that most of us eat a diet high in calories and very low in nutritional value.  We have a generation of people with food allergies beyond precedence.  Dyslexia, autism and depression are all on the rise and fertility rates are dropping.  We lead a lot more sedimentary lives yet most people complain about low energy levels.  Could our highly processed foods be to blame?
A common catch phrase by a movement of people who want us to eat less processed food is “don’t eat anything your Grandma wouldn’t recognise”.  The Weston A Price Foundation would like you to take this one step further.

The Weston A Price Foundation (WAPF) was founded by Sally Fallon-Morell in 1999 and promotes the teachings of Dr Weston A Price.  Dr Price was a dentist who spent over a decade in the 1920s and 30s travelling around the world studying the diets of indigenous people.  In 1939 he published his findings in the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
Dr Price claimed that aspects of a modern Western diet (particularly flour, sugar, and modern processed vegetable fats) caused nutritional deficiencies that were a root cause of many dental issues (i.e. overcrowding of the teeth) and health problems.
Our diets have drastically changed since Dr Price did his research!  Our prevalence of soy based products, our scorning of animal fats, fear of cholesterol and lack of whole food or fermented foods have taken us further and further away from the traditional diet Dr Price believed was the key to good health.jar and bees

Honey, a food revered by the ancients, can be enjoyed today in exactly the condition in which it was first discovered many thousands of years ago. It is the only sweetening material that requires no manipulation or processing to render it ready to eat. Honey is an exceedingly variable and complex material, and we are far from knowing all about it.
Until the middle of the 19th century, honey was believed to be a simple mixture of dextrose, levulose and sucrose and a carbohydrate material called honey dextrin. Since then, powerful new applications and procedures have revealed honey to be a highly complex mixture of sugars. Many of these sugars are not found in nectar, but are formed during ripening and storage by the effects of bee enzymes and the acids of honey.

The flavour and bouquet of honey are particularly vulnerable to heat and excessive heat can change flavours and induce off flavours. In Sally Falloon’s book “Nourishing Traditions” she defines raw honey as 'honey that is not heated over 47 degrees C and is loaded with amylases, enzymes that digest carbohydrates, as well as all the nutrients found in plant pollens'.

The environment of the area from which the bees collect the nectar, influences the specific composition of the honey. For commercial honey, the extent of blending of lots from different areas and seasons and extensive processing also has a major effect and we can sometimes be disappointed by the flavour of commercial honeys.

Sweetree honey is classified by location and season. Our honey can be traced back to a particular apiary and is not blended with lots from different areas. This simple action alone has resulted in a range of wonderful tasting honeys which reflect the unique flora of our apiary sites. We protect the flavour and goodness of our honey by being involved in every step of the extraction and packing process and ensuring honey temperatures are kept as low as practicable. We are able to protect the integrity of the honey all the way to market with the aim to give our customers the same taste experience they would have if they took the honey straight from the comb.
As an aside, just as we appreciate the nutritional value raw honey has for us we never forget that the bees rely on the honey for their well being too.  We ensure that  sufficient honey is left after harvest for the bees to survive on through winter rather than feeding lower cost sugar syrup.  Perhaps this is a reflection of how modern society treats its own food, often replacing natural foods with high calorie, nutritionally devoid foods.

Traditional foods are as important for bees as they are for humans!

Sally Fallon-Morell is speaking throughout New Zealand in late May/early April and will be in Hamilton on the 4th of April.  For more information check out
Tickets are $30 through Ticketek.
For more information on the Weston A Price Foundation go to

Topics: , Health Articles

Honey on Blacklist?!

Written by Stephanie on February 27th, 2012.      1 comments

This weekend there was an article in the NZ Herald that blacklisted honey as heavy in calories but light on nutrition!   They did stress that the guide is to help obese people identify what foods could be cut from their diet.  But we have had lots of people comment to us that it is blacklisted item and how crazy it is.  So I thought I would share some comments from the bee industry on the topic.

CAP 1760 1Honey NZ manager Greig Duncan said he didn't think honey should be lumped into the same category as cakes and pies.  Honey had a much slower insulin release rate than sugar, which made it a healthier alternative, and had many other health benefits important for a balanced diet.  "Because honey is such a natural product, it has a lot of bioactivity which is all part of a natural diet. Then you get into Manuka honey which has a whole other lot of benefits."

Honey is nature’s health food, says the National Beekeepers Association (NBA).   Association chief executive, Daniel Paul, says honey has been used for thousands of years by virtually every society on earth as a food and energy source.   “To say you shouldn’t eat it is an interesting perspective.

“Honey is nature’s energy booster, immune system builder and a natural remedy for many every day ailments.”   A natural preservative, honey is high in anti-oxidants that help to destroy ‘free radicals’ that can cause cancer.   Researchers have concluded that honey consumption may have a positive effect on factors associated with heart disease risk.   Research by Dr Peter Molan in New Zealand has shown scientifically that all honey has varying degrees of healing properties and anti-bacterial properties.
Honey is composed primarily of carbohydrates (natural sugars) and water, as well as trace enzymes, a range of important minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron), vitamins (including B and C) and amino acids.
Mr Paul acknowledged that honey is a natural sweetener, which is perhaps why it made the list of ‘foods to avoid’.  “But a bit of common sense should prevail in these things.   “Honey has so many very well documented health benefits that it should be considered a ‘must eat’ food.   “It’s been a staple of many societies’ diets for thousands of years and it’s still highly sought after around the world.
“New Zealand honey, especially our manuka honey, is some of the highest value honey on world markets.”
All foods need to be consumed in moderation and part of an overall energy plan.

Topics: , Health Articles

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