Traditional beekeeping for perfect, natural Finnish honey

For over 80 years members of my family have been keeping bees, and the skills learned by my grandfather, Martti, have been passed down through the generations, each of us learning a little more and adding to the traditional way of keeping bees. Today, Kiia, who also happens to be the Southern Finland Beekeeping Association Chairperson, and I are solely responsible for the farm that my grandfather started all those years ago.

We are blessed with an almost perfect environment here in southern Finland – there is no pollution and there is an abundance of natural woodland and flora. Our bee hives are located in the same farm my grandfather started, set deep in the forest, surrounded only by nature – the perfect setting for perfect natural honey.

Photo by Toni Forssel

Our traditions extend to only ever using wood for our bee hives and bee keeping is very much in our blood. We look after our bees in the same way a dog lover looks after their dog, or a rider looks after their horse. Bees are such a precious element of our ecology and environment, and we take great pride in ensuring their protection and wellbeing. It is a scary thought that without bees, we would lose so much of the food we take for granted, and especially so many of the fruits we eat. It is believed that Albert Einstein once said that without bees the world would starve within a couple of years – this is a myth and he did not say that, but there is an element of truth to the words all the same. We would certainly have to make drastic changes to our diets, that’s for sure.

Of course, the environment in Finland can be very harsh where temperatures here can drop to as low as -30oC. As bees will hibernate in their hives, we do give them a little bit of a helping hand by adding EPS insulation solely to the roof to help them retain heat – but that is the only man-made intervention we allow in our traditional bee keeping practises.

Come springtime and as flowers begin to blossom once again, so the bee gets back to work. We are so fortunate to have our hives in a location where there is no reliance of bees on any single crop – too much reliance on one crop for pollen can have a tremendous influence on the taste of honey. Instead there are a wide range of nectar sources for our bees, including willow, blueberry, Heather, lingonberry, dandelion, willow herb and raspberry. Some years there can be subtle changes in the flavour of our natural honey depending on the abundance of one flower over another, but much as the way a sommelier can identify which region a specific wine comes from, exactly the same can be applied to honey.

– Reko, Managing Director

What is Propolis and five of its well-known health benefits?

You may be wondering what propolis is – it almost sounds more like an ailment itself than a natural product capable of a multitude of homeopathic remedies. Propolis is perhaps best described as a ‘by-product’ of the natural production of honey, though in actual fact it is an important constituent used by bees in the production of honey. Propolis is tree sap which has added apine enzymes from bee saliva and is used by them to make repairs to minor cracks in bee hives that do not require filling with beeswax itself.

Propolis can vary in its overall constituents depending on where the bees live and the time of year, but in general terms propolis comprises over 300 natural compounds, including amino acids, coumarins, phenolic aldehydes, polyphenols, sequiterpene quinines and steroids. Raw propolis comprises roughly 50% resins, 30% waxes, 10% essential oils, 5% pollen and 5% a variety of other organic compounds. Here in Finland, and in particular where we harvest our Hikiä honey, the tree sap usually comes from pine and spruce trees.

While you may be new to the discovery of the health benefits of propolis, the benefits themselves have been known for many thousands of years; documentation around the time of Aristotle in 350BC makes mention of the healing properties of the substance, while propolis was also used by Egyptians as part of the mummification process.

Remarkable health benefits

    • Helps combat tumours and cancer – you may be very surprised to learn that there are currently over 300 independent studies into the effects of propolis on tumours and cancers. Research is beginning to reveal that propolis may have the ability to inhibit DNA synthesis in tumour cells, while it has also been shown that propolis has strong antioxidant characteristics.
    • Excellent for treating candida infections –candida albicans is a yeast-like fungus and is often found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina, and research carried out in 2011 revealed that propolis had the highest antifungal properties of all bee products, showing effectiveness on over 40 different strains of fungus, including candida albicans.
    • Stops the reproduction of herpes – the herpes simplex virus comes in two forms – HSV-1 is usually the cause of mouth sores, also known cold sores, while HSV-2 is more commonly associated with genital herpes. Propolis has been clinically proven to stop the simplex herpes virus from reproducing, which helps to back up why so many natural lip balms for cold sores contain propolis.
    • Helps treat the common cold – two sets of trials were performed. One on children showed that the use of propolis reduced the number of colds suffered by children during a normal ‘cold season’, while the study involving adults revealed that cold symptoms, and especially an associated sore throat, subsided two-and-a-half times quicker when propolis was taken.
    • May be able to increase fertility – a controlled trial looked at the effects of propolis supplements on women who were suffering with infertility and mild endometriosis. Research revealed that taking bee propolis at a dose of 500 milligrams, twice daily for six months, produced a substantially increased pregnancy rate of 60 percent, compared to only 20 percent in the placebo group.

Here at Hikiän we strongly believe in the curative powers of propolis, but we are also keen to point out that a number of you can be allergic to bee products. In addition, we do not recommend our propolis over any traditional medicines, and nor do we recommend self-treatment or self-diagnosis. If you have any existing health problems you should immediately consult a physician.

If you are cautious by nature, then by all means discuss our propolis with a health practitioner and we are confident that you will receive encouraging advice, so you can buy our 100% natural propolis extract with total confidence.

Hikiän in South Korea


We visited Seoul earlier this month and our aim was to bring Hikiän products available for all people in South-Korea too. For us this was a first trip to South Korea and it was a pleasure to find out that our products were taken with warm welcome in the country. On a same trip our managing director Reko Nieminen met Ambassador Eero Suominen. They had long discussions about honey and propolis products as well as economics and international business. Surprising coincidence was that they both are originally from same town in Finland.

During the trip we could not be noticed that preparations for the Olympic games were already taken place. While we are packing and loading the deliveries into South Korea we will share few pictures with you from the trip. Seoul, it was a pleasure and see you again very soon.



Does raw honey have an image problem?

If you were asked to picture a jar of honey in your mind, what would it look like? A clear and very appealing golden liquid perhaps? Supermarket shelves have an array of honeys for sale, all with attractive labels and most offering honey that looks pretty much the same. So, what do you do when you see a jar of honey where the contents look beige and solid, where you can clearly see that the sugars in the honey have crystallised? Chances are you would leave it alone and consider that there must be something wrong with it because ‘it just doesn’t look right’.

This is such a shame, particularly in an age where we are turning more and more to products with only natural ingredients and where we are trying to distance ourselves from ‘processed’ or ‘refined’ food. In the simplest of terms, you can’t get more natural than raw honey, and with that raw state, you get all the benefits of honey that aren’t destroyed when natural honeycomb in processed. What you don’t get with raw honey, is the ‘sun-kissed’ golden glow from a visually perfect amber liquid, but that is more than made up for with the fantastic flavour. Majority of the people who have tried raw honey will never go back to eating commercially processed honey again.

The health benefits of honey have been known for millennia, and more recently its antibiotic properties have been specifically identified. Additionally, honey has often been used to help desensitise those who suffer from hay fever and other pollen-related discomforts. When you think of the medicinal properties of Finnish honey, it is hard to ignore the clean and unpolluted environment in which Finnish bees live and thrive, which is directly reflected in the quality and taste of our Finnish raw honey.

Where Hikiän Raw Honey is concerned, this ‘northern honey’ can vary in consistency from year to year, depending on the levels of nectar from various plants, such as raspberry, cloudberry, lingonberry and willowherb in the wild forests of Hikiä. In addition, our raw honey is never ‘churned’ but is instead filtered direct from the honeycomb, the filter used to extract any of the wax particles from the honeycomb itself – that is the only ‘processing’ our raw honey goes through. Thus, you will always find raw Finnish honey is in a harder and more ‘spreadable form – the other plus side of this being that you don’t find honey has ended up all over the jar, your fingers and everything else you come into contact with. Perhaps we should call this ‘child friendly’ honey too?

If you are particularly interested in natural products and want to know more about the benefits of raw honey, don´t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be glad to answer your questions. As for just how delicious our honey is, well the best thing we can suggest is to buy a jar of our Hikiän raw honey – we know you won’t be disappointed!

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