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‘Pharmabees’ to make honey cosmetics

12 April 2019

Child holding bee

Cardiff University is joining forces with a North Wales company to produce a new brand of natural cosmetics, Celtic Wellbeing.

Honey and medicinal Welsh plants identified by the University’s @Pharmabees project will help Conwy-based PharmaGroup make a range of products, including a honey-based lip balm.

The partnership is the latest in a series of ventures for @Pharmabees, which is exploring how the study of common bee-friendly Welsh plants could lead to the development of drugs to tackle hospital ‘superbugs’ that resist traditional antibiotics.

Professor Les Baillie, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “Nature is a rich source of pharmaceutical products. People in Wales have used honey and plant extracts to treat ailments for thousands of years.

“In the face of rising antibiotic and antiviral resistance, we are keen to look to nature to identify new drugs to help us combat this growing threat, and our @Pharmabees project continues to identify honey samples and plants which contained antimicrobial compounds capable of killing hospital superbugs.”

Andy Burrows, NPD Manager at PharmaGroup, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Cardiff University to develop the Celtic Wellbeing range. It’s a fresh, high-quality brand with strong links to Welsh heritage and will be manufactured in Wales, where possible using locally sourced ingredients. We have a strong strategic plan to grow and develop a range of functional cosmetics that not only work on the skin’s surface but bring with them the lasting health benefits of botanicals and honey.”

Les Baillie added: “The full potential of our research will only be realised if we translate our findings into real world products.  Our first Celtic Wellbeing product will be lip balm, where we will combine an existing formulation developed by the company with selected antimicrobial plants identified from our research.”

Over the past two years, Cardiff’s @Pharmabees project teamed up with a range of companies that combine the goodness of honey with botanicals. Products to date include a honey beer, Mêl, made by Bridgend’s Bang-On Brewery and a collaboration with Swansea-based Welsh Brew Tea to manufacture a range of honey-based teas.

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