Nature of Business and Innovation
Tharaka Honeybee Products Limited (THBP) exploits the age-old benefits of apitherapy to offer innovative complementary health solutions. Our main clients are children, rural and urban communities keen on affordable certified natural medicines. THBP is focused on first-line management of cough and cold, skin infections/ conditions, and digestive and reproductive health. We parade ourselves as the leading manufacturer and champion of apitherapy innovations in Kenya. We harvest and process all beehive products such as honey, beeswax, Bee Pollen, bee propolis, royal jelly, and bee venom to formulate innovative therapeutic apitherapy products such as bee Propolis tincture, propolis suspension, propolis capsules, and medicinal honey. Furthermore, we also produce apitherapy throat gargles, propolis cream, propolis throat spray, and bee pollen for fertility. THBP’s slogan is #Beewell BeeHealthy. Besides the complementary health solutions, we are networked with hundreds of smallholder beekeepers in Kenya and in the region through aggregators. We believe our business is also an innovative way to promote food security and environmental conservation through bee pollination.
Tharaka HoneyBee Products was born out of a medical condition of its CEO. I (Miriam Chabaari) had suffered from chronic bronchitis and sinuses since childhood and for a long time. My parents didn’t know because of their limited capacity in understanding and poverty. After high school, I visited hospitals/doctors including ENT specialists with no long-term/lasting solution. Even after taking the strongest antibiotics, the problem persisted. My condition became worse rendering me asthmatic, very weak and susceptible to any slight weather changes. My breathing was harbored, and I was generally restless. Any slight change of weather was enough to put me down blocked with breathing difficulties and restlessness. I remember one of my very bad days, I had a very bad wheezing cough, I went to see an institutional doctor.
While waiting in the queue, I had a really bad cough and a doctor appeared at the door and unethically asked, “Who is that TB patient coughing like that?” I felt bad and doubted his medical ethics. Around that period my husband went for his Ph.D. studies in Israel. In his absence, the attacks became severe, and my good neighbors could frequently rush me to the hospital. My turning point: The following year, I paid a visit to my husband in Israel. While there, I got an attack again and after seeking medical assistance, I was advised to stop taking processed sugar and that I should use raw natural honey instead, which I did. This new lifestyle change improved my condition tremendously.
The challenge now was finding local, quality honey. I was forced to turn to imported brands that were not only pasteurized but also very expensive. Back at our rural home, there was a honey refinery plant at MCK Rural Training Centre, Marimanti that was installed by the missionaries in the early days to promote beekeeping in the region. I would visit the plant and buy several jars of honey that would last me some time. This was quality honey at an affordable price. I loved their honey and I thought to myself that probably there could be other people with similar conditions but unable to find affordable, quality honey too.
So, I started buying enough for myself and extra to sell to ladies of my women fellowship group at my town church at the time. They loved the product and I decided to expand the honey market to others. I enrolled myself in a college to gain knowledge in beekeeping and to understand more about honey and other hive products. I did a lot of research on hive products and their benefits. I discovered that there were other premium hive products that are not known by many beekeepers like bee propolis, etc. I started doing beekeeping myself to get bee propolis from my hives. When I used propolis, I realized it was more powerful and effective in managing respiratory conditions better than honey. Anytime I felt like I was coming down with flu-like symptoms, I would take propolis and the problem would clear very fast.
I would go several months without falling sick unlike when I was using other conventional medication. I fully recovered and I could speak with a clear voice. Change of weather was no longer a problem for me and there were no more attacks. At some point, we relocated to South Africa with my family. I found that South Africa is more versed with herbal medication, fully recognized and supported by the government, and covered by some medical insurance companies. My interest in advancing Apitherapy knowledge was heightened as I had access to more research materials to read and gain more understanding about Apitherapy. I decided to get back to my country with that knowledge to grow my business and develop more Apitherapy products. We took our Apitherapy products for certification by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Kenya under the protection of Kenya Industrial and Property Institute (KIPI) in 2019. My joy and fulfillment is when patients use these products and get relieved of their ailing and chronic conditions as well as boosting their immunities for their good health. I really thank God for allowing me to get into such a serious health condition and hence turning it around by granting me wisdom in discovering a natural remedy that has become a perfect solution to many other people in similar or worse conditions. Thank you Lord for giving us land full of bees. Thank you.