Propolis Product Highlights

At the Futurehealth Store we are pleased to stock the BeeVital range of bee medicines and Sweet Cecily’s skincare which includes an amazing soothing skin cream containing propolis.

BeeVital are world-leaders in the development of propolis-based health supplements, supported by the latest scientific research.

The Beevital and Sweet Cecily brands are part of Nature’s Laboratory and are based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, within a couple of miles of our own shop!

So we source locally from our trusted suppliers of high quality products and cut down our carbon footprint, helping the environment and supporting local enterprises.

Thank you to James Fearnley, international expert on propolis, for the following information on this exceptional substance.

What is Propolis?

Propolis is composed principally of resin and wax. Its colour can vary enormously. In temperate climates it ranges from a light yellow or brown to a dark brown colour, often with a reddish hue. Propolis produced in tropical climates can range from the light brown-green of Brazilian propolis to the black and dark red of some Cuban varieties. Propolis tends to become darker the longer it is in the hive. Fresh propolis appears as a red tinge on the new white comb constructed by the bees. The colour of propolis also varies according to the trees and plants harvested, as well as the types of bees gathering it. Propolis collected by black bees tends to be darker in colour.

You can find propolis most easily at two sites in the hive—at the entrance, which is constructed almost entirely from propolis, and along the sides of the frames, where it is often deposited in larger quantities in zigzag patterns. Some believe these larger deposits act as a kind of storage facility before being moved to fill cracks or openings, or to be rendered down into a finer, more liquid form for use elsewhere in the hive.

At moderate temperatures propolis becomes soft and malleable when handled but when frozen becomes brittle. Propolis turns to a liquid at temperatures between 70–100°C.

Early use of Propolis

The Egyptian priest-doctors first utilised propolis as a medicine, having observed it’s role in the hive and already used it successfully for mummification.

Propolis has been referred to in medical treatises from Arab, Greek and Roman times right up to the late nineteenth century – being cited as a natural aid for a variety of health problems, including respiratory and joint problems as well as infections and skin diseases.

How Do Bees Collect Propolis?

Most beekeepers and researchers now believe that the resins in propolis are collected directly by the bees from trees, shrubs and plants. However, this is not the only theory that has been put forward. In 1907 Kustenmacher,1  a German bee researcher, sug­ gested that propolis was largely derived from pollen granules. Kustenmacher believed that that the bees took pollen granules into a section of their intestine where the granules would swell to five times their size as they absorbed water. As the granules burst open they released a plasma which he believed the bees used to feed their young.

Honey Bees Make Propolis

The pollen husks that remained were processed into a balsam, which was then excreted. This balsamic excretion was then mixed with other discarded pollen husks, waxes and detritus from the hive, forming the basis of propolis. The resulting more solid, brownish mixture could then be transported around the hive. Support for this theory has come from some experiments, which show that even where bees are deprived of resinous materials but not pollen, propolis is still produced. Further support also comes from the observation that maximum production of propolis always coincides with times of greatest pollen production.

Whilst not all of Kustenmacher’s theory has been discarded, the advent of modern biochemical analysis has very much weakened it. For example, research has shown that few, if any, of the chemicals released in the breakdown of pollen end up in propolis.

By far the most plausible and now most popular theory was put forward by Rosch and others, again in the early part of this century. Rosch observed bees removing sections of resin from trees with their mandibles, which they used to further break down the resinous lumps. The resin was then passed from the forelegs to the mid-legs of the bee, continuing to be worked on and gradually formed into a pellet as pollen is, before being deposited into the bee’s pollen baskets. The bees then flew back to the hive where other bees removed the propolis and transferred it to storage sites or applied it in the hive for a variety of purposes.

A combination of the two theories was suggested by Phillip in the 1930s. He argued that there were two kinds of propolis, one produced in the way described by Kustenmacher and the second, according to Rosch, by the collection of resin from external sources. Phillip maintained that the propolis produced from pollen had the most important use in the hive, covering and sterilizing the cells into which the queen lays her eggs. Propolis collected from external sources had a secondary use, more as a building material  within  the  hive—strengthening  the  comb  and  filling cracks and crevices. Personally, I feel that there may be something in the Phillip theory which does explain the two different uses of propolis, but I think we will have to wait for further, one imagines difficult, research, for a definitive answer.

The Importance of Resins

One thing is certain—resins derived from one source or another, form a major ingredient, around 50 per cent, of propolis. From the outset, the bees are collecting a material which the plant world already relies on to maintain its health and integrity.

We know resins have an important role to play in the immune defence systems of trees and plants. We have all seen how, if a tree is damaged or cut, the resins pour out in order to seal up the ‘wound’, to stop the tree bleeding. Many of these resins themselves have a hallowed place in natural medicines. Two out of the three gifts taken by the Wise Men to the infant Jesus at his birth were tree resins—frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh have well-documented anti-inflammatory properties and are used to treat a variety of health problems, including rheumatism and arthritis, as well as for bronchial and respiratory complaints. Other resins, including poplar bud resin, benzoin and pine resin, have figured in their own right as part of the natural medicine chest, for similar reasons. It is not surprising therefore that the honeybee should seek out these and other resins as a valuable base material for propolis.

Natural Propolis

Do Bees Create Something Unique in Propolis?

How much the bees work on the resins they collect from trees and plants, transforming them into propolis by processing them both outside and inside the hive, is still a matter of debate. Some researchers believe the bees take an active part in transforming resin into propolis with the help of glandular secretions produced as they collect the resin.4 These secretions contain enzymes which metabolise the resin. A Cuban study in 19905 showed that the resins collected by the bees are at least in part metabolised by them, and Greenaway6  in 1997 suggests that by adding saliva during the scraping and chewing of the resins, new elements, e.g. sugars, are produced. The same research showed that the chemical structure of the bioflavonoids in tree resins collected by the bees is changed by the time they appear in propolis. Others researchers argue that it is the tree or plant resins, pure and simple, which give propolis its unique protective and therapeutic properties within the beehive. My own feeling is that the extraordinary capacity of the honeybee to transform a range of simple raw materials, pollen and nectar for example, into highly complex substances like honey and royal jelly supports the idea that the bee is actively contributing to the creation of something new and unique.

The beehive is a symbol of how simpler substances derived from the lower order of the plant world are elevated and transformed by the bee into substances appropriate for a higher order of existence. In comparing the wide range of therapeutic properties which pro­polis provides for man with the often narrower range of therapeutic properties possessed by single plants or herbs, we are made aware again of the quantum leap in complexity and sophistication which differentiates the plant from the animal world.

At The Dispensary Shop in Whitby and our sister online shop we stock a range of Beevital products and Sweet Cecily products including a wonderful soothing skin cream containing propolis.

The Beevital Range

Propolis Syrup with Elderberry and Honey

Propolis Honey Elderberry Syrup contains propolis and honey, products of natural origin collected by bees, together with a selection of botanical extracts, and Vitamin C.

Water Soluble Propolis Liquid

Water Soluble Propolis Liquid is a newly formulated product that can be easily administered orally in liquids such as water or juice. Water Soluble Propolis Liquid is non-alcoholic and contains 20% pure high potency propolis.

Propolis Tincture

Propolis Tincture is highly bioavailable, enabling fast absorbtion by the body. Some people may not like the powerful taste of propolis and users may wish to follow its consumption with a more pleasant tasting liquid – e.g. tea or fruit juice or even take the tincture in warm juice, tea or on a small piece of bread. For internal use only.

Propolis Tincture

Propolis Tablets

Propolis Tablets are a convenient way to take propolis on a regular basis. These propolis tablets are classic high potency propolis in tablet form.

Propolis Capsules

Propolis Capsules are a popular way to take the product, without having to taste the propolis. Contained in vegetable cellulose capsules. Suitable for vegetarians.

Propolis Cream

Propolis Cream contains high potency propolis in a parabens free cream base provides highly effective support to natural skin repair mechanisms. Suitable for both adults and children.

Propolis Cream

Propolis and Honey Throat Spray

Combines propolis with honey to provide an effective throat and mouth spray. Regular use helps keep the mouth fresh and clean. Spray applicator helps you reach the targeted area.

Propolis Mouthwash

An all natural mouthwash that utilises the proven oral health maintaining properties of propolis. Non-alcoholic.

Propolis Toothpaste

Propolis Toothpaste helps to clean and protect – does not contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate or Fluoride. Can be used with Homeopathic treatment. Ideal for those who either cannot have or do not like regular mint flavoured toothpastes.

Propolis Lip Balm

Propolis Lip Balm is useful in summer with its sunblock, and invaluable in the winter for nourishing and protecting the delicate skin of the lips.

Propolis and Lemongrass Soap

This natural hand made soap combines the proven cleansing properties of propolis with the wonderful aromas of lemongrass.

Propolis & Lemongrass Soap

Pollen Granules

Worker honeybees made bee pollen from pollen gathered from flowers. It is used as the primary food source for bees in the hive. Bee Pollen contains sugars, protein, vitamins, and minerals along with some fatty acids. It is sometimes called bee bread and is stored within the cells of the beehive. The bees seal it into the cells using a drop of honey. It is harvested as a supplement for humans in a similar way to honey. Scientific research continues into its health properties.

Sweet Cecily’s

Sweet Cecily’s Soothing Skin Cream

Ideal for skin that needs a little love and soothing. Propolis, Borage and Hemp are all known to soothe and support troublesome skin in proven scientific ways.

Sweet Cecily’s Soothing Skin Cream

Thank you to James Fearnley and Dr. Philip Wander for information on Propolis and its uses.

Thank you to the honeybee for producing propolis, this wonderful substance and sharing some of it with us….

What is Propolis and How Is It Used?

Propolis, What Is It?

Propolis is a complex chemical package produced by bees. They use it in the hive for a variety of purposes but primarily to protect the hive against infection. The bee does not have an internal immune system and it must therefore create one externally. It does this by first collecting resin from trees and plants which it brings back to the hive. The bee then processes it by adding wax and by altering the chemical structure of the resinous raw materials to produce what becomes propolis.

Propolis is composed of resin (35-45%), wax (30-35%) and a wide range of vitamins, minerals, essential oils and most importantly bioflavonoids.

Natural Propolis, Produced by Honey Bees

The beehive is a highly evolved and complex system. Up to 70,000 bees live in community together carrying out a bewildering variety of specialist tasks in perfect harmony and for the most part in perfect health. Interestingly the temperature inside the beehive is the same as our own body and in a sense we may look upon the beehive as a ‘body’ similar to our own, carrying out complex and dynamically related tasks; tasks, which it could not do, as we cannot do, without the mediating and regulating role of an immune system.

We have become used to defining modern medicines as products with very specific, targeted functions: antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral and so on – yet a healthy immune system incorporates all these functions and more. All these functions flower, as it were, out of the single complex but unifying stem of our immune system.

Propolis: Nothing New as a Medicine

There is nothing new about the use of Propolis as a medicine. The earliest records show its use by the Egyptian priest-doctors.

The Greeks knew of and used Propolis as a medicine. Aristotle in his pioneering natural scientific study of the honeybee is believed to have first coined the term Propolis. It literally means Defender of the City. Aristotle observed how the bees used Propolis to physically protect the hive against intruders by blocking up holes and crevices.

Hippocrates, credited as the founder of modern medicine, referred to propolis as a remedy with the power to “heal sores and ulcers” both internal and external.

Pliny the great Roman natural scientist further developed our understanding by defining three types of propolis and their separate uses in the hive. He also tells us that: “current Physicians use propolis as a medicine because it extracts stings and all substances embedded in the flesh, softens indurations, soothes pain of the sinews and heals sores when it appears hopeless of them to mend.”

The great Arab doctors understood the benefits of propolis and other products from the hive, products which are today receiving increased attention as medicines. The Koran is unequivocal about the value of the honeybee. “From its belly comes forth a fluid of varying hues, which yieldeth medicine for men”.

It is likely that knowledge of the medicinal properties of propolis spread via Arab influence through Europe directly northwards up into Russia and Eastern Europe and through conquests eastwards through Spain.

But with the coming in the West of modern medicine and the great hope of synthetic drugs, propolis like many other natural remedies fell into disuse and like the sleeping beauty has lain asleep for a hundred years. Only in Russia and Eastern Europe did it continue to be used and scientifically investigated.

A Renaissance of Interest in the West

Beginning in the 1960’s there has been a renaissance of interest in the West. In the 70’s and 80’s from the UK, USA, Japan, France, Italy and Germany, came forth a trickle of scientific papers –which has become a flood over the last 20 years. Weightman and Garcia reporting in 1997 identified a list of some 350 scientific articles about propolis published between 1980 and 1995 “Interest in propolis is becoming more widespread and by professional, respected scientists capable of publishing in peer review journals”.

International scientific interest in Propolis continues to increase. Recently, a US university announced it has been awarded $1 million dollars to investigate the anti cancer properties of propolis. At Beevital’s Propolis Research Unit, based at the University of Strathclyde, we have been looking at the chemical, biological and clinical properties of propolis from sources around the world. The unit has published many reports of its work in peer review journals.

Honey Bees Use Propolis to Block Up Holes in their Hives and Defend the Hive from Infection

How does it work?

If a mouse or large insect enters the hive the bees will kill the intruder but they cannot remove it. Left alone corpse would become a major source of infection in the hive as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The bees deal with the problem by bringing to the site propolis they have previously processed and stored. They then embalm the dead intruder with propolis and finally coat the body with wax. This mummification process effectively seals in the potential source of bacterial infection. Beekeepers have found these mummified remains perfectly preserved many years later.

Scientific study of propolis has shown how propolis acts in very much the same way on a micro level as it does on a macro level. Bent Havsteen a researcher in Germany showed how the flavonoids in propolis sealed up the protein coating of bacteria and viruses preventing them from breaching and spreading into the surrounding cell structure. Just as the bees use propolis to seal up dangerous sources of infection in the hive so propolis seals up and prevents individual bacteria or viruses from become active within the organism.

Recent research at Tufts University in Massachusetts has illustrated the mechanism by which bacteria become most dangerous. This happens when they combine to form biofilm. Biofilm is created when bacteria join together in organised communities with communication, transport and waste disposal systems. Whilst bacteria remain lone agents they can be effectively controlled by our immune system. However once a critical mass is present something called a Quorum Sensor

signals to the surrounding bacteria that now would be a good time to get together and so biofilm is formed. The biofilm that is formed following operations for example is what provides the opportunity for MRSA to take hold. The researchers at Tufts showed how propolis stops the quorum sensors from signalling and so prevents the formation of dangerous forms of bacterial infection. This is another graphic illustration of how propolis works in the body, not by killing bacteria but by disabling them.

Folk History and Use of Propolis in Europe

Very few direct references to propolis are found in early British herbal literature. There are, however, numerous references to the anti-inflammatory properties of tree and plant resins, the basic raw materials harvested by the bee to produce propolis.

John Gerard in his famous Herball refers to ‘the rosin or clammie substance of the blacke Poplar buds.’ He tells us how the apothecaries used these substances to make ointments for treating a range of inflammatory conditions.

Nicholas Culpeper, in his Complete Herbal, also refers to the medicinal properties of poplar tree resin. ‘The clammy buds hereof, before they spread into leaves, are gathered to make Unguentum and Populneum . . . The ointment called Populneum, which is made of this Poplar, is singularly good for all heat and inflammation in any part of the body and tempers the heat of wounds.’

In Green’s Universal Herbal16 we find further references to the use of the resin from two species of poplar trees. Under Populus nigra (Black Poplar Tree) Green tells us:

The young leaves are an excellent ingredient for poultices for hard and painful swellings. The buds of both this and the White Poplar smell very pleasantly and being pressed between the fingers, yield balsamic resinous substances which, extracted by spirits of wine, smells like styrax. A drachm of this tincture in broth is administered in internal ulcers and excoriations and is said to have removed obstinate fluxes proceeding from an excoriation of the intestine.

Under Populus balsamifera (Common Tacamahaca Poplar Tree) we hear:

‘The buds of this tree from autumn to the leafing are covered with an abundance of glutinous yellow balsam, which often collects  into  drops,  and  is  pressed  from  the  tree  as  a medicine. It dissolves in the spirits of wine; and the inhabitants of Siberia prepare a medicated wine from the buds. This wine is diuretic and, as they think serviceable in the scurvy.’

Whilst very little appears to have been known about propolis in  Britain  and  northern  Europe  it  seems  that  in  old  southern and central Russia propolis was a familiar natural remedy. It is interesting to speculate whether this knowledge had always existed in these areas or whether it traveled north from Greece and the Arab countries.

In Georgia, where the Arab influence was strong, Sul-han-Saba (1658–1725) the complier of a Georgian encyclopedic dictionary defined propolis as ‘a substance similar to wax from the bottom of the hive.’

In the Carabadini, a Georgian book of medicine published in the thirteenth century, the author suggests a treatment for dental decay. The recipe involves propolis mixed with arsenic, red lentil, yarrow, wood germander, to which is added one spoon of olive oil and one of honey. The mixture is then placed on the bad tooth. Propolis as we shall see later is now used extensively by modern dentists to treat a wide variety of periodontal problems.

Moving towards modern times another Georgian medical treatise, published in the 18th century, recommends the use of propolis for the treatment of haemoptysis. ‘One has to take propolis grains having the size of a pin’s head, for two days—three pieces, in the morning and in the afternoon.’

Traditionally, in Georgia, propolis cakes—small flat pats of propolis—were used to treat a variety of conditions. For arthritis the cake was wrapped in a warm cloth and left on the inflamed or painful area all night. A similar treatment was recommended for treating skin abscesses, where it is claimed the propolis cake eliminated the pus very quickly.  For treating corns a thin layer of propolis was placed on the corn and then bandaged into place. Parents of newborn children were also advised to place a propolis cake on the belly button of newborn children and to rub their children’s toys with propolis.

A. B. Nikolaev refers to a traditional Georgian treatment for respiratory tract infections where finely ground propolis is inhaled by the sufferer.

Propolis & Honey Throat Spray

How is Propolis Used?

Due to its many properties such as anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and immune-boosting, propolis is used in relation to various conditions, which include:

  • Arthritis and muscular pain
  • Respiratory problems
  • Skin problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Stomach and digestive disorders
  • Cuts and burns
  • Immune Support
  • Oral health

Propolis is also used for general well-being maintenance.

Propolis can be used both internally and externally.

It can be taken in different forms internally, such as in liquid, tincture, capsule or tablet form.

It can be applied externally usually in the form of a topical cream to the affected area.

At The Dispensary shop and our sister on-line shop The Futurehealth Store we are pleased to stock the BeeVital range of Bee Medicines and Sweet Cecily’s skincare which includes an amazing soothing skin cream containing propolis.

The Beevital and Sweet Cecily brands are part of Nature’s Laboratory and are based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, within a couple of miles of our own shop.

In this way we source our products from trusted local, high quality suppliers and reduce our carbon footprint, helping the environment and supporting local enterprises.

Thank you to James Fearnley, international expert on propolis and Dr Philip Wander for information on propolis provided for the above blog post.

Sustainable Sourcing

At The Dispensary Shop we are keen to stock products which have been sustainably sourced wherever possible.

Here’s a little bit more about what a selection of our suppliers are doing to help sustainability

Amour Natural

We stock a wide range of aromatherapy products such as essential and carrier oils, diffusers and aroma-jewellery from Amour Natural.

Ethically Sourced Raw Materials

They work with suppliers who source ethically traded and sustainably sourced raw materials. Some raw materials are also wild harvested, for example the frankincense essential oil. However, wild harvesting is not always the best option due to sustainability concerns. For example sandalwood is now endangered so Amour source Sandalwood from a plantation in Australia therefore protecting the species from extinction.

Glass & Plastic

Amour uses glass packaging for the majority of its products, but uses fully recyclable plastic bottles for larger quantities to reduce breakages, reduce extra packaging material necessary to protect glass and for lower cost delivery.


They use biodegradable potato starch chips for their packing material. They can be placed in a bucket and water added so they disintegrate into a mush and then put on the compost heap or in a bin. They also use recycled paper to wrap the bottles.

Recycling & Upcycling

Amour recycle everything they can. They recycle all cardboard boxes that come into their warehouse and we pay a local person to take the majority of their non-recyclable oil drums and up-cycle them.

A Vogel

We stock a wide range of herbal medicines and food supplements from A. Vogel.

Environmental Sustainability

A.Vogel products are manufactured using methods that are as close to nature as possible. At the heart of their activities is a sustainable approach to natural resources.

Among the key features of A.Vogel products are the use of certified organic raw material grown in healthy soil, and the use of extracts from freshly harvested plants wherever possible.

Nature provides us with everything we need to safeguard and maintain our health. It is up to us how we use these treasures.

Alfred Vogel, founder of A. Vogel & Pioneer of Naturopathy (1902–1996)

A.Vogel websites powered by sustainably-produced electricity

A.Vogel websites are already in operation in 12 countries worldwide.

To keep the resources required for running the A.Vogel websites as low as possible, A.Vogel makes the best possible use of existing resources (CPUs, memory). When choosing hardware components too, maximum efficiency is the guiding principle so that as little electricity as possible is wasted as heat.

All of the websites’ servers can be found in one of Switzerland’s best computing centres which, as a member of the organisation known as “The Green Grid”, offers high standards of energy efficiency.

A.Vogel is supporting ecologically-produced electricity from PurePower Graubnden which generates its energy from water, sunlight, wind and bio-mass.

What has always been a matter of course for their herbal remedies and food products is now also being used for the globally-operational websites: the sustainable harnessing of natural resources lies at the heart of everything they do.


We stock a range of skincare and toothpastes from Weleda.

Environmental Sustainability

A tradition for more than nine decades, Weleda’s careful and thoughtful approach to the environment and its resources draws on the anthroposophic ideas of Rudolf Steiner and is indispensable for Weleda. But their environmental commitment does not stop there. It ranges from issues of biodiversity, through procurement of raw materials, use of natural resources and sustainable packaging, to water and waste reduction and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable use of raw materials

Weleda uses about 1,000 raw materials for medicinal and natural care products and they know that how they source and extract those raw materials has a significant impact on biodiversity. At the same time, they appreciate that only intact natural eco-systems provide soil and conditions of high enough quality to produce their natural raw materials.

That’s why more than 78% of the raw materials they use come from certified organic or biodynamic farming, or from controlled wild collection, a figure they continuously work to increase. This dedication to biological diversity is of the greatest importance to Weleda – without biodiversity there would be no Weleda products.

Environmentally-friendly use of natural resources

As with every company, water and energy are needed in the manufacturing process at Weleda. Their employees are committed to treat these resources with respect and they undergo continual process improvements such as re-using condensed water, which is fed back into the water cycle. Overall, the water consumption per kilogram of the manufactured product was reduced by a quarter (25%) in 2013.

They also work hard to reduce the company’s energy consumption. They can do this in direct and indirect ways – by optimisation of cooling and ventilation systems, reduction in floor and office area, better utilisation of available machines and other measures which improve efficiency. At the same time Weleda is increasing its use of renewable energy. 50.7% of their direct energy and 94.3% of their indirect energy came from renewable resources in 2013.

Biodynamic agriculture

The company’s own methods for the biodynamic cultivation of medicinal plants remain strongly traditional at Weleda. Biodynamic agriculture means that farming, livestock breeding, seed production and landscape maintenance are carried under anthroposophic principles.

At all their garden sites – in Europe and around the world – they implement these biodynamic routines to produce excellent quality raw materials at the same time as replenishing and maintaining the land and its numerous living communities, from microbes to wildlife.

Sustainable packaging

Sustainable packaging has to satisfy a range of requirements for Weleda. Of course it has to keep the products safe, but it must also be manufactured from sustainable materials and be recyclable once its packaging life is over. There is currently no ideal solution which meets all of those requirements. While they continue to research future solutions, Weleda endeavours to use packaging which is as sustainable as possible.

In 2012, they founded a cross-departmental team to create new packaging solutions. This resulted in a number of decisions which they implemented immediately – to use as much post-consumer recycled material as possible; to use Forest Stewardship Council certified boxes as much as possible; to switch from metallic foil to colour printing. They are also looking into replacing their iconic blue glass bottles with low environmental-impact plastic which is easier to recycle and more environmentally-costly to ship because of the package weight. Through regular discussions with packaging manufacturers and experts, the packaging is constantly being improved.

Organic North

We stock a range of fresh organic fruit and veg and organic free range eggs from Organic North.


Organic North is a member’s run co-operative, the largest and longest-established wholesalers of certified organic produce in the north. They explain that they’re on a mission to help mend our broken, wasteful and polluting food system. They’ve enjoyed close relationships with some of their farmers for over 25 years and they do things differently, with sustainability in mind – here’s how:

Low Waste

They run a unique pre-ordering system so they waste absolutely no produce and supply only the freshest produce. The majority of their produce is loose and plastic- free and they are always looking for compostable alternatives to any plastic that their growers use. They also run a return service for empty boxes so that they can be reused.

Seasonal and Local

Everything they provide is as locally sourced as possible and their import goods are almost exclusively European. They follow the seasons and if there’s a break in the supply of broccoli or green beans they don’t air freight them in from Kenya!

Baytown Coffee

We stock a wide range of beans and ground coffee from Baytown Coffee which is locally roasted near to Whitby.

Fairness and Sustainability

The beans are hand roasted and you can buy them either as beans or ground. The company puts importance on fairness and traceability and that growers are paid above the fair trade minimums, so they work directly with farmers and importers who share their values. They give an example of Coope Tarrazu RL, a Costa Rican cooperative that was established in 1970 by 228 small coffee farms. Now it’s a major contributor to the economic development of the Los Santos region of Tarrazu. Around 10,000 people work with the coop, most of whom grow coffee on land of less than four hectares. The coop looks after the interest of these small producers, providing a range of services including credit, agronomical and technical advice, sustainable prices, fertilisers and more.

Finally, there’s sustainability. Coffee’s no fun if someone is being let down somewhere along the line. So, they work hard to build trusting and sustainable relationships with everyone they come into contact with – whether that be growers, merchants or wholesale customers.

As Baytown Coffee is a local company, we are cutting down on transport costs and emissions, adding to overall sustainability.


We stock a range of wholefoods, supplements, skincare, and household products plus much more from Suma.


As an organisation committed to sustainability, Suma has always taken their environmental responsibility seriously. They invest in research and development to reduce their plastic usage, whether that’s for their own products or the materials they use to deliver their customers’ orders. At times they’ve even pushed boundaries by creating new kinds of reduced-plastic packaging. They have done a lot already and will keep on doing more.

What measures have they put in place to reduce plastic?

They have a host of measures in place, from how they develop their own product packaging to how they wrap their pallets. They have designed their entire prepack range of nearly 300 products to use 20% less
plastic packaging. They use 100% compostable wrap for their paper products. They sell a number of products, including their Ecoleaf cleaning range, in bulk refill drums, which they arrange to be recycled, and they recycle the wrap for their customers’ orders.

What more can be done in the future?

Suma has consistently explored sustainable alternatives to plastic and it’s good to see that government and industry more widely are beginning to see the importance now. There is so much more to be done. For their own part they will continue to invest in research and development that will help Suma reduce plastic usage in their products and warehouse, and they will keep a very close watch on wider developments.

Why is reducing plastic usage so important to Suma?

Suma has always focused on sustainability – it’s been their mission for over forty years – and minimising plastic use is core to their operations. What’s more, this commitment is mirrored by their customers, most of whom are organisations that use them because of their thoughtful and ethical approach, so it’s vital that plastic reduction is top-priority for Suma.

Yogi Tea

We stock a wide range of Yogi teas.


Yogi Teas are committed to sustainable practices and explain a bit more about how they are making a difference on a day-by-day basis below.

Heal and Revive

Yogi teas are sourced from 100% ecological farms and certified organic.

Organic farming is socially sustainable as well as being environmentally friendly.

Better for the Soil

Sustainable farming leads to healthy well-balanced soils, preventing pollution from pesticides or fertilisers for example and supports the water retention of the soil.

Organic farming has a smaller carbon footprint as no synthetic fertilisers are used. The lack of pesticides also allows for greater biodiversity.

No genetic modification of seeds, plants or fertilisers

Empower and Enrich

Acting sustainably is about looking forward to the future and making long-term plans in terms of ecological and social concerns. With partners in Sri Lanka, Yogi Tea have set up a long term vanilla project which will benefit local people for years to come and allow farmers to plan ahead.

Long-term Procurement

Yogi Tea is gradually introducing long term agreements with farmers to cover the majority of their procurement for the ingredients they need. That gives their partners the ability to plan for the long-term and make sustainable investments in their farming practices.

Sustainable Spices Initiative

Yogi Tea has joined forces with other like-minded companies in the Sustainable Spices Initiative, to develop lasting partnerships and forge increasingly sustainable approaches within the spices supply chain.

Ethical Tea Partnership

Yogi Tea is part of the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), the world’s leading organisation for promoting sustainability in the tea industry.

Nature’s Laboratory

We are pleased to be part of the initiative Threes Company with Nature’s Laboratory which includes other collaborators including The Beearc project, working together for a more sustainable and holistic future where we strive to balance economic, cultural and social impulses

The Natures Laboratory community has been directly involved in creating The International Forum for Sustainability of Medicinal Herbs. We stock high quality products from Beevital and Sweet Cecily’s which are both brands within the Nature’s Laboratory umbrella and both are based locally to us in Whitby, which means a reduction in our carbon footprint as orders are delivered from around one mile away! Nature’s Laboratory is a Living Wage employer committed to supporting sustainable employment for their community of workers.

Ethical & Eco-Friendly Shopping in Whitby

Where our Products come from

Here at The Futurehealth Store our LOVE ethos is at the heart of everything we do and we strive for this wherever possible:

  • Local
  • Organic
  • Vegetarian / Vegan
  • Ethical

Our Local Suppliers

We try to source as much as we can from local suppliers. See our blog of August 16th 2021 – Food, Drink, Natural Medicines and Crafts Produced in North Yorkshire.

We stock Medicines from the beehive – produced by Beevital in Whitby.

Natural skincare products – produced by Sweet Cecily’s in Whitby

Local honeys – from various local apiaries including Beezneez at Malton, Little Scout honey from Fryup in the Esk Valley, The Beeshed at Castleton and Will Atkinson at Egton.

Locally roasted coffee – produced by Baytown Coffee, near Whitby.

Organic vegetables – from Newfields Organic Farm, Fadmoor, near Helmsley.

Organic sourdough and yeasted bread from Breaking Bread Bakery – our joint project with Esk Valley Camphill Community, situated in a micro bakery at the rear of our shop on Skinner Street, Whitby.

Cards and books by local artists and authors.

Our Suppliers From Further Afield


We also stock a wide range of wholefoods, snacks, household items, candles and more from our main wholesale supplier Suma, which is based in West Yorkshire. Many of their products are organic and fair trade, they also stock a wide range of gluten free products.

Suma is a wholefood collective founded in 1977 by a liberally-minded group of people who believed there was a better way. They are passionate about vegetarian, natural and responsibly sourced products. They are one of the largest cooperatives of their kind in Europe, working together to improve society and support producers and customers.

At the heart of what Suma does is:

  • An ethical buying policy
  • Sustainably sourced products
  • A worker-owned cooperative
  • Vegetarian and vegan society approved.

We’ve been working with Suma for several years and are great fans of the way they work as a cooperative with the following values at the centre of their ethos:

  • Equality and Inclusion
  • Democracy & Solidarity
  • Dignity and Respect
  • Self-responsibility
  • Openness and Transparency
  • Innovation and Openness to change
  • Resilience
  • Well-being

A bit more about our products from Suma

The Range


We stock a wide range of dried pulses, seeds and grains, dried fruit and nuts, and pastas in addition to tinned wholefoods such as a wide variety of pulses, jackfruit and tomatoes. We stock a variety of oils for cooking in addition to coconut milk, creamed coconut, soya and other non-dairy milks, plus much more.

Flavour enhancers

We offer stock cubes, bouillon, yeast extract, nutritional yeast and miso, Thai and Indian curry pastes, pasta sauces and other condiments.


We stock biscuits, oatcakes and crispbreads, vegan and gluten free crisps & snack mixes.

Herbs and spices

We stock a wide range of herbs and spices from Asafoetida to Turmeric!


We stock a number of preserves, from fruit spreads & preserves, to sauerkraut and kimchi.

Cordials, drinks and juices

We stock a range of cordials, botanically brewed drinks and pressed juices.

Teas and coffees

We stock a wide range of herbal teas and organic teas, our main brands are Yogi, Heath & Heather and Pukka.

Chilled and frozen products

We stock vegan and dairy cheeses, vegan black puddings and polony, vegetarian/ vegan pies, pizzas, ice cream, veggie sausages, bacon & burgers, butter/ vegan spreads, tofu and much more.

Household cleaning products

We stock a wide range of environmentally friendly household products including washing up liquids, laundry liquids, fabric conditioner, sanitizer, bathroom cleaner, floor cleaner, hand wash, cloths and cleaning pads


We offer a refill station where you can bring your empty bottles and we will refill them for you. It’s cheaper and better for the environment. We can refill washing up liquid, laundry liquid, fabric conditioner, toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner and handwash, and we are aiming to increase the range of these products.

Flours and baking products

We stock a range of organic flours, such as bread flours, self-raising and plain flours, malted flours, rye flours, gluten free flours and gram flour.

Vitamins and supplements

We stock a variety of vitamins and other supplements, including a range which is administered in the form of an oral spray, especially useful for those who may have impaired digestive capacity, as the supplement is absorbed through the oral mucosa, bypassing the digestive system.

Hair and Skincare

We stock a wide range of Faith In Nature soaps of different scents, or unfragranced, in addition to Suma’s own brand of naturally fragranced glycerine soaps and a very popular and simple olive oil based soap. We also stock Faith In Nature shampoos and conditioner and Suma’s own brand of shampoo and conditioner bars which are very popular as they reduce the use of plastic bottles.

We also stock a range of Weleda skincare.


We stock a range of beautiful coloured candles – the spectrum of the rainbow – in addition to beeswax candles.

Sweets and chocolate

We stock delicious vegan chocolates, boxes of truffles, natural licorice, halva and herbal sweets.


Amour Natural are our stockists for aromatherapy and body care oils. They were established in 2012 in Glastonbury, Somerset. Their products are suitable for use by therapists, enthusiasts and beginners and are available in various sizes to suit differing needs and budgets. All the liquids are in light protecting amber glass bottles with tamper-evident dropper caps. For ease of use, some products have pipettes or spritz caps.

Not Tested On Animals

All the essential oils are therapeutic and 100% natural, and every batch is rigorously tested and certified. The products are not tested on animals and they do not contain any solvents, parabens, SLS, SLES, PEGs,PGs or mineral oil.

Endorsed By The Compassionate Shopping Guide

Amour Natural has been endorsed by the Naturewatch Foundation, verifying that Amour Natural is 100% cruelty free, and that in addition to none of their products or ingredients being tested on animals, they only work with suppliers who are completely cruelty free too.

They have a zero tolerance for animal testing in their entire supply chain.

We are very happy that our stockist has the same commitment to animal welfare that we do!

The Range

We stock a wide range of essential oils such as, lavender, tea tree, ylang ylang, rose, lemon, frankincense, myrrh, pine, rose geranium, may chang and many more.

We also stock a wide range of carrier oils such as sweet almond, argan, calendula, coconut and grapeseed.

Essential oil sprays such as rose, lavender and chamomile are very popular, in addition to combination oils to be applied topically such as joint and muscle ease and migra calm.

Roller balls of blended oils are also very popular such as Happiness, Energise, Sleep Ease & Breathe Ease.

During the pandemic the blended oil Defence has been very popular.

Looking forward to festive celebrations and gifts all year round, we also stock aroma necklaces from Amour Natural which are stainless steel in differing designs and include felt pads which can be infused with favourite essential oils which the wearer can smell all day.

We love Amour’s electric oil diffusers in white or wood effect. The white version can be set to show different coloured light, through the whole spectrum whilst the diffuser emits essential oil of your choice in a water vapour. We often have the happiness blend in our diffuser in the shop. The festive blend of essential oils cinnamon, clove, sweet orange and lemongrass is a lovely and warming aroma as winter sets in.


We stock a wide range of effective, scientifically proven herbal medicines, nutritional supplements and revitalizing food supplements from A. Vogel health brand based on fresh, organically grown herbs. The basis of Vogel is the ethos of its Swiss founder, Alfred Vogel (1902-1996) who said “ Nature gives us everything we need to protect and maintain our health.”

Vogel provides reliable, balanced information on natural healthcare, diet and lifestyle, giving people a better understanding of how you can help yourself achieve a more natural and healthy lifestyle.

We stock a wide range of Vogel’s herbal medicines, including immune supporting echinacea, menopause supporting preparations such as Menosan, digestive support, such as Digestisan, Arnica gel for muscle aches and pains, Agnus Castus to relieve the symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome, Devil’s Claw for rheumatic and muscular pain and backache, plus many more.


A good selection of our skincare products and toothpaste are from Weleda.

The Influence Of Anthroposophy On Weleda

Weleda has at its core a research method called Anthroposophy, which was founded by the philosopher and natural scientist Rudolf Steiner, together with like-minded colleagues.

Anthroposophy can be described as follows: Humans understand the world through their senses and the processes of their minds – the knowledge of these findings is called anthropology. Anthroposophy extends this to a spiritual level; humans can also perceive their environment with feelings and thoughts. Steiner called anthroposophy the wisdom of man, because in Greek Anthropos means man and Sophia means wisdom.

The goal of anthroposophy is the development of the whole human being. Today it has branches in many areas including education, architecture, art, medicine and agriculture. At Steiner’s instigation, the following emerged – Waldorf (sometimes called Steiner) schools and kindergartens, Anthroposophic medicine, natural body care products and biodynamic farming. All of these disciplines are still integral to Weleda today. The company sees humans, society and nature as a holistic whole, bound together by the relationship between daily activities and nature. This is evident in the manufacture of their medicinal products, natural cosmetics, or dealings with partners, suppliers and employees.

We share the same core values and are delighted to stock Weleda’s high-quality products.

Weleda’s products are 100% certified natural care, free from mineral oil, parabens, silicones and PEGs, synthetic fragrances, Genetically Modified ingredients and microplastic ingredients, 80% of botanicals are certified organic, there is ethical sourcing with respect for people and biodiversity and no animal testing.

We stock a range of Weleda deodorants, body washes, skin cream and toothpaste.


Our main range of vitamins and supplements are produced by Lamberts which was established in 1982 and is the UK’s leading supplier of food supplements to Practitioners, GPs, Nutritionists and Pharmacists who use nutrition in healthcare. They offer an extensive product range including vitamins, minerals, herbs, multiple formulas, evening primrose oil and glucosamine as well as more specialised products such as Co-Enzyme Q10.

All their products are of the highest quality, produced in some of the most modern and technically advanced factories in the UK, which operate to stringent pharmaceutical standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and are approved by the UK Department of Health, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Lamberts have given us these assurances for their quality products which are endorsed by professionals in healthcare:

  • We list all ingredients on the label
  • We have always quoted elemental mineral levels
  • We always describe nutrient levels correctly e.g. Glucosamine, B Vitamins and Lutein
  • When we say Pharmaceutical GMP – it is true!
  • We do not claim irrelevant nutrients on our labels
  • We do not sell endangered herbs collected in the wild

In addition, Lambert’s products are backed up by a technical advice team, there to answer any queries on a product’s suitability, a specific health condition or to provide independent nutritional data.


Our organic fruit and veg comes from Newfields Organic Farm, a local farm at Fadmoor, and also from Organic North, an organic wholesale produce co-operative based in Manchester. Once a week we place an order with the team at Organic North for fruit veg, milk, organic free range eggs and occasionally organic olive oil. As they are visiting Fadmoor every week, they drop off our order there, so that we can pick it up along with any other fruit and veg we need from the farm. We really appreciate the warm and direct relationship we have with these suppliers.

Organic North is a member’s run co-operative, the largest and longest-established wholesalers of certified organic produce in the north. They explain that they’re on a mission to help mend our broken, wasteful and polluting food system. They’ve enjoyed close relationships with some of their farmers for over 25 years and they do things differently, here’s how:

Low Waste

They run a unique pre-ordering system so they waste absolutely no produce and supply only the freshest produce. The majority of their produce is loose and plastic-free and they are always looking for compostable alternatives to any plastic that their growers use. They also run a return service for empty boxes so that they can be reused.

Fair and competitively priced

As a co-op they have no private shareholders which allows them to keep mark-ups lower, pay the staff well and settle suppliers’ invoices quickly.

Huge range

Organic North offer a wide choice to customers year-round. Their weekly offering is the largest in the UK.

Seasonal and local

Everything they provide is as locally sourced as possible and their import goods are almost exclusively European. They follow the seasons and if there’s a break in the supply of broccoli or green beans they don’t air freight them in from Kenya!


They help to establish new growers and support them by providing them with a route to market for their crops, whilst working alongside many fellow co-ops, community interest groups and charities.

Our shop

We hope this has given you a taste (no pun intended 😊) of what our not-for-profit health shop has to offer. We haven’t been able to list all our products here, only a selection, but you will always receive a warm welcome to our shop if you’d like to call in and see us, have a chat and browse, or stay and peruse our online shop right here.

Our work for Animal welfare

Our work with Compassion In World Farming

The Dispensary shop only stocks vegan and vegetarian products. We are committed to working for the ethical and humane treatment of animals and several years ago we started a local support group for Compassion In World Farming, Whitby Compassionate Food, find us here.

Compassion in World Farming was founded in 1967 by a British dairy farmer who became horrified at the development of intensive factory farming. Today, Compassion is the leading farm animal welfare organisation dedicated to ending factory farming and achieving humane and sustainable food. With headquarters in the UK, they have offices across Europe, in the US, China and South Africa.

We have worked to support the principles of the humane and respectful treatment of all sentient creatures and in our work with Compassion In World Farming our campaigns have been focused on Compassion’s mission which they outline below:

We believe every farm animal deserves a life worth living, free from cages, confinement, and suffering: free to roam and express their natural behaviours. The welfare and wellbeing of these intelligent, sensitive creatures is at the heart of all we do. 

In addition to causing immense animal suffering, factory farming is also extremely harmful to human and environmental health. So by campaigning to end it, we’re helping to shape a better future for animals, people and the planet.

Compassion in World Farming, 2021

Each year on June 14th we have taken action for Global Ban Live Transport Day, from petitions on the street, to awareness days in our shop, to displaying Martin the calf in our shop window with his message to Ban Live Exports.

Martin the calf

This year we sent this message to our members.

Worldwide, every year, millions of farm animals are forced to endure journeys of hundreds, or even thousands of miles, from countries with animal protection laws to those that have none, where they face terrible abuse.

14 June 2015 marks a live export tragedy where 13,000 sheep lost their lives. These sheep had been loaded onto the Trust1 cargo ship in Romania, initially they were taken to Jordan where it was reported that over 5,000 sheep had died from dehydration, starvation and exhaustion.

The Trust1 eventually set sail again – attempting, unsuccessfully, to dock at numerous ports over the next two weeks. By the 14 June the Trust1 finally docked in Somalia, by this point all 13,000 of the sheep had lost their lives.

Since this tragic event, similar live-exports-related disasters have occurred on almost a yearly basis all over the world. This year we’re also saying “never again” on behalf of the over 2,500 calves killed following the Karim Allah & Elbeik ships’ disaster, after over 2 months trapped at sea, as well as the hundreds of thousands of animals that suffered during the Suez Canal blockage. Both incidents took place in the first few months of 2021. Every year animal activists from around the world come together on 14 June to call for an end to this abhorrent trade. And there’s hope for a better future – just weeks ago New Zealand banned all live exports by sea. Now we need other countries to do the same. Enough is enough – It is time to #BanLiveExports

Years of campaigning have paid off as now the UK will become the first European country to end live exports.

The second Animal Welfare Bill was launched on 8th June as part of the government’s ambition to ‘protect pets, livestock and wild animals’.

On live exports, DEFRA said the practice caused farm animals to experience ‘distress and injury’ due to ‘excessively long journeys during export’.

“We will become the first European country to end this practice,” Defra explained.

“EU rules prevented any changes to these journeys, but the UK government is now free to pursue plans which would see a ban on the export of live animals for slaughter and fattening.”

The announcement was the second piece of legislation introduced recently aimed at boosting animal welfare.

It followed the government’s decision to formally recognise animals as sentient in law through the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill.

Though this has been hugely encouraging, we still have much work to do to ensure that no farm animal suffers here or abroad. It is a big task but if we work together, we can make a big difference.

We are privileged to work with such a dedicated team at Compassion In World Farming. Their many campaigns include:

Banning the caging of farm animals, banning the export of live animals, rethinking fish as sentient creatures, capable of suffering and feeling pain, campaign for honest food labelling, campaign to highlight the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming and more.

Please visit for more info on how to help create a better world for farm animals  and if you would like to join us in our local group please contact us at we would love to hear from you.

Our work with Crustacean Compassion

Having grown up and lived in the Whitby area for most of my life, and as someone concerned with animal welfare, the fate of crabs and lobsters has been something that troubled me greatly. One particular evening early in a winter lockdown last year I saw an open – backed van containing crates of live crabs on the street near our shop. I went to get our car hoping to catch the driver and negotiate their release somehow, but on my return the van had gone. It left me with a deep sense of responsibility – that I needed to do something to help these vulnerable creatures who are routinely exposed to cruelty and inhumane slaughtering on a scale that would cause an outcry if it was meted out to a vertebrate. There is overwhelming evidence, supported by the British Veterinary Association that these animals feel pain.  I searched the internet and came across Crustacean Compassion, an award-winning organisation dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans, (which include crabs, lobsters, prawns and crayfish).

Since then we have been working with Crustacean Compassion to bring about a change in the law which would mean crustaceans are protected by Animal Welfare legislation and cannot be, for instance boiled whilst alive and fully conscious.

We had a letter published in our local newspaper The Whitby Gazette early in 2021 and then very recently an article in the same paper, the text of which is below:

It’s time to protect some of our most vulnerable animals

On the 11 May 2021, the government announced a raft of animal welfare reforms, including the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which will ensure animals are recognised as sentient beings that experience feelings. This important piece of legislation could protect animals throughout the UK, post Brexit. 

However, many people are concerned that some of our most vulnerable animals might be omitted from the Bill – decapod crustaceans.  As a coastal town, these animals have a special significance for Whitby.

Decapods, including crabs and lobsters, are now widely regarded in the scientific community as sentient animals, capable of feeling pain. They are protected in the animal welfare legislation of several other countries, but not yet in the UK.

Crustacean Compassion is an award-winning organisation, dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans. Many leading experts, professional bodies and animal welfare organisations, including the British Veterinary Association, supported Crustacean Compassion’s campaign to protect decapod crustaceans.

As a result, Defra commissioned an investigation into whether decapods (and cephalopods) are sentient animals, capable of feeling pain. This was completed last year, yet the findings have not yet been publicly released, resulting in a danger that these animals may be excluded from animal welfare legislation, including the Sentience Bill and Animal Welfare Act.

The Sentience Bill could provide the first ever reprieve for the millions of decapods who are boiled alive, or are otherwise killed in brutal ways without any pre-slaughter stunning. An edible crab, boiled alive, may remain conscious for at least three minutes.

Maisie Tomlinson, co-founder and co-Director of Crustacean Compassion said:

“We know that many people in coastal communities such as Whitby now feel that cramming animals into brightly lit and overcrowded tanks, leaving them for hours out in the sun, and sending them to processors who will boil them alive is no longer acceptable, now that their ability to feel pain and suffer is so widely accepted. We urge Defra to release the report into decapod sentience, and encourage the fishing and food industry to work with us to find solutions that put high welfare British shellfish on the map” 

Please write to your MP, requesting that s/he contacts Defra Minister Zac Goldsmith urging him to ensure decapod crustaceans are included in the definition of ‘animal’ in the Sentience Bill and any other relevant legislation.

You can use this link to send an email to your MP.

We have been privileged to support and help Crustacean Compassion which is run by a team of wonderfully dedicated people for whom we have so much respect. In their own words, they explain who they are and what they do:

Crustacean Compassion is an award-winning animal welfare organisation dedicated to the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans. We are a group of animal welfare professionals who are shocked by the inhumane treatment of crabs, lobsters, prawns and crayfish, particularly in the food industry, given what is now known about their sentience. We founded the organisation when we heard that crabs were being sold alive fully immobilised in shrinkwrap in a UK supermarket; and that the RSPCA were powerless to act as the animals were not covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Now we engage with legislators and policy makers to strengthen and enforce animal welfare law and policy; we work to persuade and enable companies to sell higher welfare products across their shellfish product ranges; and we seek to educate both the public and policy makers on the science of decapod crustacean sentience and on their humane treatment and care.

Our work is grounded in scientific evidence. Furthermore, we do not campaign against the use of decapod crustaceans as food. We welcome good practice in the food industry and merely believe that all sentient creatures deserve humane treatment, determined by the needs of their species. The sentience of any animal can never be 100% conclusively proven, but where doubt still exists alongside strong positive evidence, we believe that the benefit of the doubt should apply and simple measures should be taken to ensure that no animal suffers needlessly for our plates.

Crustacean Compassion, 2021

If you would like to find out more and support the work of Crustacean Compassion please visit

There are many actions you can take which could have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the lives of millions of crustaceans.

Our other support for animal welfare work

In addition to our work with Compassion In World Farming and Crustacean Compassion we collect money for several animal welfare charities such as

  • Our local Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary, which does a brilliant job of caring for wildlife in need. In their own words –
    Providing a rescue, rehabilitation and release service for wild animals in Yorkshire and County Durham. We regularly take injured wild animals we find to Alex and her team at the sanctuary. It’s really wonderful to have such a dedicated charity so close to us.
  • SPANA – in their own words – Established in 1923, SPANA’s goal is simple: to improve the welfare of working animals in the world’s poorest communities. Through three key areas – treatingtraining and teaching – we’re inspiring others to act in the best interests of working animals while also providing practical, professional and sustainable solutions today. We recognise that the fortunes of working animals and people go hand in hand: in the developing world, just one working animal can support an extended family of up to 30 people. SPANA’s work improves the lives of working animals while supporting the communities that depend on them. We rely entirely on our loyal supporters to help us in our huge but vital task.
  • NAVS – National Anti-Vivisection Society – in their own words: The National Anti-Vivisection Society, founded in 1875, is the world’s first body to challenge the use of animals in research and continues to lead the campaign today. NAVS has spearheaded the adoption of advanced, non-animal methods; exposed laboratory animal suffering and breaches of regulations with our undercover investigations; funded non-animal scientific and medical research; educated public and media about the flaws of animal research and provided legislators detailed briefings to support the replacement of animals in research with advanced methods.

We would like to thank all of you who support our work to improve the welfare of animals. There is so much suffering and so much still to change, but together, step by step we can make a huge difference.

We can be a light in the world for all sentient creatures.

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”

The Dalai Lama

Food, Drink, Natural Medicines and Crafts Produced in North Yorkshire

At The Dispensary shop and our sister online shop The Futurehealth Store, we are committed to LOVE – Local, Organic, Vegetarian/Vegan and Ethical wherever possible!

We stock a range of locally sourced products which include:

  • Medicines from the beehive – produced by Beevital in Whitby.
  • Natural skincare products – produced by Sweet Cecily’s in Whitby
  • Local honeys – from various local apiaries including Beezneez at Malton, Little Scout honey from Fryup in the Esk Valley, The Beeshed at Castleton and Will Atkinson at Egton.
  • Locally roasted coffee – produced by Baytown Coffee, near Whitby.
  • Organic vegetables – from Newfields Organic Farm, Fadmoor, near Helmsley.
  • Organic sourdough and yeasted bread from Breaking Bread Bakery – our joint project with Esk Valley Camphill Community, situated in a micro bakery at the rear of our shop on Skinner Street, Whitby.
  • Cards and books by local artists and authors.

Beevital – medicines from the beehive.

Beevital is based in Whitby and is a brand of medicines and supplements, known as apiceuticals, which come from the beehive. Beevital is part of Nature’s Laboratory, where CEO James Fearnley has been researching and making natural medicines for over 30 years. James is also a director of Common Cause which runs The Dispensary Health Shop and Futurehealth Store. James brings a wealth of expertise and experience in regard to bee medicines as he has written two books on the subject of propolis, has been involved in research into propolis with several universities and spoken on the subject at many international conferences.

BeeVital Propolis Products

Propolis is a resinous substance that honeybees produce. They gather resins from trees and plants, then process it through their own bodies into a sticky substance which they use to keep the hive free from infection. Propolis has been found to have therapeutic uses in humans too, having anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, immune-boosting and other beneficial properties. James has also been instrumental in setting up the organisation IPRG (International Propolis Research Group) which has organised international conferences on the subject of propolis, he also sits as the representative for the UK on the ISO committee looking at standards for propolis. Beevital is a world leader in propolis research and uses this expertise to develop natural medicines to aid a range of common health complaints in addition to specific products to support oral health. We are very happy that we are able to offer these products for sale in our health shop in Whitby and through our sister online shop Futurehealth Store. We stock propolis in many different forms tincture, liquid, water soluble, tablets, capsules, throat sprays, cream, lip balm, mouthwash, toothpaste, B-Gel (a ground-breaking gel which sticks to the oral mucosa) and propolis honey. We also stock Beevital pollen which is an amazing natural food containing a range of substances including vitamins, minerals and protein. We stock pollen in granules, capsules and as pollen honey.

Sweet Cecily’s

Sweet Cecily’s is a pioneering natural skincare company which is based in Whitby. It is part of Nature’s Laboratory and produces a range of high quality natural skincare products including hand and face creams, lip balms, toners, body butters, face masks, soothing bath infusions and very popular Make–Your-Own kits for products such as face masks, lip balms and body scrubs. The Sweet Cecily’s team strives to produce products free from harmful additives and all their products are produced in small batches with great care taken to ensure high quality.

Sweet Cecily’s use various kinds of plants and herbs known for their beneficial properties regarding skincare. They also produce a popular soothing skin cream which contains propolis, well-known of its antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory effects.

Sweet Cecily’s Natural Skincare

As well as being effective skincare products the Sweet Cecily’s range is beautifully packaged and very popular as gifts, especially the fun lip balms (in flavours which include espresso martini, earl grey, gin & tonic, plus many more) and the make your own lip balm kits which have proved a hit as Christmas presents with the young and not so young!

Local Honeys

We are very grateful to the honeybee for producing such health-giving and beautiful honey and sharing some of it with us. We regard the honeybee as an extraordinary and complex being and are indebted to its selfless work of pollination without which our food supply would soon diminish.

We pride ourselves on stocking honeys local to our area surrounding Whitby and the area of the North York Moors.

One of our main suppliers of local honey is the Beezneez Apiary which is situated near Malton, on their own fruit farm and is run by Allan and his family.


We stock a range of Beezneez honeys, which is always very popular, and includes a runny flower honey, a soft set honey, a moors honey (you can smell the heather fragrance) and a variety of smaller honeys with a twist –  honeys with ginger, whisky, chilli and aniseed.

When available we also stock beautiful local honeys from Julie at Little Scout Honey, Marion at The Bee Shed and Will from Egton. These honeys are available in smaller quantities and are keenly sought after.

Baytown Coffee

We have supported the Baytown Coffee Company since they first came into being in 2013, when we ran our health shop from a smaller premises on Hunter Street in Whitby. It was started by four friends who wanted to provide good quality and ethically produced coffee on the Yorkshire Coast. Although a fairly young company, the people involved have a lot of coffee expertise, being linked with HR Higgins Ltd suppliers of coffee to the Queen. The beans are hand roasted and you can buy them either as beans or ground. The company puts importance on fairness and traceability and that growers are paid above the fair trade minimums, so they work directly with farmers and importers who share their values. They give an example of Coope Tarrazu RL, a Costa Rican cooperative that was established in 1970 by 228 small coffee farms. Now it’s a major contributor to the economic development of the Los Santos region of Tarrazu. Around 10,000 people work with the coop, which looks after the interest of these small producers.

Baytown Coffee believes it has a moral responsibility to make a positive social impact on the communities in which it operates, whether that be the Yorkshire coast or the places it buys its coffee from. At the moment it is working with Dalewood, a charitable trust, which offers support services for adults with learning disabilities in the Whitby area. Baytown coffee is working with Dalewood on its café and communications to increase its appeal and income.

In The Dispensary shop we stock a range of Baytown Coffee in both beans and ground varieties.

The most popular is definitely Boggle Hole, a deep robust coffee, followed by The Bolts, an intense espresso, but closely chased by Albion Street, with ripe cherry tones, Coxswain (a donation is made to the lifeboat charity for every sale), Ness Point (Decaff) and Bay Bank (Organic). The Jingle Blend at Christmas is also seasonally popular with its flavours of spices and nuts and a hint of chocolate orange.

Organic vegetables from Newfields Farm, Fadmoor

Every Tuesday afternoon one of the team drives over to Newfields Organic Farm at Fadmoor and picks up a selection of vegetables that have been grown on the farm. Recently we have had some delicious bunched carrots, beetroot, onions, cabbages and kale. While we are there we also pick up an order from wholesaler Organic North, which includes items we cannot get locally such as lemons, figs, oranges, bananas and other fruit and veg from farther afield. We also pick up organic free range eggs and milk. Our display of organic fruit and vegetables is impressive and we have a steadily growing local following, which we would like to increase!

Organic sourdough and yeasted breads from Breaking Bread Bakery, Whitby

The bakery opened in 2018 and in January 2019 Lukas, Daniel and Ruairidh proudly carried through our first organic sourdough breads for sale in The Dispensary health shop. Baked in our micro bakery at the back of the shop, they were the first produce of Breaking Bread Bakery – a joint project between the Esk Valley Camphill Community* and Common Cause Community Interest Company (which runs The Dispensary shop).

It was an emotional moment. Years of planning, followed by crowd-funding and private donations, converting, equipping and testing had brought us to that special day. The loaves smelled magnificent. I watched our customers reactions as they wandered into the shop. They stopped, took a deep breath and smelled the air, remarked on the beautiful aroma of freshly baked bread and admired the crusty loaves as we described each type in detail. There’s a trio of sourdoughs; Country Seeded, Czech Sourdough (specially from our baker Lukas who hails from the Czech Republic), and Volkornbrot, a dark German rye bread. In addition some prefer our large yeasted Malthouse bread, perfect for toast. We now also offer wholemeal and gluten free loaves on certain days.

Our Bread

I am moved by how fundamental good bread is to nourishing not only our physical bodies, but our souls. Customers share their memories, indeed often smelling and holding the bread in a way reminiscent of childhood, hugging the parcel to themselves like a treasure and commenting that it probably won’t last until they get home. It has been described by some as the staff of life and we see this connection rekindled. Our customers are delighted to share their own experiences of baking. Bread is again personal, we have a relationship with it, we know where it is made and who is making it. We know it is made with love, care and a reverence for the craft and the place that bread holds for us, in our culture, in our psyche, and in our hearts.

At present Breaking Bread bakes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and supplies our not for profit shop, The Dispensary, at 25 Skinner Street, Whitby, Danby Health Shop and the Esk Valley Camphill Community, in addition to Lythe Community shop and The Railway Community Shop. We are in the process of reaching out to other shops and cafes and intend to expand our production, once we have an additional oven. We also hope to open up opportunities for our communities to get more involved with the baking and also, in time, to offer classes and workshops in baking. If you’re interested in ordering bread, finding out more or getting involved, contact us at

All our bread is baked using certified organic flour.

*Esk Valley Camphill Community is a not-for-profit organisation where people of all abilities have chosen to live, work and celebrate life together. The community comprises 19 households in Danby Dale and runs Danby Health Shop, a bio-dynamic garden and a craft room.

Cards and books by local artists and authors

We are very pleased to be able to showcase some of the area’s local talent in the form of cards by local artists and books by local authors.

We stock beautiful Anne Ward cards which are a variety of hand-painted and printed cards depicting scenes from the coast and Esk Valley. Anne very recently moved away from Whitby, but she lived in the area for many years and her cards are so popular and expressive of the local landscapes that we wanted to continue stocking them.

We also stock cards and books by local artist and author Maria Silmon. Maria works in the mediums of photography and montage, creating images inspired by the natural world. Her overriding passion and inspiration is an observance of the life force and energy inherent in all things.  Her curiosity leads her to explore the paths of energy within the earth, to the awe-inspiring formation of rock, and flower, water and  air – as well as the energy field of the human being. She explains ”I find my inspiration from walks in nature, in forests, on cliff tops looking out to sea, sitting under the stars and under moons, and ambling through areas of wilderness and  flowers.” All of Maria’s work is produced with earth-conscious means, and carry earth, people and animal-friendly credentials.

We also stock popular Whitby Celtic themed cards by Anthony Hodgson who is originally from the local area.

We stock a small selection of books by local authors, including writers Elizabeth Cheyne whose work includes the history of theatre in Whitby and Alastair Laurence, a local historian who has written books on local villages including Egton and Danby.

Finally, we are always open to stocking new local products that are in keeping with our ethos, such as keyrings, from our youngest supplier, Edmund, who handmakes these very useful items and is also a keen bird-watcher!

Our Shop in Whitby

Like all good stories, the story of The Dispensary and Futurehealth Store has seen some highs, some lows and major challenges but the thread running through our story has been one of perseverance, the warmth of humanity when it’s at its best and some wonderful moments that have delighted us and reinforced our belief in what we’re doing.

Common Cause Community Interest Company, which is not for profit, runs The Dispensary. The Dispensary is a community health initiative in Whitby North Yorkshire, which includes a health shop, community library, jointly run community bakery and hub for supporting local and national initiatives as well as hosting local events. The Futurehealth Store is our online shop linked to the physical shop and runs with the same ethics. The Dispensary was the impulse of James Fearnley, who believes that we cannot be truly healthy unless we are healthy in all realms of our lives, in the realms of the social, cultural, physical and economical. James is an anthroposophist. Anthroposophy is a way of researching and inquiring rather than a fixed set of ideas. Integral to understanding anthroposophy are the teachings of Rudolf Steiner, who explained that there is a fundamental social law and that any arrangement in a community that is contrary to this law will inevitably produce distress and want:

“The well-being of a community of people working together will be the greater, the less the individual claims for himself the proceeds of his work; that is, the more of these proceeds he makes over to his fellow-workers, and the more his own needs are satisfied, not as the result of his own work but as the result of the work done by others”

Rudolf Steiner

I am Lucy, James‘s partner and together we began The Dispensary shop back in 2012 in a very small premises on a side street in Whitby called Hunter Street.

For us, the impulse propelling the idea forward was very important, that is, to try to balance out the way we live and look after ourselves, each other, our environment and other sentient beings. We were not setting out to put economic viability at the forefront of what we did. We set out to try and help people to take back responsibility for their own health and to see that although at present money is a significant factor in most of our lives, it has become the most important and weighty issue for many, to the detriment of relationships, spiritual happiness and for many, physical health.

I must admit, there was some scepticism amongst the circles of people we know as to the viability of such a project. Many could not understand it, as it sat outside the parameters of a usual “business” where we would spend inordinate amounts of time on community projects and relationship building rather than focusing on things that would help us to be sustainable financially. We were lucky initially to be awarded some grant funding which allowed us to offer some paid positions for a period of time, however, after this we put our own money in many times to keep the project going.

We both believe that if you are truly doing the right thing, from your heart, then it doesn’t matter whether you see success in conventional terms. We believe that if an impulse is truly meant to be, then to start it is the important thing and its fruition may come next week, next year, or not even in our own lifetimes, but the important thing is to begin.

As Goethe said:

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

And so, we started The Dispensary shop at 6 Hunter Street, Whitby, in a tiny ground floor room, with a community library on the first floor and an office on the top floor. At first we stocked a very small range of products, such as essential and carrier oils, natural supplements and medicines from the beehive such as propolis and pollen products, in addition to honey. One of our major impulses was to try and help people take back responsibility for their own health. We developed information sheets on various natural products and remedies and encouraged visitors to the shop to consult our extensive range of books in the community library in addition to searching for information online if they wished.

In our time it is a challenge to listen to our own bodies and intuition, we have become separated from the deep instinctive knowledge that we have and very often look to others for the answers. Of course, there is a time and place to seek further help, but many times we have the resolution to our ailments within ourselves if we can recognise this and act accordingly.

We offered people a chance to join our community for free, to receive a 5% dividend on anything they bought and receive mail outs from us about events and activities we were organising or initiatives we felt they may be interested in. We were instrumental in developing the community organisation We Are Whitby and were integral to planning and putting on Whitby Winterfest, a celebration of community at Christmas, with stalls, activities, performances and much more. We also facilitated regular health related initiatives such as meditation sessions, movement therapy and Biomusica sessions.

On 8th December 2012 David Bellamy, now sadly passed away, launched The Dispensary at a community event in The Coliseum venue in Whitby. We arranged for local practitioners to give ten-minute talks in different realms of promoting whole health, such as counselling, reflexology, bee medicines, medical herbalism in addition to poetry, crafts, movement therapy and many more. These talks can be found on The Dispensary website under the sections physical, social, economic and cultural. We sold good food and health products and let people know about our Dispensary initiative. The day was a great success, where we met many local and not so local people and chatted about our and their ideas concerning health, what it means and where we are headed.

Through James’s link with Botton Village, a local Camphill community, we gradually branched out into providing products from this community. Camphill communities are based on anthroposophical ideas where disabled and non-disabled people live, work and celebrate life together.  Botton Village produced bread, cheese, jams and crafts, all hand -made by the community and we offered these as part of our range of products in the shop. It also gave us the opportunity to tell customers about the Camphill Community and a different way of living together.

We soon became involved in a struggle to support Botton Village and James was integral to a group “Action for Botton” which sought to help the village defend its way of life where disabled and non disabled community members lived and worked together. The battle was high profile and went to the High Court. There is not sufficient space in this article to explain the David and Goliath struggle which took place. The cost was high, not only financially but also physically and emotionally for many people. If you’re interested in finding out more please visit Action For Botton.

The result was that the Botton Village community split in two and a new Camphill Community, The Esk Valley Camphill Community emerged who live and work, disabled and non-disabled people together under the auspices of a Shared Lives Scheme, whilst the other half live supported by care workers.

We focused on our links with the new Esk Valley Camphill Community, whose ethos we shared and began to wonder if it would be possible to open a community bakery as a joint project between ourselves and the Esk Valley Camphill Community. In 2016 a larger shop on Skinner Street, a busier street nearby, became available and we were fortunate to be able to move there. It was quite a leap of faith, as we had and continue to have some valuable and very much appreciated help at times, but no permanent addition to our team of two.

The move made our shop and community library much more accessible, as it was in a larger space on ground level. The premises at number 25 Skinner Street had been the photographic studio of the famous Victorian photographer Frank Meadow Sutcliffe and we felt it was a special space imbued with a great deal of history. In our larger space we were able to offer a more varied range and branched out into chilled and frozen products, some children’s clothing and expanded our wholefood, natural skincare, supplement and remedy range. LOVE became our byword – Local Organic Vegan or Vegetarian and Ethical wherever possible.

We settled into our new place and welcomed members of the community in, people helped in different ways and became part of our community, one person came every day and registered all our community library books online so that anyone can look on our Dispensary website and search to see if we have a book available and if they are a member they can borrow it free of charge (this has been put on hold temporarily during the pandemic but we will get back to lending books again soon). We very much appreciated the community of people that grew up and shared in our initiative. We made soup every lunchtime and invited anyone who was around and wanted to, to join us for soup and bread, We had some very nice and warm times around a big table during those lunch breaks at the shop.

The flat at the back of the shop became available to rent and we took on the tenancy, with a view that our idea of a community bakery with the Esk Valley Camphill Community could come to fruition. After much planning, meetings, fundraising and alteration work, we were ready, and opened late 2018. Breaking Bread Bakery was born. I remember the first days of the bakery, when the bakers brought out the first loaves, still warm from the oven and the customers picked up the loaves and in holding them, were really transported by such a simple but pure delight of handmade, warm bread. It brought home to me the true meaning of bread as the staff of life and for me it was a moving and spiritual experience.

We arranged the shop space so that we could move everything to the sides very easily and put chairs out for evening events and in this way we hosted events which included meditation courses, musical celebrations, talks by Lama Lhakpa Yeshe who is a Tibetan Buddhist monk, talks on nutritional health, courses on raw food and fermentation, vegan food tasting days and more. We’ve also supported local causes such as raising awareness and funds for a local child desperately in need of a stem cell donor.

We were also able to focus on our passion for animal welfare and founded the local Whitby support group for Compassion in World Farming, Whitby Compassionate Food. We hosted information days and petitions and took information and fund-raising stalls to local events raising awareness of the vital work that Compassion in World Farming does to end live export of animals and end the factory farming of animals. We use our prominent place on a busy street to get the message out there and mail out on these issues to our members. We have also recently become involved in working with Crustacean Compassion, an award wining organisation which campaigns for the humane treatment of decapod crustaceans, which include animals such as crabs and lobsters, and have been raising awareness of the suffering of these creatures and campaigning for their inclusion in animal welfare legislation which would offer them the protection they deserve.

When the pandemic struck, we were one of the few shops in Whitby classed as essential, as we sold food and health products and so with the help of wonderful volunteers, we stayed open throughout the entire pandemic, through every lock-down. It was through these times that we truly saw the benefit of what had grown through The Dispensary – a community initiative, there in times of need. People could come in and see a friendly human face in a world that had become frightening and isolating. Many had tears and felt reassured of our shop as a sign of stability and contact in a world that had turned on its head. Our bakers kept on baking, our volunteers kept on delivering to those who couldn’t get to the shop, and we witnessed at first hand a realisation of what matters, real community, kindness, not just to each other, but to our environment and every sentient being. As restrictions gradually ease, we hope that the realisations we first witnessed will not be lost in the rush to get “back to normal”, that we will perceive the harm we do to animals and nature and take greater care. We also hope that we will remember now, more than ever, that we have an innate wisdom regarding our own health, that we will ask questions, and once we know the answers, we will take back responsibility for our own health.

Dividend Points