Medicine Mama’s Apothecary is Healing in a Jar

05.10.2019 Arts & Culture
Anna Guilford
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The answer to your skin prayers is finally here, and it is true magic.

Medicine Mama’s Sweet Bee Magic allows dry, sunburnt, and irritated skin to reap the benefits of nature without harsh chemicals, fragrances, and dyes. By utilizing enzyme rich ingredients such as propolis, honey, and beeswax, Medicine Mama’s Apothecary founder Donna Steinmann celebrates the hard work of the bee in a universal skin balm.

She often found herself getting rashes, headaches, and hives from products that claimed to be all natural, but had hidden additives detrimental to her sensitive skin.

“I was literally told I just had to use water,” says Steinmann. “Nothing was organic back then.”

After years of dissatisfaction with various products causing her discomfort, the budding entrepreneur knew the only answer was to create her own, sensitive-skin friendly formula.

“I thought to myself, ‘What’s happening in nature? What has the most beautiful skin in nature?’” Steinmann recalls of her ingredient inspiration. “I realized it was the tree — it is immortal. Bees fly to trees and borrow resin, make propolis, and then fly it back to the hive.”

Her “aha” moment had happened; if bees source propolis and resin from trees which contain envious, youthful skin, then bees were the answer to safely obtaining the desired ingredients she needed.

After mastering the sustainable harvest of propolis from bees, Steinmann tested various formulas, temperatures, and techniques for four years until the perfect bee blend was born.

She gave her creations to anyone she could, simply for the joy of knowing she was healing peoples’ skin. While she had no intention of launching a business out of her natural balm, the overwhelming feedback she received planted the seed of an idea for expansion.

Her motivation peaked when she received a call from a Kaiser dermatologist who insisted on selling it in her office after having a patient whose skin was able to skip two entire burn cycles after having cancer spots removed.

Steinmann had no idea what to do until she showed her product to the head buyer for Lazy Acres and Bristol Farms, Steve Johnson. He instantly fell in love and urged her to create a brand name and logo so she could get into stores as soon as possible.

Thus, Donna Steinmann suddenly became the Medicine Mama of Medicine Mama’s Apothecary, and her blend of Sweet Bee Magic was ready for the masses.

“I didn’t understand what making a brand was,” she reflects of her naivety at the beginning. “I just knew people wanted my product, so I had to make it.”

Sweet Bee Magic quickly took over her kitchen and she was loving every second of it. Her passion for the product and the smell of oils flowing through her house made her high on happiness as she made the beautiful formula. “Those are some of my favorite memories,” she says with a smile about the early days.

While Steinmann’s original Sweet Bee Magic, All in One Healing Skin Cream is Medicine Mama’s most popular seller, the natural, magic ingredients are also available in the Skin Perfection Kit which includes an Ultra Facial Scrub, Zinc Facial Soap, and Ultra Beauty Balm.

And that’s not all… Medicine Mama’s natural genital care line includes V Magic Skin Balm and Wash which smooths irritation and discomfort in intimate areas with the addition of seabuckthorn and avocado oil.

After years of hard work, Steinmann now watches honeybees fly around her apothecary in Ojai, California, where her skincare is made fresh everyday in small batches — only as needed and not a drop more.  

Anna Guilford is a journalism and public relations senior at California State University, Long Beach. Intrigued by anything to make her face glow, she is running out of room to store all of her skincare. Reach Anna by email at or through her website.

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