Since man first began robbing bee-trees for honey, beeswax has been a highly prized commodity treasured for it’s many uses and healthful benefits. Beeswax is utilitarian, medicinal, and beautifying.
Beeswax through the ages
Both ancient Egyptians and Persians used beeswax when embalming the dead. When they conquered Corsica in 181 BC, the Romans demanded beeswax as tribute. And in Medieval Europe beeswax was used as a unit of trade for taxes.
What’s more, China’s favorite medicine book, “The Shen Nong Book of Herbs” listed beeswax as it’s top medicinal ingredient, praised for its beneficial influence on blood and energy systems, as well as overall balance to the body. The book also attributed beauty enhancement and anti-aging properties to beeswax.
The many uses of beeswax
Much like duct tape, beeswax has a thousand and one uses, from cosmetics and medicines to wood preservation, lubrication and binding. According to the North Carolina State University, beeswax makes a good insulator, and can be used in part in insulating electronic circuits. Beeswax is sometimes used to decrease viscosity and improve slip-casting properties when casting glass under pressure.
As a surfactant, beeswax reduces surface tension, allowing oils to penetrate wood or other surfaces (like leather), making it a great choice as an ingredient in wood polish and preservation.
Possessing non-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that make it useful for treating minor skin irritations, beeswax is not just a thickening agent to be used in skin creams and herbal salves. The Bastyr Center for Natural Health declared that beeswax can be mixed with other products to produce lotions and balms which serve as natural treatments against eczema and psoriasis.
Even after processing, beeswax remains a biologically active product, retaining some of its anti-bacterial properties and containing vitamin A, which fosters cell development.
Beeswax acts as an emollient and a humectant, helping to soften the skin, drawing moisture to the skin and sealing it in. And best of all, beeswax is “noncomedogenic” which means that it does not clog pores, making beeswax an ideal ingredient in lotions, salves, soaps, and any other product intended for the skin.
What’s not to love?
And to top it all off–beeswax smells fantastic–is all natural, and safe for your body as well as the environment. It’s such a valuable commodity that I’ve taken to carrying a paper bag to the apiaries with me, so that every little scrap of burr comb that I scrape from the hives can be saved and used in my soaps and salves, or whatever other project crops up along the way. Beeswax is truly a gift from nature to be prized.
How about you? Do you have a favorite way to use your beeswax? Leave your comments below to share your tips and suggestions with others. 🙂