Many (Many) Uses for Beeswax

| 11/23/2010 12:05:21 PM

Tags: Lauren Holt, Beeswax, Herbal Salves, Lip Balm, Crafts, Tips,

L.HoltI’ve recently gotten very attached to honey as my sweetener of choice, especially for tea, hot breakfast cereal and homemade bread. But today I want to share some information about another precious honey bee product: beeswax.

Bees use their wax to build honeycomb cells for the raising of young and storing of honey and pollen. For humans, beeswax has had many versatile uses throughout history. The ancient Egyptians used it to seal everything from boats to perfumes to sarcophagi. The ancient Greeks sculpted with it and the Romans used wooden tablets covered with beeswax for easy message writing and erasing. More recently, you consume beeswax every time you indulge in a handful of Jelly Bellies or Haribo Gummy Bears.

The Ancient Greeks used beeswax to make statues.
Photo by Shovelling Son/Courtesy Flickr 

Through the ages beeswax has come to be used for a variety of other purposes in both professional and domestic domains. Perhaps the most pervasive and recognizable presence in our lives is in beeswax candles, whether you’re more familiar with the dipped and herb-infused aromatherapy pillars, tiny tea lights or the often uneven hand-rolled sort you can make with a simple craft kit. Beeswax candles are often preferred for their pure light and scents without smoke. Due to the high price, however, many candles are made of a combination of beeswax and other candle waxes such as tallow.

The popularity of beeswax candles aside, this wax can be used in a number of home projects and crafts.

Herbal uses for beeswax include both cosmetic and medicinal applications. In cosmetics, beeswax is used to make lip balms such as this peppermint orange recipe and stains like this beet root coloring. Medicinal salves (try this one with skin-healing calendula), ointments and plasters also use beeswax to give the product texture, form and easy application as well as to moisturize and condition your skin. 

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