Beeswax (Apis cerana & Apis mellifera)
Type: thick, hard wax
Extraction Process: honeycomb taken from beehives
Main Constituents: 284 different compounds, mainly a variety of long-chain alkanes, acids, esters, polyesters and hydroxy esters. These include free cerotic acid (hexacosanoic acid, CH3(CH2)14COOH), the ester of cerotic acid and triacontanol (CH3(CH2)29OH), myricin (myricyl palmitate, CH3(CH2)14COO(CH2)12CH3), and hentriacontane, CH3(CH2)29CH3. Hentriacontane comprises 8-9% of beeswax, and its stability and impermeability to water contribute to the role it plays as a structural component.
- Stable chemical makeup that essentially remains constant over time (usable wax found in ancient tombs)
- Chemical formula: C15 H31 CO2 C30 H61
- Insoluble in water, density 0.958
- Becomes brittle below 18 C
- Becomes soft and pliable above 35 C to 40 C.
- Melting point 65 C
- Flash Point 204.4 C
Cautions: none, can be eaten and used on open wounds by anyone
Organs/Systems Affected: skin, immune, digestive, circulatory
- Candles and ornaments
- Lip balm
- Cosmetics and medicinal creams
- Foundation for new honeycomb in hives
- Slippage prevention for belts
- Waterproofs shoes, fishing lines
- Lubricant for doors, windows, tools
- Wax for skis, toboggans, bow strings
- Creates a freely moving surface on irons and frying pans
- Furniture finish and polish
- Soap making
- Beard and mustache wax
- Grafting wax
- Sealing on jams and jellies
- Reconstructive surgery
- Leather waterproofing
- “Lost-wax” method of casting
- Embalming procedures
Evidence: Today scientists are studying beeswax for its potential to lower cholesterol, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive ailments. A 2007 study also found that a purified constituent of beeswax may protect liver health because of the antioxidant effects.
- Protective: When applied to the skin, beeswax forms a protective barrier that helps protect it from environmental assaults, while also holding in moisture and reducing dryness. This is one of the reasons beeswax is often used in lip balms. Unlike ingredients made from petroleum, however, beeswax doesn’t “suffocate” the skin, and won’t clog pores.
- Antibacterial: Like honey, beeswax has antibacterial properties, helping keep skin clean and reducing the risks of contamination in the formula itself. In fact, a 2005 study found that a honey/beeswax mixture inhibited the growth of bacteria and fungus, making it a potential treatment for diaper rash and other bacterial skin conditions.
- Humectant: Some ingredients “attract” water, and beeswax is one of them. When you put it on, you attract water molecules, helping to keep skin hydrated over time.
- Vitamin A: A good source of this vitamin, beeswax helps support cell turnover and reconstruction.
- Fragrance: We always say there’s no reason to use harsh chemicals to make products smell good. Natural ingredients work so much better! Beeswax has a natural honey fragrance, and is a favorite in soaps and perfumes because of its pleasant, light aroma.
- Wound healing: Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, beeswax has been found to help encourage the healing of wounds. Studies have even found that it may be effective against hemorrhoids.
- Itching: If you suffer from dry skin itching, dermatitis, eczema, or any type of itching related to a skin condition, beeswax is for you. A study published in 2012 found that those patients who suffered serious burns, and later went through “post-burn itch” when the burns were healing, experienced relief with an herbal oil cream and beeswax combination, so much so that they were able to cut back on their use of medications for the itch. Because beeswax is anti-allergenic, it is also easily tolerated by even those with reactive skin.