Beeswax, More Than Just a Candle , 0 Comments

Our third article in our series on apitherapy (healing through bee products) is dedicated to that inconspicuous binding agent, beeswax. While you might think it’s simply for making scrumptious-smelling candles, the truth is that it is suited to so many more exploits (and those candles may be more beneficial than you’d think!). Pure beeswax in its raw form is mostly made up of fatty acids and long chain alcohols, and scientific studies have yet to identify all the compounds it includes. It begins as a secretion from the abdomens of the young bees, which is then mixed with bee saliva and other enzymes to create the substance we recognize, and is used to store honey and pollen, and house the bees themselves. Since it is inert, consuming it orally is of little benefit to humans (although some people do eat it as a source of roughage).

Where beeswax really shines (pun intended) is as a topical application. It is safe to use on the hair and scalp because of its hypoallergenic and thickening properties. When applied to the hair, it adds volume, shine, and makes your locks softer and more manageable. It can also be used as a base to make your own hair pomades (check back for our recipe next week!), and has been said to slow hair loss and actually stimulate hair growth. Due to the fact that it contains vitamin A, it is also excellent for use on the skin, and combats afflictions such as acne and eczema. Its emollient properties not only help it to soothe and hydrate parched skin, but also to prevent moisture loss in the first place.

But to get back to those candles we mentioned earlier, an incredible advantage that beeswax candles have over paraffin or tallow candles is that they can help to soothe allergies! When beeswax candles are burned, they produce negative ions. These ions act as natural air purifiers, cleaning the air of pollutants such as dust, mold, and bacteria. But reaping the rewards of respiratory relief is a little more complicated than you’d might think: a candle can be labeled as beeswax if it contains as little as 51% beeswax (the rest can be anything else burnable), so you may not be getting the bang that you expect for your buck, if your candle is almost half “other.” Be sure to look for candles that are 100% beeswax. If you have ever smelled an authentic beeswax candle, you will be able to recognize the scent immediately, and this is what you should be looking for when making a purchase. A pure beeswax candle is likely the easiest bee product to buy, and the simplest to use.

- Maria Vasylivna