The ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans all realised the power of beeswax, and they utilised it for a variety of purposes including as toy dolls, candles, cosmetics, and even as a bartering tool. Completely intact beeswax candles have been found that date back to the 6th century, although historians are sure that beeswax candles were used long before then. Some proof even points to the use of beeswax in ancient dental tooth fillings.
Beeswax is a natural wax produced only by honey bees. It’s composed of hundreds of chemical components ranging from fatty acids and alcohol to hydrocarbons. Beeswax is created when honey bees secrete the wax into “scales” through their glands and discard it in their hives to build honeycomb cells. Though wax is clear as glass when first produced, it gradually accumulates pollen oils and propolis, which generate the common yellow or brown colour.
One of the most incredible properties of beeswax is its chemical makeup, which is so stable that beeswax never goes bad. This is easily proven by the perfectly pliable wax found in ancient Egyptian tombs. It’s also not a food for any plant or animal, so it can be stored for very long periods of time without any risks. Beeswax is even insoluble in water, meaning it can’t be damaged by water; this is illustrated by the beeswax recovered from shipwrecks after years of submersion.
Today, beeswax is utilized for a number of valuable purposes. It’s a very popular ingredient in cosmetics like lip balm and skin moisturizer since it can be melted and easily blended with other oils, essential oils, and vitamins to protect and repair rough, dry, and chapped skin. These same properties make beeswax effective for itch and pain relief salves as well when melted and combined with other valuable herbs and essential oils.
Beeswax candles are also renowned because they burn cleaner and longer than petroleum-based candles and don’t emit any smoke or chemicals into the air. However, it is vital to use certified organic beeswax since fat soluble pesticides can accumulate in beeswax when given the opportunity.