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” Mind your beeswax!” is the number one item on this list, so let’s do some digging! by Bill Emigh

When I first under-took this assignment, I initially was going to research the uses for the actual honey. We are all aware of the culinary aspect of this versatile ingredient, but glazing a ham doesn’t scratch the surface of this partially digested plant nectar made by some hard working bees; mainly honey bees, but other bees and insects are capable of producing honey. Honey is available in various nomenclatures. Clover honey is still honey, but it is made from the nectar of actual clover, blueberry honey is made from the blueberry bloom nectar, etc. They all have their own distinctive flavor and color. I encourage you to visit the area where the honey is produced if possible, as well as spend a few hours being fascinated by the plethora of non- culinary uses for honey.

Sweet Honey. Antonio M. Rosario/Getty Images

BEESWAX??? As a young boy growing up, my parents and elders would tell me to “CLEAN THE BEESWAX OUT OF MY EARS” whenever I had difficulty hearing them or, let’s be honest, I was probably just ignoring them. However, the contents of my ear canals are not the wax I am referring to. What is beeswax? Essentially, it is a product made from the actual honeycomb. To make one pound of beeswax, bees travel over 150,000 miles and consume 8 times as much honey. Beeswax is available in yellow[natural], white or bleached [yellow beeswax that is bleached]. There are also man-made varieties that resemble actual beeswax. You may see something called beeswax absolute. This is yellow beeswax treated with alcohol.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Knowing this, I understand why beeswax products have a higher price tag. Speaking of products, let’s discuss a few common as well as little known uses for this sought after commodity. Cosmetics- Used mainly as an emulsifier, thickener or stiffening agent for make-up. It is also used in perfumes and soaps as a fragrance agent. It is also used in lip balm, lip gloss and hand creams. Medicinal- Beeswax has many uses in the realm of medical care. It has value in lowering cholesterol, relieving diarrhea, pain, ulcers and reducing swelling. It is also used to coat pills to enable easier swallowing. Beeswax has also been known to relieve hiccups. Beeswax is a main ingredient in many skin care products. Alternative medicinal uses that have insufficient proof of effectiveness but I feel obligated to discuss- jock itch, hemorrhoids, diaper rash, fungal infections and ringworm are said to show improvement when a mixture of beeswax, honey and olive oil are applied. Manufacturing- “Surfs Up Dudes”, beeswax is common in application to surfboards and the ancient practice of using beeswax to make candles is well documented, but this versatile compound has lesser known utilization dating back to medieval times. Beeswax has been used in the field of dentistry as filling materials, lubricants for firearms and bows. It was used as a sealing compound for sealing official decrees from royalty and persons with titles, then their official seal was pressed into it. Shoe and furniture polish also contain beeswax. Another use was to strengthen ropes, sewing threads and wooden structures. As you can clearly see, the uses or beeswax are almost endless. It has proven to be a valuable product through-out history, and I barely cracked the hive on its resourcefulness. As I researched this commodity, I let my mind wander to the effects we are having on the bee population. Without bees, we will be subjected to manufactured beeswax,and how inferior that truly is, compared to the real thing.

CITATIONS : Image credits: Antonio M. Rosario / Getty Images

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