Health Benefits of Honey and Beeswax

Posted 08/09/2016 BY Paige Mulhern

honey and beeswax benefits skincare

Summer is the peak season for harvesting from beehives, but the benefits of honey and beeswax can be enjoyed year-round. In this blog, we’ll go over exactly how honey and beeswax are produced by honeybees and the health benefits that anyone can enjoy from them.

Table of Contents: 

What is honey, and how is it made?

 

Honey is a sweet, thick, and golden liquid made by bees that you’ve likely enjoyed in a cup of tea or in one of your favorite recipes! 

In order to make honey, worker bees gather nectar from flowers and younger hive bees convert the nectar into honey by beating their wings to fan and evaporate excess water content to thicken the nectar’s natural sugars into honey. 

On average, one honey bee hive can produce up to 65 pounds of honey, and it comes in many colors, textures, and tastes. The color of raw honey will specifically depend on the flower source (the types of plants that the bees forage) and can appear very dark to almost colorless.Sometimes, honey will even take on a white, solid appearance with a crunchy texture, which is known as the process of crystallization. 

 

What are the health benefits of honey when used in food?

 

Honey has long since been a popular kitchen staple and natural sweetener due to its nutritional and medicinal properties. According to the National Honey Board, a single tablespoon of raw honey contains 64 calories, is fat-free, cholesterol-free, and sodium-free. 

Honey’s natural benefits when used in food include:

  1. Relieving the Common Cold—Honey has anti-inflammatory properties that calm irritated membrane and ease a cough.
  2. Improving Memory—Since it’s loaded with antioxidants, honey can prevent cell damage within the brain. It also helps the body absorb calcium which is essential to the brain in order to process thought and make decisions.

What are the health benefits of honey when used topically?

 

Early spring honey
Thin, early springtime honey.

In addition to being a fantastic addition to many kitchen recipes, honey can also have a positive impact on our bodies when used topically, thanks to its antibacterial and moisturizing components. 

When used topically, honey can provide the following benefits: 

    1. Healing Wounds—Honey is a natural antibiotic that can also work externally. Its antibacterial properties will disinfect wounds and sores from major species of bacteria.
    2. Treating Dandruff—Thanks to honey’s anti-fungal properties, it can treat seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff while addressing the redness and itching on the scalp with its anti-inflammatory properties.

What is beeswax, and how is it made?

 

honeycomb

 

Beeswax is also harvested from hives during peak harvesting season and is a natural wax produced by honey bees. Typically, the beeswax will appear light yellow, but the rendered wax can also appear bright yellow on occasion.  

Honey bees produce beeswax from special glands on their abdomens that create wax droplets that harden into flakes when exposed to air. The worker bees take these flakes in their mouths to soften them into a workable material that attaches to the honeycomb. The waxy cells in a honeycomb are then used to hold baby bees and store the honey that the hive will eventually produce. 

Once beekeepers harvest honey from a hive, beeswax is often leftover during the extraction process. This natural substance is then melted down into white, odorless blocks that can be used in a variety of ways! 

 

What are the benefits of using beeswax topically?

 

Finger scooping beeswax out of tin canister

 

Like honey, beeswax has a multitude of natural benefits, and although it is edible, beeswax is most commonly added to everyday personal care routines. A few advantages to using beeswax include:

  1. Moisturizing Components—Beeswax locks in moisture and can help keep the skin firm and plump. The anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties soothe easily irritated skin, making it one of the best skincare ingredients for healing rosacea or eczema.
  2. Ability to Protect from Irritants—Beeswax can also act as a layer of protection when applied to the skin. It can protect the skin from environmental irritants and extreme weather.
  3. Promotion of Hair Growth—Beeswax not only moisturizes and soothes hair, but it can keep moisture from getting out of the hair. It also stimulates hair growth and reduces hair loss.

There’s more to a beehive than just honey and beeswax

 

Best Bees beekeepers using science to protect pollinators

As data-driven beekeepers, we know that honeybees are not only responsible for creating products we enjoy like honey and beeswax, but that one out of every three bites of food we eat only exists thanks to bees and other pollinators. 

Enjoying the honey that bees harvest each season is just one small benefit of hosting a beehive. By making a home for bees, we’re able to have a better understanding of pollinators as a whole, and the invaluable data that each hive provides helps us move even closer to reversing the declining population of honeybees on a national scale. 

To better understand the conditions that exist for honeybees, what scientists and beekeepers are doing, and some of the promising programs that we hope will lead, over time, to a radical improvement in bee health, download the 2021 State of the Honeybee Report. 

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