Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beeswax Salve

Our topic for today was beeswax and its many many possible uses. Beeswax is secreted by honey bees to build the honeycomb cells in their hives in which they raise their young and store pollen. In its pure form the wax is white, but incorporation of polen and propolis gradually turn it yellow or even brownish. Because of this the caps of the honeycomb contain the purest wax. Beeswax has been used for a thousands of years by various cultures for waterproofing, lubricating, sealing, molding, varnishing, candles and many many more things. We scanned through some sixty different uses in class and the handbook had over a hundred!

We chose to make a beeswax salve, which can be used comparably to Vaseline ointment for skin irritation, dryness or bruising. The recipe called for olive oil at a ratio of 3:1 to the beeswax. Some of the oil we used was infused with calendula and had been sitting infused for about a year. Calendula (pot marigold) has numerous healing properties and will enhance the salve.

We chopped the wax into 1" size pieces, which was not at all easy, and placed it in a double boiler to melt. Once the wax was melted, we slightly heated the oil so the wax wouldn't congeal when we combined the two. We poured the warm oil into the wax and mixed with a stick.
 We then scooped the liquid salve into small jars and added a few drops of the essential oils we made last week. Since we didn't have much oil we also used some of the hydrosol, which needed to be mixed vigorously because it is water based. The wax congealed rapidly once in the jars and was immediately ready for use.
One thing to note is that melted beeswax is nearly impossible to remove from the equipment you use, so if you intend to experiment with it, designate one vessel and a few tool for it because they will never be able to hold anything else.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post Bru! I liked making this stuff. It was easy to do and feels very nice on the hands. The essence of orange gave the salve a nice strong scent, the peppermint not so much. I am definitely going to have to make more of this stuff at home and gift it to people.