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Updated 18 February 2013

Beeswax

Female worker honeybees of the genus Apis produce beeswax. The naturally white wax turns yellow or brown after it mixes with pollen oils. Synthetic versions of beeswax have been manufactured to resemble natural beeswax.

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RELATED TERMS

Cerotic acid, D-002, hydroxypalmitate, oleate esters, palmitate, palmitoleate policosanol, PEG-6 Beeswax, PEG-8 Beeswax, PEG-20 Beeswax, propolis, synthetic beeswax, triacontanol, triacontanylpalmitate, very-long-chain fatty alcohols.

Brand names that include certified natural beeswax, according to the Natural Products Association: Arch Chemicals©: Natural Facial Cleanser; Aubrey Organics©: Natural Lips Autumn Frost, Silken Earth Translucent Base; Boom©: Wholearth Beauty + Bath Eco-Chic Body Mist & Room Spray, Wholearth Beauty + Bath Grateful Planet Body Mist & Room Spray; Burt's Bees©: Aloe & Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer, Baby Bee Buttermilk Lotion, Beeswax Lip Balm, Natural Acne Solutions Acne Treatment with Willow Bark Targeted Spot Treatment, Natural Hair Gel for Men, Natural Oral Care Multicare with Cranberry Extract Fluoride Toothpaste, Radiance Eye Creme with Royal Jelly; Highland Laboratories©: Red Red Wine Resveratrol Body Lotion; Nature's Way©: Camocare Soy Cleansing Milk, Camocare Under Eye Therapy; W.S. Badger Company©: Organic Anti-Bug Stick, Organic Aromatic Chest Rub, Organic Cheerful Mind Balm, Organic Cuticle Care, Organic Foot Balm, Organic Ginger and Lemon Lip & Body Balm, Organic Headache Soother, Organic Healing Balm, Organic Highland Mint Lip & Body Balm, Organic Sleep Balm, Organic Sore Joint Rub, Organic Sore Muscle Rub, Organic Cooling Blend Sore Muscle Rub, Organic Stress Soother, Organic Tangerine Breeze Lip & Body Balm.

BACKGROUND

Female worker honeybees of the genus Apis produce beeswax. The naturally white wax turns yellow or brown after it mixes with pollen oils. Synthetic versions of beeswax have been manufactured to resemble natural beeswax.

Beeswax has been a commonly used ingredient in the manufacturing of candles, cosmetics, skin creams, and medicinal products for centuries. In folk medicine it has been used as an antiseptic in wound healing and in ear candles to remove earwax.

Beeswax has been incorporated into many food products, including chewing gum, coffee, tea, and surface-treated fresh vegetables.

Clinical study suggests that beeswax may be useful for the treatment of skin disorders and skin infections. D-002, a component of beeswax, may be effective in the treatment of some gastrointestinal disturbances caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Motrin© or Advil©) and naproxen (Aleve© or Naprosyn©). Compounds in beeswax are being studied for their potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cholesterol-lowering properties.

EVIDENCE TABLE

Conditions

Uses
disclaimer: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Grade*

Anorectal lesions (hemorrhoids, anal fissures)

Research suggests that the combination of beeswax, honey, and olive oil may be useful in the treatment of anorectal lesions (hemorrhoids, anal fissures). Further studies of beeswax alone are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C

Gastric disorders

Studies suggest that D-002, a component of beeswax, may be useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal disturbances that occur as side effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Additional high-quality studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C

Skin disorders

Research suggests that the combination of beeswax, honey, and olive oil may be useful in the treatment of a wide variety of skin disorders and skin infections. Further studies of beeswax alone are needed before a conclusion can be made.

C

*Key to grades: A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

TRADITION

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below. Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, birth control, burn wound healing, ear discomfort, healthy hair, lipid lowering effects, skin care, wound healing (topical).

DOSING

disclaimer: The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

For gastrointestinal disorders caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen), D-002 (a component of beeswax) has been used. Forty milligrams and 100 milligrams of D-002 have been taken by mouth, twice daily at meals, 30 minutes before taking an NSAID, for 14 days.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for beeswax in children.

SAFETY

disclaimer: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

Avoid in patients with known allergy or hypersensitivity to beeswax or its constituents. Skin reactions and may occur with the use of beeswax and its popular resins. An allergy to the natural resin propolis (created by bees to construct their hives) was caused by an ointment containing beeswax. Lip inflammation has been reported.

Side Effects and Warnings

Beeswax may cause high blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with high blood pressure or in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure.

Use polyethylene glycol (PEG) beeswax cautiously in patients with burns or damaged skin.

Use cautiously in patients using cholesterol-lowering agents.

Beeswax or its constituents may cause gastrointestinal disturbances or headache. Stomach cancer has been reported in men who polished steel for at least five years with a paste containing beeswax.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Beeswax is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

INTERACTIONS

disclaimer: Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

Beeswax may cause high blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that affect blood pressure.

Beeswax may also interact with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, antifungals, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and drugs that affect the gastrointestinal system.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

Beeswax may cause high blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that affect blood pressure.

Beeswax may also interact with antibacterials, antifungals, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, gastrointestinal herbs and supplements, and herbs and supplements that lower cholesterol.

ATTRIBUTION

This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

  • Al-Waili, NS. Mixture of honey, beeswax and olive oil inhibits growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. Arch Med Res 2005;36(1):10-13. View abstract
  • Al-Waili, NS. Clinical and mycological benefits of topical application of honey, olive oil and beeswax in diaper dermatitis. Clin Microbiol.Infect. 2005;11(2):160-163. View abstract
  • Al-Waili NS, Saloom KS, Al-Waili TN, et al. The safety and efficacy of a mixture of honey, olive oil, and beeswax for the management of hemorrhoids and anal fissure: a pilot study. ScientificWorldJournal 2006;6:1998-2005. View abstract
  • Antol©n EM, Qui©©nez YB, Canavaciolo VG, et al. Validation of an analytical method for quality control of residual solvents (n-hexane and acetone) in D-002: new active ingredient from beeswax. J Pharm Biomed Anal 2008;47(3):646-50. View abstract
  • Attama AA, Schicke BC, M©ller-Goymann CC. Further characterization of theobroma oil-beeswax admixtures as lipid matrices for improved drug delivery systems. Eur J Pharm Biopharm 2006;64(3):294-306. View abstract
  • Buchwald R, Breed MD, Greenberg AR, et al. Interspecific variation in beeswax as a biological construction material. J Exp Biol 2006;209(Pt 20):3984-9. View abstract
  • Fabra MJ, Jim©nez A, Atar©s L, et al. Effect of Fatty acids and beeswax addition on properties of sodium caseinate dispersions and films. Biomacromolecules 2009;10(6):1500-7. View abstract
  • Hargrove, JL, Greenspan, P, and Hartle, DK. Nutritional significance and metabolism of very long chain fatty alcohols and acids from dietary waxes. Exp.Biol Med (Maywood.) 2004;229(3):215-226. View abstract
  • Illnait, J, Terry, H, Mas, R, et al. Effects of D-002, a product isolated from beeswax, on gastric symptoms of patients with osteoarthritis treated with piroxicam: a pilot study. J Med Food 2005;8(1):63-68. View abstract
  • Junghans, V, Geier, J, and Fuchs, T. Allergy to propolis caused by beeswax-containing ointment. Am.J.Contact Dermat. 2002;13(2):87. View abstract
  • Lanigan RS, Yamarik TA, Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. Final report on the safety assessment of PEG-6, -8, and -20 sorbitan beeswax. Int J Toxicol 2001;20 Suppl 4:27-38. View abstract
  • L©bbe J, Sanchez-Politta S. Propolis, beeswax, and the sensitization potential of topical calcineurin inhibitors. Clin Exp Dermatol 2006;31(1):147-8. View abstract
  • Mendoza S, Noa M, P©rez Y, et al. Preventive effect of D-002, a mixture of long-chain alcohols from beeswax, on the liver damage induced with CCl4 in rats. J Med Food 2007;10(2):379-83. View abstract
  • Navarro-Tarazaga ML, Del R©o MA, Krochta JM, et al. Fatty acid effect on hydroxypropyl methylcellulose-beeswax edible film properties and postharvest quality of coated 'Ortanique' mandarins. J Agric Food Chem 2008;56(22):10689-96. View abstract
  • Navarro-Tarazaga ML, Sothornvit R, P©rez-Gago MB. Effect of plasticizer type and amount on hydroxypropyl methylcellulose-beeswax edible film properties and postharvest quality of coated plums (cv. Angeleno). J Agric Food Chem 2008;56(20):9502-9. View abstract
disclaimer: Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2011 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions. disclaimer: While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy. disclaimer: The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)



Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
 
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