Can you eat beeswax?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat beeswax?” and what is honeycomb and how to eat it?

Read on to know what are the health benefits and potential risks of eating honeycomb. 

Can you eat beeswax?

We eat beeswax indirectly in foods and beverages where it is used as a stiffening against (white beeswax and beeswax absolute). 

The shiny wax cover of cheeses and fermented foods comes from beeswax. It is also used as a glaze for turkeys, hams, pastries, and candies. Beeswax mixed with butter is used to coat the mold used for making canelé.

In cosmetics, yellow and white beeswax are used as thickeners, emulsifiers, and as stiffening agents. Soaps and perfumes get their scent from Beeswax absolute while the white beeswax and beeswax absolute is used to polish pills.

What is a honeycomb?

Honeycomb is a comb-like organic structure made by the bees where they keep their honey, pollens, and larvae. 

Other bee products like propolis and royal jelly are also present but sparingly. The whole comb along with its contents is edible. 

Beeswax is the structural material of the comb or the hexagonal cells. These cells are edible and have a chewy texture. 

Raw honey is pure as it has yet not been pasteurized or filtered, unlike commercial honey. Unfiltered honey has a grainy consistency.

Benefits of eating honeycomb 

Rich in nutrients 

Honeycomb is packed with carbs and antioxidants with small amounts of other nutrients. Raw honey is the main product of the honeycomb and it constitutes 95-99% sugar along with some proteins, vitamins, and minerals. 

Unprocessed honey contains glucose oxidase, the main ingredient responsible for its anti-microbial properties. Such enzymes are heat sensitive and are destroyed during pasteurization and filtration during the manufacturing of commercial honey.

Protects heart health 

The long-chain fatty acids and alcohols present in the beeswax lower the LDL by 29% cholesterol while raising the HDL cholesterol by 8-15%. The same cholesterol-lowering properties are also attributed to honey.  

Using honey instead of sugar reduces blood triglyceride levels by 19%. The antioxidants present in honey lower the risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke by dilating heart arteries.

Protects against infections 

Honeycomb boosts immunity and supports it to fight bacterial and fungal infections. Honey also prevents the attack of the intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia.

Studies have shown that beeswax extracts protect against pathogenic bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, Salmonella enterica, and E. coli

Reduces coughing in children 

Upper respiratory tract infections are very common in children. They result in a brutal cough and disturbs the child’s sleep. 

Studies have shown that eating ½ tsp (2.5 ml) of buckwheat honey 30 minutes before bedtime relieves the cough in children and promotes a night of better sleep. 

However, honeycomb or honey should not be fed to children below 12 months of age who are at high risk of attack by the C. botulinum spores present in honey.

The best alternative to sugar for diabetics

The same amount of sugar and honey provide different levels of sweetness. Honey is naturally more sweet than sugar. Besides, honey does not result in blood sugar spikes. 

But moderation is the key. Overdosing on honey is also dangerous for diabetics. The alcohols in beeswax lower insulin resistance in individuals with Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

May improve liver function 

Studies have shown that the alcohols in beeswax extract relieve the symptoms of individuals with liver disease. However, the research is still underway.

How to eat honeycomb?

Honeycomb is an excellent sweetener. You can spread it like jam on a warm toast or English muffins. Honeycomb can be bought online, or from your local health food store or farmer’s market.

Place a piece of honeycomb on top of a salad, yogurt, pancakes, oatmeal, or on the side of fruits, charcuterie, or aged cheeses. 

Honey crystallizes if it has been sitting for too long in the storage. But crystallized honey is safe to eat. Honeycomb can be safely stored at room temperature.

Potential dangers of eating honeycomb

Honey or honeycomb is commonly infected with C.botulinum spores which are particularly dangerous for immunocompromised individuals including pregnant women and children below 12 months of age.

Excessive consumption of honeycomb could cause stomach obstructions. To avoid this, eschew the waxy honeycomb cells. 

People with allergies to bee venom or pollen should stay away from honeycombs. Weight-conscious people may want to skip eating honeycomb due to its high sugar content.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat beeswax?” and what is honeycomb and how to eat it?

References

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-305/beeswax#:~:text=When%20taken%20by%20mouth%3A%20Beeswax,an%20allergic%20reaction%20to%20beeswax
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-honey

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.