If you’re interested in bees, and all of the many edible products that they make, you might be wondering if you can eat beeswax. We know honey, is edible, but what about beeswax?
Beeswax is indeed completely safe to eat! The FDA affirms that beeswax is safe to eat because it is included in their list of foods for human consumption. In addition to being used in candle-making, cosmetics, and polishes, food-grade beeswax is also used to coat cheeses and is often eaten in the form of honeycomb.
What is Beeswax?
Beeswax is a type of wax that honey bees produce to use in building their nests. When honey bees are constructing a hive, they secrete this waxy substance from glands in their abdomens and use it to create tiny, hexagonal cells for storing honey and laying eggs in.
When they first secrete the wax, it is completely transparent, but it becomes opaque as the bees mix pollen and propolis into it. Beeswax is thick and chewy at room temperature, but when heated it becomes much easier to eat.
Beeswax is made up of fatty acids and alcohols, among other things. This means that there isn’t really nutritional value to be gained from eating it because our bodies don’t break it down very well, but that it is nontoxic in its natural form. So there’s no harm in eating beeswax, but no particular benefit other than the taste and texture of it.
What is a Honeycomb?
Honeycomb is the name of the entire wax structure that bees store their honey in and lay their eggs in. Honeycomb is made up of tiny, hexagonal cells that the bees fill with honey and then cap with more beeswax to seal the honey inside. They also use these cells to store pollen and lay eggs in.
In terms of eating, honeycomb is essentially a section of many of these capped honey cells, which you can eat plain, put on toast, or top a cracker with. Honeycomb is an excellent way to eat both honey and beeswax at the same time, because honeycomb contains the purest form of honey.
When you eat honeycomb, you’re getting the very most out of the honey you’re consuming. Most honey in a jar has been pasteurized, filtered, and heated to the point where it loses its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Honeycomb, on the other hand, has not been processed in this way and therefore allows you to reap the most benefits from consuming honey.
How do You Eat Beeswax?
Now, you could of course simply take a bite out of a homemade food-grade beeswax candle, but that’s not what we recommend. Honeycomb is the best form in which to eat beeswax because you get the added benefits of eating honey. Plus, the texture combination of the smooth, sweet honey and the chewy beeswax is excellent.
There are many ways to eat honeycomb, including just plain, put on toast, paired with cheese, and more. Here are a few of our favorites.
The simplest way to eat honeycomb is just plain. Cut off a chunk, put it in your mouth, and chew the honey out of it until you’re left with just a ball of beeswax in your mouth. You can either swallow the wax or spit it out like a sunflower seed, whichever you’d prefer.
Paired with Cheese & Crackers
One of the best ways to eat honeycomb is pairing it with Brie or Cheddar cheese on top of a cracker. Honeycomb is a great addition to any charcuterie board because it pairs well with most cheeses, jams, meats, and crackers. Cut a thin slice, place on top of the cheese and cracker, and enjoy knowing that the honey is encouraging Lactobacillus to grow and help you digest the cheese.
You can also toast a piece of bread and top it with a chunk of raw honeycomb. This is a great way to eat honeycomb because the heat of the toast softens the wax so that you can chew and eat it.
Similarly, you can put honeycomb on pancakes, waffles, or French toast to spice up your morning breakfast. It will soften slowly on top of the food and is a lot tastier than corn syrup.
One unusual pairing that we like is to eat honeycomb with lamb. The sweetness of the honey really compliments the tenderness of the lamb.
Another great combination is honeycomb and dark chocolate, for double the antioxidant properties.
Are There Benefits of Eating Beeswax?
Because beeswax is not really digestible by human stomachs, there are not many nutritional benefits of eating beeswax itself. However, it’s harmless and enjoyable, so why not do it anyways? Additionally, eating honeycomb comes with many benefits, a few of which we’ll cover below.
Honeycomb, on the other hand, comes with many health benefits. Firstly, it is a great source of calories, so if you have trouble getting enough food, honeycomb can be a great way to supplement your diet with extra carbohydrates.
Because honeycomb often includes both pollen and propolis, you get all of the benefits of the honey inside, plus the health benefits of the pollen and propolis that are mixed into the honey and wax. A study on the benefits of honey, pollen, and propolis found that there are a number of health benefits when it comes to these substances. Here are just a few.
Prebiotic ingredients in raw honeycomb help to regulate the bacterial makeup of the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are foods that contain compounds that encourage beneficial bacteria to grow in the stomach and intestines. Some bacteria that are encouraged to grow by honey are members of the Lactobacillus genus, which can help the body break down lactose.
Because raw honeycomb has antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, it can help prevent periodontal disease. It is also helpful when your mucous membranes become swollen, sometimes even causing ulcers. It can even help with bad breath by removing degrading microbes from your mouth!
Strep Throat and Other Throat Problems
There’s a reason we put honey in our tea when we have a sore throat: its health benefits coat our throats with antibacterial properties and soothes our throats. Honey is also an effective treatment for coughs because it is an antioxidant and antimicrobial.
Gastroenteritis, Constipation, and Diarrhea
The high sugar content of honey helps increase the reabsorption of water and electrolytes in the stomach, making it an excellent way to help rehydrate someone who is dehydrated from having gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu. Additionally, when cause by IBS, raw honey can help with constipation and diarrhea.
Is it Safe to Eat Beeswax?
As long as the beeswax you’re eating is food-grade and does not contain toxic additives, you’re good to go! The best bet for safe beeswax is straight from a raw honeycomb, because you know it hasn’t been processed with anything toxic or nonfood grade. The way the bees made it is the best way to eat it.
Where To Get Raw Honeycomb
If you’re looking for raw honeycomb, you can typically find some at your local farmer’s market if there is a beekeeper who set up shop there. Additionally, if there is a beekeeper who lives near you, they may be willing to simply sell you raw honeycomb directly.
You can also purchase raw honeycomb online from beekeepers and even from Amazon, although we recommend supporting small businesses. You may be able to find it at your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods depending on the season.