The Many Wonders of Beeswax


Anything that burns creates airborne byproducts. Do you need to feel green guilt when you light those wax tapers for a romantic dinner?

The typical paraffin candle creates lung irritants
when it burns because paraffin is derived from petroleum. Fortunately, a greener option has been brought to us by bees and used to light our interior spaces for hundreds of years.

When you burn beeswax candles, you are actually creating a convection effect that cleans the air: beeswax is a natural deterrent to molds, odors, dust, bacteria, and viruses. (Here’s Elaine’s guide to beeswax candles.)

Beeswax is an all-natural and renewable material, appropriate for those sensitive to perfumed candles which release toxins and mask odors rather than neutralizing them and carrying the gentle scent of honey through your home.

In the Middle Ages, beeswax replaced reeds and molten tallow as the burning medium of choice, for it was found to burn cleaner, longer and more evenly than other waxes while producing a warm light with minimal smoke. The industrious insects have given humans a superior medium for burning the midnight oil: beeswax is naturally dripless, sootless, hypoallergenic and renewable.

To illuminate my home with an intimate glow and get a warm herbal-scented buzz, I use the aromatherapy pillars from Big Dipper Wax Works.

Perin-Mowen creates hive-shaped pure beeswax candles so you can pay homage to the creatures that created this superior substance while you bask in their golden light.

And sponsor VivaTerra sells these gorgeous beeswax bougainvillea "honey pots" meant to hold your favorite beeswax votive. ($22-48.)