Bees Wax: a solid concrete, collected from vegetables by the bee; and extracted from the combs, after the honey is got out, by heating and pressing them: lighter than water, heavier than proof spirit; soluble in rectified spirit, very sparingly, and not without the assist-ance of heat, into a gelatinous liquid; not dis-soluble at all in watery liquors; melting, by a heat a little greater than that which the hand can support, into the appearance of oil, and in this state easily miscible with oils and liquid fats; readily inflammable, and burning totally away; almost totally arising in distillation, partly in form of a thick empyreumatic oil, and partly in that of a confident butyraceous matter, which by repeated distillation becomes fluid and thin.

1. Cera flava Pharm. Lond. & Edinb: Yellow wax; in the state wherein it is obtained from the combs. When new, it is of a lively yellow, somewhat tough, yet easy to break: by age, it loses its fine colour, and becomes harder and more brittle.

2. Cera alba Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. White wax: the yellow wax artificially bleached, by reducing it into thin flakes, exposing these for a length of time to the fun and open air, and sprinkling them occasionally with water: when sufficiently whitened, the wax is melted and cast into cakes.

Yellow wax, when in perfection, has an agreeable smell, somewhat resembling that of honey: by long keeping, and in the process by which it is whitened, its smell is in good measure dissipated. Distilled with water, by a boiling heat, it impregnates the liquor (lightly with its scent, but gives no appearance of any essential oil; nor is the whole of its odorous matter to be easily separated by this process. Chewed, it proves tenacious, does not mingle with the saliva, or discover any particular taste. The gelatinous solution, obtained by boiling it in spirit of wine, by mixture with a thick mucilage of gum-arabic, becomes soluble in water, so as to form therewith an emulsion or milky liquor: the wax itself is made in like manner soluble, without the intervention of spirit, by thoroughly mixing it with the gum in fine powder: when thus dissolved, it proves still insipid, and perfectly void of acrimony.

The chief medicinal use of wax is in plasters, unguents, and other like external applications; partly for giving the requisite consistence to other ingredients; and partly on account of its own emollient quality. The yellow sort, dis-solved into an emulsion, or mixed with sperma-ceti, oil of almonds, conserve of roses, etc. into the form of an electuary; or divided, by stirring into it, when melted over a gentle fire, as much, as it will take up, of powdery matters, as the compound crabs-claw powder; is given also internally, and often with great success, in diarrhoeas and dysenteries, for obtunding the acrimony of the humours, supplying the natural mucus of the intestines, and healing their excoriations or erosions.

The empyreumatic oil, into which wax is re-solved by distillation with a strong heat, is greatly recommended by Boerhaave and others, for healing chaps and roughness of the skin, for dis-cussing chilblains, and, with the assistance of proper somentations and exercise, against stiff-ness of the joints, and contractions of the tendons. It is, doubtless, highly emollient, but does not appear to have any other quality by which it can act in external applications: it has nothing of the acrimony or pungency, which prevail in all the other known distilled vegetable oils; though in smell it is not a little disagree-able and empyreumatic, a circumstance which occasions it to be at present more rarely used than it has been heretofore. As the wax swells up greatly in the distillation, it is convenient to divide it, by melting it with twice its weight of sand, or putting the sand above it in the retort, that it may mingle with the wax when brought into fusion. The oil, which is preceded by a small quantity of acid liquor, congeals in the neck of the retort, from whence it may be melted down by applying a live coal, and made fluid by redistilling it two or three times without addition.