This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
Mel-Honey.-A saccharine secretion deposited in the honeycomb, by Apis mellifica, the Hive Bee.
Characters and test.-When recently separated from the honeycomb, it is a viscid translucent liquid, of a brownish yellow colour, which gradually becomes partially crystalline and opaque. Has a peculiar heavy odour, and very sweet taste.
Composition.-Honey is a complex mixture of several kinds of sugar (cane and grape sugar, levulose or inverted sugar, derived by fermentation from the cane sugar); wax, pollen, colouring and odorous matters, etc.
Mel Depuratum.-Made by melting and straining.
From Mel Depuratum is prepared:
Honey is also contained in Mel Boracis, Oxymel Scillae, Con-fectio Piperis, Confectio Scammonii, and Confectio Tere-binthinae.
Honey increases the secretions of the mouth and throat, and thus acts as an emollient, relieving dryness, pain, cough and dysphagia. It is a popular ingredient of gargles, linctuses and cough mixtures, but to be useful must be properly employed as the oxymel, or in combination with lemon, which has a similar action on the mouth and pharynx. As a vehicle for borax it is used in aphthae of the mouth, but is inferior to glycerine because fermentable. Honey is also laxative and nutritive.
Cera Alba-White Wax.-Yellow wax bleached by exposure to moisture, air, and light.
Characters.-Hard, nearly white, translucent. Not unctuous to the touch; does not melt under 150°.
Cera Flava-Yellow Wax.-The prepared honeycomb of the Hive Bee, Apis mellifica.
Characters.-Firm, breaking with a granular fracture, yellowish, having an agreeable honey-like odour. Not unctuous to the touch; does not melt under 140°; yields nothing to cold rectified spirit, but is entirely soluble in oil of turpentine.
Composition. - Wax differs from ordinary fats in containing, as its base, not glycerine, but another alcohol, melisyl-alcohol, in union with palmitic acid, C30H61O.C16H31O2.
Yellow and White Wax are used in preparing many Plasters, Ointments, Suppositories, and Charta Epispastica.
"Wax is used only for the pharmaceutical purposes just mentioned. If given internally, it passes out in the fasces entirely unabsorbed.