The humble candle, for passion and love, Birthdays and Christmas, remembrance, devotion and so many other things. Before electricity, candles were precious, expensive, and lighting a candle had meaning. Now you can get candles very cheaply; but lighting a 10c candle doesn’t seem to have the same meaning. So we light many candles…
When we researched candles to find out which candle is best, we considered as many aspects as we could, giving health the highest priority.
The common paraffin wax candle was rejected early. Paraffin is a by-product of the petrochemical industry. Dr Peter Dingle (1) found that burning three paraffin wax candles in a room put as much toxins in the air as idling a car in the room. Not good for anyone’s health. It seems it’s healthier to stand by the motorway and breathe in the exhaust fumes! On the plus side, paraffin is very cheap, and you can afford to burn many candles at once, a bit like moving onto the median strip of the motorway and getting the exhaust fumes from all sides.
The new kid on the block, the soy candle, was cited to have Eco credentials, and was enthusiastically researched. The report by USDA which showed that most of the soy produced in the USA is Genetically Modified (2). Exit the soy candles; GM is not supported by us, for many reasons best discussed in a separate article. I can hear you arguing that soy is safe enough to eat… true, some soy is. Most soy is not. If it is non-GM soy, then it’s better to eat it than burn it.
Next we briefly considered palm oil candles. You don’t have to look too far to find that palm oil is grown in many SE Asian countries. If we burn the oil in our candles, more rainforests will be cleared to grow more palms to produce more oil. We need rainforests to stabilise the earth’s atmosphere, they are the lungs of the earth.
They are also the home of the Orangutan, a species close to becoming extinct. Our candle needs are not important enough to go up against that, and we want to feel good when we light a candle. Destroying rainforests doesn’t make us feel good. (3,4)
So far in the candle options, paraffin is out, soy is out, palm oil is out. It’s not looking too good for our birthday cakes!
The final contender is the beeswax candle. The wax made by bees, which coats the side of the ‘frames’ in a commercial beehive, is excellent for your health. It is simply scraped off the hive, warmed and strained to remove any bits of twigs etc., and then moulded or rolled with a cotton wick in the middle. Simple, clean, and it has a divine honey smell (without adding anything to create a smell)
Many, many bees work hard to make the wax, they are little guys, and although they work fast, we burn candles fast too. On the down side (yes, without the bad there is no relative good), beeswax is more expensive than the other waxes, which means you start to cherish lighting a candle, making the lighting of a candle a more meaningful past-time. Birthday candles are suddenly appreciated more, a candlelit dinner becomes more special, and the candlelit bath becomes a real indulgence. When we have ‘special moments’ any old time, they take the shine away from the real special moments. Let a beeswax candle bring back the passion and love to your special moments. Gaze into its’ mesmerizing flame and breathe in deep, enjoying the non-toxic honeyed air brought to you by many, many busy little bees gathering nectar from the flowers. What could be more delightful, more natural, less processed? As far as being good enough to eat, look into the health benefits of honey, propolis and royal jelly. Just plain good for you!
When you think it through, Beeswax Candles are the champion candle choice. In fact it’s our only candle choice!