Shellac is a resin that is secreted by an insect onto tree trunks. The resin is scraped off and mainly used in food coatings, cosmetics, and varnishes.

Shellac is a natural glue and clear coating. It was previously used in dentistry to make dentures and other products, and also as a coating on drug tablets. It's not often used for these purposes anymore because it ages overtime.

People sometimes use shellac for tooth sensitivity and other conditions, but there's no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don't confuse medicinal shellac with shellac wood finishes, which are poisonous.
When taken by mouth: Shellac is commonly consumed in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if shellac is safe to use in larger amounts as medicine or what the side effects might be.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if shellac is safe. Some people can have an allergy to shellac. Shellac is found in mascara, lipstick, tattoo ink, and other products.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if shellac is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid amounts greater than those found in food.


There is interest in using shellac for a number of purposes, but there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
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Dosing & administration

Shellac is found in many foods, varnishes, and cosmetics. As medicine, there isn't enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of shellac might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

Interactions with pharmaceuticals

It is not known if Shellac interacts with any medicines. Before taking Shellac, talk with your healthcare professional if you take any medications.

Interactions with herbs & supplements

There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Interactions with foods

There are no known interactions with foods.

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This monograph was last reviewed on 17/10/2023 11:00:00 and last updated on 21/02/2022 10:19:20. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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