Shellac

What other names is Shellac known by?

Goma Laca, Gomme-Laque, Gommelaque, Gomme Laque, Lac, Lacca, Laccifer lacca.

What is Shellac?

Shellac is made by the insect Laccifer lacca. Don't confuse shellac made by this insect with the varnish-like product found at hardware stores. Varnish-like shellac contains methanol (wood alcohol) and is very poisonous.

In dentistry, shellac from Laccifer lacca is used to make dentures and other dental products. In the pharmaceutical industry, shellac is used as a tablet coating and for other uses. In manufacturing, shellac is used as a finish for furniture, an ingredient in hair spray and in other cosmetics. Although shellac has been used for years in pharmacy, dentistry, and manufacturing, it has fallen into disfavor for some products because it ages over time.

Shellac does not have any medicinal uses.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Any medicinal use.

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How does Shellac work?

Shellac is used for its clear coating properties and as a natural "glue."

Are there safety concerns?

Shellac is safe for most people when taken by mouth in pharmaceutical products. A few people are allergic to shellac. Do not confuse the shellac used in dental and pharmaceutical manufacturing with the varnish-like product from the hardware store. Varnish-like shellac contains methanol (wood alcohol) and is very poisonous.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of shellac during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Shellac allergy: Some people are allergic to shellac. Don't use it if you have this type of allergy.

Dosing considerations for Shellac.

The appropriate dose of shellac depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for shellac. 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 your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011