It resembles spermaceti but is harder, more friable, and with a higher melting point. It is deposited on the branches of certain trees by the scale insect Ceroplastes ceriferus, common in China and India, or a related scale insect, Ericerus pela, of China and Japan. The insects and their secretions are harvested and boiled with water to extract the raw wax. The insect bodies, which settle to the bottom, are used as food for swine.
In China the wax has been employed medicinally. Taken internally, it has been used as a remedy for hoarseness, pain, worms, nervousness, and to aid the mending of broken bones. Externally, it has been used as an ointment for treatment of wounds.