Who knew there were so many reasons to eat dirt. Apparently it is nearly universal around the world in the tribal and traditional rural societies, and extremely widespread in the animal kingdom. Many cultures mix clay with water and dip their food into this mixture while eating. Like a little dirt gravy anyone? So what did they know, that we don’t?
When mixed with water, clay forms a temporary colloidal system in which fine particles are dispersed throughout the water. Eventually the particles settle to the bottom of the container, but a variety of mineral ions will remain in the water. These mineral ions are available for absorption, while other minerals that form an integral part of the clay particles may be available for absorption through ionic exchange at the point of contact with the intestinal villi. Highly adsorbent families of clays have been demonstrated to cause the lining of the gut to change both on a cellular and acellular level, protecting the gut from chemical insults as well as alleviating ailments such as esophagitis, gastritis, and colitis.
Clay particles, defined as having a size less than 1-2 microns, have a very large surface area relative to their size. They carry a negative electric charge and can attract positively charged pathogenic organisms along with their toxins and carry them out of the body, Thus, clay compounds not only provide minerals but also can be used as detoxifying agents. As such, they facilitate assimilation and can help prevent intestinal complaints, such as food poisoning and diarrhea. They also will bind with antinutrients found in plant foods, such as bitter tannins, and prevent their absorption.
Clay for Internal Use
Preferably sun-dried, fine or superfine clay may be used internally thanks to its consistency, composition and cleanliness. Montmorillonite is the clay of election for internal use because it has a specific molecular structure which allows an extremely high adsorption as well as absorption capacity. By acting as a strong detoxifying agent, green clay removes whatever hinders the healthy biological processes in the body. In parallel, Clay also protects the gastrointestinal tissues, can neutralize acid or alkaline excess and heal a food poisoning crisis, and regulate bowel movement.
Clay has been used for centuries for:
- Heartburn, stomach-ache, gastritis, stomach ulcer, flatulence, colitis, functional colopathy, food poisoning, abdominal bloating, diarrhea.
- Gingivitis, bad breath, stomatitis, dental abscess, mouth ulcer.
- Colds, rhinitis, pharyngitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, bronchitis.
- Acidosis, hepatic dysfunction, intoxication, parasitosis.
- Clay like Illite is ultra rich in minerals and trace elements and can be used as a mineral supplement in combination with plants extracts or herbal teas. Minerals present in clay include: calcium, chromium, copper, iron, germanium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, selenium, silica, silicon and zinc.
- Clay does contain aluminum, but because of the high silica content in clay, the aluminum is not deposited in the body. In fact, silica absorbs aluminum and other metals already in the body and carries them out.
How to Use Clay Internally
Place 1 teaspoon of Azomite, Montmorillonite, Bentonite (or other) Clay Powder in an 8 oz glass of pure water and stir very well. Leave it sit until the clay sinks to the bottom of the glass. Drink the water, leaving the clay in the glass. Once your body has adjusted to this mixture (1-2 weeks) you can drink the whole glass, including the clay for a stronger detox.
Where to Buy Clay
When you start researching clay, you’ll discover there are zillions of brands and it can get very confusing. I actually buy mine from a local feed store. It is sold as a mineral supplement for chickens and is less than $1 a pound! Keep in mind that a little goes a very long way. This stuff is super absorbent. There are many varieties online and at the health food store. It’s definitely the cheapest thing you’ll ever buy at a health food store
There is a great confusion in the world at large about what makes bentonite bentonite, what makes montmorillonite montmorillonite, and what makes caclium bentonite a calcium bentonite and not a sodium bentonite… What is a volclay, and what makes a volclay different from a sea clay or a glacial clay? Ad infinitum.
What makes a bentonite a bentonite, and what makes a montmorillonite a montmorillonite, is simply the name people call it! Whether someone calls it by the French name or the American English name, what they are stating is that the clay is a smectite with certain particle characteristics. Smectite layers are stacked on top of each other, and the particle shape is rectangular; when hydrated, the colloid presents a zeta potential with a negative charge. Minedat.org has it correct when they list montmorillonite as a synonym for smectite, and list bentonite as a clay consisting primarily of bentonite. Therefore, when considering therapeutic clays, do not get too caught up in terminology.
Clay for External Use
Externally, clay may be used as part of powder, poultices, compresses, masks, baths, mouthwash, nose wash, wraps, shampoos and soaps. Poultices are made by adding a small amount of water to a bowl of clay, letting this mix rest until you have complete saturation, preferably under the sunlight. The poultices should cover the area to treat with at least a 3/4 inch thick layer, wrapped with a cotton cloth and be left on for at least one hour. Externally clay is a great treatment for:
Bites & Stings
Splinters (draws them out)
To eradicate finger/toe nail fungus
1. When taking clay internally, it is very important to keep the body hydrated by drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily. The water helps soften and loosen impacted fecal material lining the walls of the small intestine and colon. This material is then absorbed by the clay and removed from the body through normal elimination.
2. Do not take clay at the same time as any medications, wait 1-3 hours. Do not use clay if you have chronic constipation or high blood pressure.
3. I am not a doctor and never give medical advise. Contact your doctor for that.
4. Use pure water. I use distilled or spring water
5. Clay should not come in contact with any metal. Including the stirring spoon.
6. For external use it is important to place the clay directly on the skin, and then cover the clay with a cloth. This keeps the air off of the clay and allows the proper drawing/pulling action to take place.
I have personally used clay to heal a horrible ear/sinus infection in 4 hours. I spread a thick 1 inch layer of clay on the right side of my face and below my ear. I looked like the swamp thing! I washed this mixture off and replaced it with fresh clay every hour. By the 4th hour my fever was gone, my sinuses were clear, my nose was no longer congested and the searing pain in my ear was gone. I could literally feel the pulling, drawing sensation as the clay sucked the bacteria and toxins out of my body. It was a very cool experience, making me a total believer in the healing powers of clay. Since then I have used clay on several small cuts, to draw a metal sliver that was deeply imbedded in my palm, as a spot treatment for the occasional blemish, as an additive to homemade toothpaste, and a face mask (your pores totally disappear!). I also take it internally for 3 days and then rest for 4 days every week.