Clays such as bentonite, illite, montmorillonite and pyrophyllite are naturally occurring earthen substances that have been used for a variety of beneficial purposes by people around the world for eons.
When used therapeutically in or on the body, clay has a very purifying, cleansing and healing effect. It can be safely taken internally, as well as used externally in various applications.
Surface Area and Adsorption
When clay is hydrated with water it has two unique properties that are at the heart of its remarkable capacity for detoxifying the body.
The first of these qualities is hydrated clay’s massive microscopic surface area, which is formed by an intricate latticework of miniscule flat flakes or platelets.
The other quality of hydrated clay is known as adsorption (spelled with a ‘d’ unlike absorption, which is spelled with a ‘b’).
To understand this property of adsorption it’s important to know that when clay is hydrated it carries a negative static electric charge. Therefore it electrostatically draws into itself things which are positively charged, such as heavy metals and other potentially harmful substances including pathogens, toxins, wastes and impurities.
Because of this static pull, toxic materials that are drawn into the clay are held fast there. And because the clay has such a large surface area, there is plenty of space for these substances to adhere to so they can be effectively removed from the body.
Drawing Out Toxicity and Promoting Healing
When clay is ingested it draws toxins and wastes from within the body, eliminating them as part of the stool.
When clay is applied topically as a poultice on wounds, it draws out pathogenic material in the form of pus and infection. Clay poultices also often have a very analgesic effect, as well as reducing inflammation, cleansing open wounds, fostering increased blood circulation, and promoting accelerated healing.
Hydrated clay packs can also be used externally on injured areas to enhance healing where there is no break in the skin, as in the case of things like bruises, strains, sprains and even broken bones. Clay packs+ ease pain and inflammation, bring improved blood and lymph circulation to the area, and encourage healing.
For information on how to hydrate dry powdered clay for either internal or external use, please visit Jason Eaton’s excellent resource on all things to do with clay at this link:
Please note that due to its electrically charged nature, it’s best to use non-metallic vessels and utensils when preparing and especially storing any leftover hydrated clay.
And because of its powerful drawing properties it’s also important to avoid storing hydrated clay in any container made of plastic.
Non-porous containers made from glass or glazed porcelain are ideal for hydrating and storing wet clay, and clean wooden chopsticks or silicone utensils are good choices for mixing/handling wet clay.
5 Ways to Use Clay
1. Internal clay ingestion – For internal consumption, a spoonful of clay powder can be stirred into into a glass of water or juice or mixed into a soft, smooth food such as applesauce or yogurt.
Another option is to add powdered clay to a glass of water, stir until dissolved, then allow the clay particles to settle to the bottom of the glass for a few hours, or perhaps overnight, and subsequently drink only the clear ‘clayish’ water. Even though most of the clay has settled out, the clayish water will still retain some of the therapeutic qualities of clay.
Alternatively, a more concentrated hydrated clay gel or magma, as described at the link above and which has the texture of smooth pudding, can also be consumed.
External hydrated clay applications -
2. A poultice or pack made of hydrated clay gel can be applied to the skin over wounds or internal injuries.
Clay packs can also be beneficial when used over the liver to promote improved liver function and detoxification.
Instructions for preparing such a poultice or pack can be found here:
3. A clay mask is a thin layer of hydrated clay applied to the face and allowed to dry on the skin, and is a wonderfully rejuvenating and cleansing way to use clay externally.
Clay masks not only cleanse the skin but also exfoliate, draw out impurities, improve blood circulation and leave the face glowing and refreshed.
4. Clay baths – Bathing in water to which clay has been added is very effective for full body detoxification. Anywhere from a few cups to several pounds of either dry powdered or pre-hydrated clay can be added to a bath for a very therapeutic cleansing effect.
5. Dry clay can also be used as a dusting powder, and is very helpful for easing the discomfort of irritated, inflamed skin, particularly in moist places of the body such as feet in sweaty shoes, babies’ bottoms in wet diapers, and on and around groin, genital and anal areas. Dry clay used in this way relieves pain, itching and irritation and encourages the skin to heal
Wild Animals Eat Clay
A variety of wild animals including birds, primates, deer, and even elephants, have also been known to partake of clay. They seek out and consume clay because somehow they know instinctively that ingesting it will help counteract toxic and potentially harmful chemicals found in their food.
Wild macaws consuming clay at a lick located at the Tambopata National Reserve in Peru.
Clay is without a doubt one of the most wonderful and versatile of all the holistic healing allies human beings – and wild creatures alike – have ever derived from Mother Nature.
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