Though they have been largely forgotten in recent times, healing clays have been used by cultures throughout history for their nutrients and to help rid the body of toxins. Many animals will also turn to eating dirt and clay to help remove poisons from their systems or during times of illness or distress.
In recent times, healing clays like Bentonite Clay have once again been gaining popularity for internal and external detoxification, and with good reason.
What is Bentonite Clay?
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
“Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays. Bentonite can be used externally as a clay poultice, mud pack or in the bath and, in skin care recipes. A good quality Bentonite should be a grey/cream color and anything bordering “pure white” is suspect. It has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odorless and non-staining. The type of bentonite offered by Mountain Rose herbs is a Sodium Bentonite.”
Bentonite Clay is composed of aged volcanic ash. The name comes from the largest known deposit of Bentonite Clay located in Fort Benton, Wyoming.
What Does it do?
Bentonite Clay is a unique clay due to its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. Bentonite is known for its ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.
As Mountain Rose Herbs explains:
“Bentonite is a swelling clay. When it becomes mixed with water it rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge. From here the toxins are drawn into the sponge through electrical attraction and once there, they are bound.”
Bentonite clay carries a strong negative charge which bonds to the positive charge in many toxins. When it comes in contact with a toxin, chemical, or heavy metal, the clay will absorb the toxin and release it’s minerals for the body to use. Bentonite also helps get oxygen to cells as it pulls excess hydrogen and allows the cells to replace it with oxygen instead.
Bentonite clay is a common ingredient in detox and cleansing products. It has an alkalizing effect on the body and when taken correctly, it can help balance gut bacteria.
Personally, I’ve seen people benefit from taking Bentonite Clay to help with:
- Digestive disturbances like acid reflux, constipation, bloating, gas, etc. (Kaolin clay was common ingredient in medicines like Maalox and Rolaids for years)
- Helping with skin and allergy issues
- To help provide minerals for the body
- To help speed recovery from vomiting and diarrhea
- In oral health preperations
- Externally for all types of skin problems and to speed healing
Healing clays like Bentonite have a high concentration of minerals including silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and potassium.
Even Dr. Weston A Price, in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” reported that several native cultures including those in the Andes, Central Africa and Australia consumed clays in various ways, most often my carrying balls of dried clay in their bags and dissolving a small amount of the clay in water with meals to prevent poisoning from any toxins present.
In a study from Arizona State University, bentonite clay was found to be highly effective at killing MRSA as well as Salmonella, E.Coli and others.What is promising as research continues in this area is that depending on the method in which the clay kills the infection, it may not be possible for the MRSA or other bacteria to develop a resistance to it as it does with antibiotics.
How to use Bentonite Clay:
Bentonite (and other clays) are staples in my homemade herbal cabinet and medicine chest. I’ve used them internally and externally for various issues on myself, my husband my kids. I order from here and it is an inexpensive natural remedy.
IMPORTANT NOTES: Do not let healing clays like Bentonite come in to contact with anything metal, is this will reduce the effectiveness. I mix with water in a glass jar with a plastic lid by shaking well or using a plastic whisk. If you take it internally, do not take within an hour of food for best results and do not take within 2 hours of medications or supplements as it might reduce their effectiveness. Check with your doctor before using if you have any medical condition.
- On the Skin: Externally, I apply a paste of bentonite clay and water on any skin irritation like blemishes, insect bites, cuts, skin itching, or burns. I leave it on until it dries and wash off. This is said to be especially calming to skin itching from eczema, psoriasis, chicken pox, etc.
- Skin Poultice for Bites/Burns/Cuts/Stings: For more severe issues, I create a poultice by putting a thick layer of clay on the skin and applying a wet gauze or cloth over it. I wrap the area and leave the poultice on, changing every 2 hours.
- Face Mask: For smooth and healthy skin, I make a paste of bentonite and water and apply to my face as a mask (a similar mask is used in many spas). I leave on for 20 minutes and wash off. I typically do this once or twice a week.
- Detox Bath: I sometimes add about 1/4 cup of Bentonite Clay to a bath for a relaxing detox bath that softens skin.
- For Oral Health: Because of it’s excellent ability to bind to heavy metals and toxins as well as to provide minerals, I use Bentonite Clay in my Remineralizing Tooth Powder Recipe. It can even be used alone for brushing and is tasteless and relatively textureless.
- Oral Rinse to whiten and remineralize teeth: Besides use the the tooth powder, I use Bentonite mixed with water as an alkalizing and toxin removing mouth rinse. I mix 1/2 teaspoon of clay in 1/4 cup water in a small jar with a plastic lid and shake well. Then, I rinse with the water for 1-2 minutes and repeat until I’ve used it all.
- For Mastitis: I’ve created a poultice or mask of Bentonite Clay and water and applied externally to the area. I repeat as needed every hour until the infection is gone. I also take internally during infection along with Vitamin C and fermented cod liver oil.
- For Baby Powder: Plain Bentonite Clay makes a very soothing baby powder for use when there is infection or redness. It can also be made into a clay “mask” to help speed recovery in this area.
- For Morning Sickness: I took 1/2 tsp of Bentonite Clay in water during early pregnancy to ward off morning sickness. It helped with the nausea and helped me feel better. I checked with my doc/midwife first and was told this was fine. Check with your doctor or medical professional before using during pregnancy.
- For Internal Cleansing: I drink 1/2 to 1 teaspoon most days in a cup of water. I combine in a glass jar with a plastic lid and shake until well incorporated. This has helped improve my digestion and also seems to give me more energy. Since adding this and getting gelatin in my diet or through Gelatin powder daily I also notice that my nails and hair grow more quickly.
- For Pets: For pets that are sick, vomiting or showing signs of illness, you can add Bentonite to their water or mix and give orally with a dropper or syringe without the needle. I have seen several cases where this helped pets recover quickly from what could otherwise have been serious illnesses.
- Though I have not needed to use for these reasons personally, I have read cases of Bentonite and other healing clays being used internally to help reduce radiation exposure, in alternative cancer treatments, and in MRSA infections. It is also said to greatly help in Parasite removal, though I have not tried this personally.