How to choose a quality healing clay for internal and external use.
More and more, people are realizing the dangers of side-effect-riddled traditional medicines and they scour the internet to find an all-natural solution, such as Bentonite Clay. Certain Bentonite Clays are recognized for their effectiveness in drawing out impurities and excess oils from the skin, as well as binding with toxins and with no dangerous side-effects. Search results for Bentonite Clay have increased from 5,000 to 618,000 in a span of 10 years. While the internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips, some companies are more concerned with making money, rather than providing a pure and quality healing clay.
As with anything that grows too fast, the lack of education and knowledge about clays can pose a danger to society. Kitchens and garages become launch pads for home grown businesses and new domain names flood the Internet with eager entrepreneurs in search of financial freedom. Common sense and safety in handling are ignored in eagerness to capture a corner of the market. With this in mind, it is extremely important to know your clays, what the law requires, and what the clay companies should provide in the way of service and information. Therefore, it is imperative that customers should educate themselves prior to purchasing just any clay.
Clays are inert trace minerals tightly bound together that evolved over millions of years from volcanic ash deposits. They have a high negative electromagnetic ionic charge. This negative charge allows clays to draw positive ionic charged particles such as toxins, pathogens, impurities, heavy metals and viruses. Some clays are used in products such as antacids, toothpaste, cosmetics and in wine and beer making to filter out impurities (Iran Mineral Import and Export). Clays can now be found in health food stores as a Detox Cleanse, a cleansing clay mask and in clay detox baths.
However, all clays are different, making it complicated to understand the many differences in clay families. They differ in composition of minerals, colors, textures, swelling capacity, taste, odor, grittiness and purity. For an inexperienced clay person the choices can be overwhelming.
For this article, let’s focus on the Smectite Family of clays known commonly as Bentonites. A definable trait of the Smectite Family of clays is the ability to adsorb, as well as absorb. Its unique ability to grow and change (adsorb) is the reason for its classification and recognition as a "Living Clay”. Smectite Clays hold positive ionic charged particles within the structural layers of the clay molecule. It not only draws out, but binds with the toxins, eliminating them from the body. Because of this exceptionally strong drawing power, Smectites are known as detoxing agents. In the Smectite Family of clays, there are predominately Sodium and Calcium Bentonites.
Sodium Bentonites are naturally high in salt – as high as 14%. They are the swelling or expanding clays, taking on more water when hydrated. These have been used primarily for industrial purposes (e.g., liner materials for landfills, binders for iron ore processing, suspension agents in oil well drilling, and water-proofing products for building materials). Some are gradually being introduced in the alternative health field for external uses. The high salt content makes them questionable for internal use.
The clean, pure, all natural Calcium Bentonites are highly regarded for their healing properties. Popular for internal as well as external uses, they are more widely known for detoxing, cleansing, and drawing out impurities. In addition, Calcium Bentonite Clay’s high pH levels balance acidity. When taken as a preventative, a high quality Calcium Bentonite will capture and remove newly ingested toxins on a daily basis. Used as an internal cleanser, it aids the colon’s ability to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients; thus giving the body more energy. Used externally, clay’s electromagnetic ionic charge increases blood flow, circulation, lymphatic stimulation, and speeds cellular rejuvenation and repair. For more information on the healing properties of Calcium Bentonite Clays go to www.aboutclay.com.
These clays are carving a significant niche in the natural health world. One of the major problems is that clays have primarily been used for industrial purposes and therefore are not mined with attention to purity and cleanliness. For industrial purposes clays are scooped up, bagged, and stored with little care given to sanitary handling procedures.
The FDA has given all Bentonite clays a certification as GRAS: Generally Regarded as Safe. This refers to the exposure to clays during the milling process and for external uses. This does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that you can make health claims about clays LEGALLY. A clay company selling clay cannot legally say it will stop the pain of an insect bite, a Jellyfish sting, a tooth ache, clear up Acne, accelerate wound healing, stop Acid Reflux, diarrhea, or detox heavy metals until it has undergone one of the million dollar tests performed to FDA specifications and gets the FDA Approval. Since Clays have been known to help 50- 100 ailments, you would need a test for each ailment, and I think you can do the math on that one. Basically, clay has positive effects on so many ailments, it would take billions to get it approved for all the health claims.
Clay companies making healing claims are riding on the edge of serious trouble as clays become more and more popular. It is only a matter of time before the FDA rears its head and starts investigating the healing claims and shuts them down and/or issues serious fines. Today, the FDA has other fish to fry, so they have not messed with these up-and-coming clay companies.
There are companies that sell clays for internal use legally, but they have had to have their clay processed to meet FDA requirements. When clays are processed by FDA standards, whether by heat, sterilization or irradiation, the efficacy (strength) of the clay has been greatly reduced. Most companies making clay health claims have a disclaimer stating they are not FDA approved or tested.
So if you can’t make healing claims, what can a company legally say about the clay they sell? They can legally say clay relieves, detoxes (can’t say what), soothes, draws impurities, stimulates, and a few other very safe generic terms with no real meaning. Though this is a limitation, public excitement and word-of-mouth sharing on chat groups are spreading the real truth about the healing powers of clays.
Anytime a good thing comes along, there are those who recognize it as an opportunity to make money and will jump in and take advantage by pushing the rules. The misuse of the internet is a good example. More and more clay companies popping up are pushing the edge of truth. Some are copying information verbatim from other sites and claiming it as their own.
One man claimed to be selling Dead Sea mud that actually was Illinois dirt laced with cornstarch. Another clay with supposed healing powers contained toxic concentrations of arsenic at 500 times the level approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
This is another interesting statement: “Vegetables are not attacked by pests when grown with Brand X clay in the soil.” No proof was provided for this statement. If you have a concern with a statement made by a clay company, question it and ask for an explanation.
While clay may or may not decrease pest attacks on plants, clays added to the right composition of soil mixes can enhance plant growth. Agronomy is a chemical study of soil compositions: one mineral can affect the release of another mineral’s absorption and it is about finding the right formula for the results you want.
In general, plants have enzymes that are capable of breaking down the trace minerals in clays to synthesize them and absorb them as nutrients vital to living plants’ growth.
Clays not only help plants, but animals, too. For example, the shrimp study by Louis Kervran, the French scientist, world-famous for his provocative work on Biological Transmutations, is about a shrimp that lives in clay (Abehsera 1977, 7):
“It has been known for a long time that living organisms inhabit clay without any organic supply of food from the outside…the Niphargus shrimp… lives in the clay of caves…. Experiments have shown that it grows normally in pure clay to which nothing has been added. Research workers therefore thought that the shrimp lived on clay and nothing but clay, an impossibility according to the laws of biochemistry. Actually, it cannot live thus in clay alone, but this clay contains microorganisms which work for the shrimp, making vitamins, various mineral products, nitrogen, phosphorous, and calcium, etc.”
So can you see if you irradiated or heat processed clays to clean out ALL of the microorganisms, you are damaging the efficacy of the NATURAL elements as they are meant to be? Check the clay for dangerous elements by all means; that means no Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus Aureus, Pseudomonas Aeruginosa or fecal contamination.
A great concern with the influx of new clays is the lack of clay knowledge and the harm it will bring to the good reputation of quality clays.
There are many confusing and misleading statements to lure you to a particular clay. KNOW YOUR CLAY. Do your due diligence by asking the company questions and for a lab test as to the purity, cleanliness and an analysis of the primary minerals.
Below are criteria for selecting a quality clay what to expect from a reliable clay source:
*A natural calcium Bentonite clay pure and free of contaminants.
*A pH of 8.7 or above.
*Provides a mineral analysis sheet.
*Provides a certified laboratory microbial test.
*A Montmorillonite-Smectite Clay that Absorbs and Adsorb.
*So pure it is odorless and tasteless.
*It is an all natural vs. processed clay.
*Has professional packaging (no Ziploc bags or hand-written labels) with labels showing directions and ingredients.
*A non – gritty clay
*A company that gives you direct contact information - a phone number, physical address and an e-mail address.
*A company available to answer questions about their clay.
*A reliable company that has been in business for several years.
*A clay that does not stain material.
Continue to ask for the proof and do your due diligence. Educate yourself and use common sense. If you cannot speak to a person from that company, considerate it a red flag.
Now go find your perfect clay!
Abehsera, Michel. 1977. The Healing Clay: Amazing Cures from the Earth Itself. Brooklyn: Swan House Publishing Company.
Iran Mineral Import and Export. Bentonite. Iranian Mineral World. http://www.mineralco.net/bentonite/index.php#bentonite-cure