he use of healing clay to treat a wide variety of dermatological and digestive disorders has been well-known to indigenous peoples around the world. South American tribes are known to carry small balls of clay in their "travel sacks," which they reconstitute and mix with their food to prevent food poisoning. The medicine men of several American Plains Indians have been known to instruct sufferers of various skin ailments to apply clay mud from specific river banks -- producing results that often baffled modern medical doctors.
A more extensive treatment on the background and use of healing clays is given in Ran Knishinsky's book, "The Clay Cure." (Read our nine-page summary -- (DOC format, 597k); or purchase from Amazon).
Enchanted Ruins Healing Clays
ur line of healing clays is divided into two broad groups: Mix (which is temporarily offline while the formulas are reworked) and the more economical Pre-Mix products. So there are four separate clay types. The only ingredient in the "Pre-Mix" is the raw, powdered, unreconstituted clay; whereas, the "Mix" products are the pure clays, purified water, and food-grade glycerin. Note there are only two sized containers: one for 'Pre-Mix' and another for the 'Mix' products. The variances in the weights in the table below (and on the package) are the result of the significant density difference between the clays.
Indigenous / Historical UsesGiven the current legal milieu surrounding the recommendations of using natural healing compounds (and this is particularly true in the U.S. and Canada), we provide the historical, indigenous, and time-honored usages for these four clays below:
Bentonite -- The version we use is common in North America - sporadically found and mined from the province of Alberta to the northern plains of Texas. Dr. Bernard Jensen, and other naturopaths, have recommended Bentonite for years as yet another vermifuge (parasite cleanser) and general detoxifier. We now make mention of it in our Bowel Cleansing phase of the Alpha Omega Liver / Colon Cleansing Program. Its use among naturopaths is primarily internal. Unless otherwise recommended by your health care practitioner, you should stick to the one teaspoon/day protocol. An excessive amount of Bentonite will provide an annoying astringent feeling (as if all the water has been drawn out of your intestines). It quickly passes - but, the point is, it can be avoided to begin with.
Feldspar -- For external use only - this clay variety is good for facials and assists in drawing toxins out of the skin. Variations of this clay (and "Red Cedar") were used extensively by native American indians, through their "medicine men" to treat a wide variety of dermatological problems.
Kaolin (USP) -- For internal use: this is the active clay used in Kaopectate (tm) and other anti-diarrhea formulas. The version we use has been processed to meet USP (United States Pharmacopaeia) standards of purity. There is nothing new about the application of clay to treat diarrhea and dysentery -- the British used this clay as a standard issue, going back to World War I, to provide soldiers in the field with relief from pathogenic bacteria, parasites, and protozoa that would infect their troops in foreign areas of military engagement.
Red Cedar -- For external use: this montmorillonite clay is good for use on the skin, over the site of sore muscles, sprains, and aches. Even among Alpha Omega's own staff, it has miraculously assisted with a variety of "deep tissue" issues. Although its mechanisms of action are not fully understood, we have never seen a toxicological or other adverse reaction related to its use. Interestingly, one of Alpha Omega's herbalists first heard of this clay from a Sioux medicine man who obtained his clay from a particular place along the banks of the North Platte River in Nebraska. We feel its actions deserve more thorough investigations.
Factoid -- The Otomac Indians who live along the Orinoco River in Venezuela hunt for fish with bows and arrows when the water is low but for two or three months of the year, when the water is too high and rapid, they survive on a diet of mud balls. The mud does not contain any nutrient that we can recognize and yet these Indians remain healthy and strong through the dirt eating season.
The Lost Knowledge
of Healing Clays
Given the explosion of the "natural foods" market in recent years, coupled with growing emphasis on "complimentary and alternative medicine," it is surprising how little attention has been paid to medicinal clays. The right clay, properly administered, can purify the blood, reduce or even eliminate infection, heal ulcers, and even rid the body of certain allergies. And how much more natural can you get? This is clay -- straight from Mother Earth.
Such is the most prominent feature of modern medicine.
In truth, clays -- loaded in minerals (primarily inorganic) -- represent the past vital energies of sun, air, and water, and possess healing powers we have only begun to understand, both external and internal.
Clays contain a slew of minerals -- mostly calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Additionally, zinc, copper, selenium, and aluminum can be found in some types. Among native American Indian tribes, different clays were used for different ailments. Clays come in varying shades of white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, and brown. The variety of colors is due to the variation in mineral compounds. Green clay owes its coloration to iron oxides. The Illite group of clays contains a particular species of green clay called glauconite. Generally used for cosmetic purposes, it makes a wonderful mask to draw impurities out of the skin. Red clay is often used in a bath or as a mask for the body as it disinfects, heals, soothes, and smoothes dry skin. The Kaolin group of clays is often used as a bulking agent and an antidiarrheal. As a matter of fact, Kaolin is the mineral clay used in the over-the-counter anti-diarrheal, Kaopectate. From the Smectite group of clays comes montmorillonite clay, which has very similar functionality to Bentonite clays, another type of clay from the Smectite group. (The name "Bentonite" is not its mineral name, but rather a trade name for a commercial type of clay; however, it has become well known by this name.)
Clays are amazing in their range of function. Externally, the right clay can reduce swelling, inflammation, drain infection, and cleanse and protect the skin. It is used in facials, masks, poultices, body wraps, and baths. Internally, clay cleanses and purifies, detoxifies, and balances the pH and the intestinal flora. It is not absorbed by the body, but works with the body to remove toxins, rebuild tissues, and rejuvenate tired or damaged organs.
Every alternative physician and naturopath who lives true to the sacred edicts of the healing arts should know the indispensable uses of healing clays.