Why Eat Clay + How to Make a Clay Face Mask June 07 2015 by Simone Denny 1 Comment
I have been meaning to write about edible clay for a long time. I tried my first bentonite 'clay shake' about 10 years ago at a place called the Sanctuary in Koh Phangan in Thailand. At the time I was working for a bank in Hong Kong and decided to take myself off for a 7 day detox/cleanse on this small Island off Koh Samui. Among other things, the cleanse involved 4 detoxifying clay shakes a day, which were bentonite clay mixed with psyllium husk and watermelon juice. It might sound disgusting and it does take some getting used to but I have say after my 7 day cleanse I felt like a completely different woman. I felt so good in fact that I returned 3 years later to do it all over again.
History of Bentonite Clay
Many people are perplexed by the thought of eating clay and perhaps consider it as just another health fad. However eating clay is nothing new - clay has been used for it's healing properties for centuries. The first recorded use clay for therapeutic purposes was in the 2nd century AD by a famous Greek philosopher and physician. There are biblical references to the healing power of clay and over the centuries the Greeks, Romans, Aztecs and Europeans have all hailed the health benefits of clay. During the First World War, German physicians used clay therapy to successfully treat troops for food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhoea and wound infection.
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay (also called montmorillonite) is a smectite class of clay, which comes from deposits of weathered volcanic ash from millions of years ago. According to Australian Healing Clay 'a good quality bentonite has high absorptive properties and drawing power, it has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odourless and non staining'. Bentonite Clay can be used externally or internally and is well regarded for it's ability absorb and remove toxins from the body.
How does it work?
The particles of clay are said to carry a negative electrical charge, whereas many toxins and other impurities carry a positive electrical charge. Ran Knishinsky, author of the Clay Cure wrote that 'when bentonite clay is taken internally, the positively charged toxins are attracted by the negatively charged edges of the clay mineral. When this exchange reaction occurs, the clay swaps its ions for those of the other substance. Once electrically satisfied it holds the toxin in suspension till the body can eliminate both' (this process is referred to as adsorption)
Why Eat Bentonite Clay
- Excellent detoxifier (absorbs heavy metals, chemicals, pesticides, environmental pollutants etc)
- Balances bacteria in the digestive tract
- Cleanses the bowel
- Increases energy (both emotionally and physically)
- Clears skin
- Stimulates the immune system
- Speeds up recovery from vomiting and diarrhoea
How to take Bentonite Clay?
Clay Toothpaste - you can buy clay toothpaste already made (we recommend Earthpaste) or you can easily make your own. I thought this looked like a great recipe here - you can get 100% pure essential peppermint oil and tea tree oil here.
Clay Masks - bentonite clay masks are excellent for cleansing and rejuvenating the skin. They act as an exfoliant and have antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties (so excellent for treating acne). Furthermore this is a very economical way to treat yourself to a facial and contain no nasties, just 100% natural ingredients.
The basic clay mask recipe is to mix a couple of tablespoons of bentonite clay with enough water to form a paste. You can create numerous variations to this, experimenting with different oils (coconut, almond or apricot oil) and a range of different pure essential oils. Simply mix the ingredients in a glass bowl and apply it to your face, leaving it to dry for 15 - 20 minutes.
Exfoliation Mask: Mix 1 tablespoons of bentonite clay to a glass bowl (remember to avoid metal), 2 tablespoons of ground oats, 2-3 tablespoons of water and 3 drops of tea tree oil (excellent for acne issues, blackheads and blemishes) and leave on for 15 - 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
Detoxifying Mask: Mix 2 tablespoons of bentonite clay, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 2 teaspoons of honey, as above, leave on for 15 - 20 minutes before rinsing off. This is great for a deep skin cleanse, removing age spots and dark circles under the eyes.
Make me Radiant Mask: This is my personal favourite because I love spirulina! Simply mix 1 tablespoons of bentonite clay, 1 teaspoon of spirulina and 2 - 3 tablespoon of water in a glass bowl and apply to face for 15 - 20 minutes. Spirulina is a blue green algae, which has excellent antioxidant properties and is one of the most nutrient dense foods you will find. You can read more about the benefits in my article on algae here.
Clay Poultice: Clay poultices are another excellent use of clay. Due to clays ability to eliminate toxins, it can be used topically on wounds to help draw out infection, heal wounds (internal and external) and relieve burns or stings. To make a clay poultice simply use 2 parts water and 1 part clay (it is best to add clay to water) and mix it in a ceramic or glass container (again avoid metal). Spread the clay onto a gauze cloth and then lightly bandage to keep it place. Leave it on for 20 - 60 minutes.
If taking Bentonite clay internally one should seek medical advice if:
1. If you are taking prescription medication
2. If you have a hight blood pressure.
3. You have iron intolerances.
We recommend Australian Healing Clay (obviously Australian) and Redmond Clay (USA). Check out our full range of detox products here.
Hope you've had a lovely weekend!
The Clay Cure by Ran Knishinsky, Healing Arts Press, Rochester