Monday, April 29, 2013

Medicine Cabinet Favorite Feature - Bentonite Clay

Here's a medicine cabinet essential that you probably won't find at your local pharmacy: bentonite clay.

This finely-textured clay powder has a variety of applications that I have discovered since I began using it, so as I marveled at yet another discovery of its healing potency, I decided I should write about it! Bentonite clay, also known as montmorillonite (which mineral forms the bulk of the clay) has more uses than I have even tried, but I wanted to share those that I have found to be remarkable in simplicity and effectiveness.

1. Tummy-Rescue. Whether it's a case of nervous quease, stomach flu, or mild food-poisoning, a mixture of bentonite clay in water can dramatically reduce stomach upset. The clay's extremely absorbent particles soak up toxic stomach contents like a sponge, calming the upset and cleaning up the digestive tract as it passes through. I have found that even if I feel nauseous and unable to eat anything, I am able to get down the smooth and tasteless mud, alternating swallows with gulps of water, and the calming effect is not long in coming The clay can be mixed with a little raw apple cider vinegar as well as water for a smoother texture and added digestive help. It is important to drink sufficient water when consuming clay, since it will clog your system if it is consumed too dry. Making a paste rather than swallowing the powder in capsules, ensures that the powder is moistened, but should be accompanied with additional water. Also, if you are on life-sustaining medications, bentonite clay may also remove these from your system, so use caution in such cases. Ideally, wait at least an hour - before or after taking bentonite clay - to eat or take supplements. But if that greasy pork just gave you a turn 2 minutes ago, don't worry about waiting - gulp down some bentonite mud for quick relief.

2. Rash-rescue. From a reaction to an antibiotic and yeast infection, I had a persistent, painful rash, and after trying many remedies like aloe, essential oils, baking soda, etc. I decided to try bentonite clay. This remedy was messy and not simple, because it required being muddy for 20-30 minutes and then showering to remove the mud after it had dried - but it worked better than anything else. For smaller rashes, bug bites or poison ivy, a thick paste of bentonite clay mixed with water may be spread over the infected area and wrapped with a clean cotton cloth overnight and taped shut The smooth mud soothes the itching initially and keeps it from being scratched or irritated, and then pulls the toxins out of the skin as it dries. Remove the mud in the morning and/or when it is dry. There may be some extra redness and itching when the mud is removed, since the skin is reacting to toxins being pulled through the surface, so make sure to rinse thoroughly with soap and water. During cold weather, mix the clay with warm water to enhance the soothing effect.

3. Acne-rescue. Bentonite clay is great for pulling clogged grease out of your pores and helping breakouts to heal in double-time. Simply slather the mud over your washed face and wait for it to dry, then wash off thoroughly. (You may want to remove some with a paper towel and discard to avoid clogging your sink drain) A bad case of pimples might look initially worse, because the pulling clay will bring them to a head. In that case, apply pure aloe vera gel to aid healing (or your favorite natural skin moisturizing product) and then repeat the clay mask process the next day. You will notice much smoother skin with smaller pores, and acne healing and fading quickly.

4. Cut rescue. If I get a cut on my much-used hands - even a tiny one - it is likely to fester and get red and sore and cause all sorts of irritation.  Simply sprinkling a pinch of bentonite clay powder onto the damp skin of the wounded area after cleaning it, and then covering it with a bandage helps to keep the cut dry and free of infection. This is good to do after a shower or before going to bed. I am doing this right now with a nasty knuckle cut from a grater and am amazed at how nicely it is healing. I initially applied the clay in paste form, but the powder on damp skin seems to work better for healing. However, a thick clump of clay paste applied initially to a heavily-bleeding cut will help to staunch the blood flow and act as a barrier to bacteria.

This one item can take the place of the Pepto-Bismol, medicated acne treatments, anti-itch creams and triple-antibiotic ointment in your medicine cabinet. Besides, its non-toxic, chemical-free and you don't have to worry about your kids drinking it. (Spilling it would be another matter)

Other notes: 
Bentonite clay needs to be stored in a non-metallic and non-plastic container, since either of those substances have elements that will be absorbed into the clay and detract from its purifying properties. Ideally, store in glass containers and scoop and mix with a wooden or ceramic utensil.

I am not a doctor, so talk with yours about medical advice.

I like to buy bentonite clay from Best Bentonite. This has the most affordable price and shipping rates. Bulk Herb Stores also sells a quality bentonite clay, if you are planning a larger herb order. (Minimum $99 purchase for free shipping).

Activated charcoal has similar detoxifying properties to bentonite clay, but I have found charcoal to be somewhat harsher on my system when taken internally (sore mouth, stomach cramps) and much more messy when used externally (black dust puffs everywhere when it dries), so I recommend clay over charcoal.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

What Happened to Margalo - Part 3

On Sunday morning the Summer’s awoke to an odd goldy-gray half light glowing at the windows. Mr. Summer pulled up the blinds and declared that there was a storm brewing if he’d ever seen one. Leona who loved thunderstorms, had climbed up the leg of Mr. Summer’s trousers to sit on the window sill and was gazing intently at the sky. “A storm is a beautiful thing, a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful thing!” she chanted while turning cartwheels along the windowsill.
Mother turned from the stove where she presided over two sizzling pans of eggs and sausages. “Oh, Leona, dear - don’t! You’ll fall!”she exclaimed. Leona landed her final cartwheel, scampered to her father’s hand on the windowsill and ascended to his shoulder by way of his his shirt sleeve for a better view out the window.
“A storm,” said Mr. Summer, “is a beautiful thing when you are looking out on it from a safe place.  It is not always beautiful when you are caught in it.” He pointed out the window. “That sparrow up there, hurrying across the sky, might not think the storm so beautiful unless he finds a suitable shelter.”
Ralph was still in his room, watching the morning stand-off between the sun and the storm clouds from his window. The storm clouds glowered, dark and threatening in the west. The sun glared back from the east, shooting yellow rays of light over the housetops and treetops and bruising the storm clouds blue and green. The trees and buildings pointed their long black shadows at the clouds and stood very still while the wind waited its turn to begin blowing.  It was a solemn moment. Ralph wondered what the river looked like right now. But then Dad called from the bottom of the stairs, “Breakfast, Ralph!”
At breakfast, Ralph talked about his encounter with Ned and Eric the evening before. “I never know just what to do when things like that happen,” he said. “I’m not a ranger, or a police officer, or their parents, but sometimes it just seems like someone needs to do something or say something and there’s no one else to do it.”
“I’d just like to see them try to throw things at me!” squeaked Leona, waving her toothpick fork above her head.
“There would be no question of what to do then, Leona” said Dad, with a troubled expression on his face. “Ralph, I think you did well. It’s always tricky to know when to talk to people about what they are doing. Pray for wisdom.”
The thunderstorm began during church. Ralph had heard it rumbling outside during the sermon. When church let out, people hurried to their cars as large drops of rain began to go splat on the ground, leaving wet marks as big as nickels. Leona wanted to play her favorite game, Dodge the Raindrops, but Mrs. Summer was afraid someone would step on her in the general hurry to the cars, so Leona contented herself with looking on from the security of Mrs. Summer’s handbag.  (Mrs. Summer had sewn into her handbag a special pocket for Leona that was positioned at the just the right distance from the top so Leona’s head could reach above the top when she stood. It had a pleated bottom with a tiny padded board that she could stand or lie down on, and Leona liked it quite well.)
By the time the Summers got home, the full scale splattering had begun. The storm was on. Rain drops attacked the ground like bullets from a million rain guns, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed.  Ralph hoped the storm would blow over by the afternoon so he could take the Merry Marmot out on the river.  But it did not. The thunder rolled away to the east, frightening all the boats off the river, and leaving the Summer’s home behind, but the rain poured on and on.