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.

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