Down to Earth

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Contrary to popular belief eating earth could actually be good for you! The answer to tummy troubles and more might be right under your feet.

Animals and indigenous cultures have always consumed clay for curative and preventative purposes. Eating earth eliminates toxins, nourishes and soothes skin. Diluting clay or activated charcoal in water was an ancient purification process. The trendy trio of activated charcoal, bentonite clay, and diatomaceous earth share the same actions – absorbing toxins, gases, microbes and chemicals in large quantities. They are effective at eliminating nasties while remineralising the body. Charcoal and bentonite also have excellent external applications for skin, teeth, and hair.

Benevolent bentonite

This gray clay comes from volcanic crucibles worldwide. From time immemorial this amazing ash has been transformed into muddy medicine for ritualistic, curative and cosmetic purposes. Bentonite is like a bodyguard that binds to the body’s toxins and encourages their evacuation. Its negative charge attracts positively charged toxins and expels them. It can also build our mineral stores with calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium content. Bentonite’s alkaline nature neutralises the acidity underlying inflammation and many illnesses. The cleansing clay is indicated for digestive issues such as acid reflux, bloat, cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, viruses, IBS, nausea, parasites, and poisoning. A bit of bentonite regularly improves immunity by lining the gut, preventing leaky gut syndrome. Bentonite is best taken from a reliable source tested for heavy metals. Overdosing on bentonite can deplete nutrients and cause constipation.

  • For an alkalising soak add a cup to a bath.
  • Make a purifying bentonite beauty mask with a teaspoon bentonite, two teaspoons egg white and a third of a teaspoon of turmeric.
  • Powder on armpits or feet to deodorise.
  • Dust on your baby’s bum to prevent or treat nappy rash.

Choose charcoal

You can’t beat the anti-diarrheal, anti-gas gumption of charcoal. A potent and popular product is 100 percent medical grade, steam activated, coconut shell charcoal powder. It’s odourless, tasteless and free from side effects except for rare nausea. Charcoal is very adsorbent, allowing it to bind to molecules and remove impurities. This black toxin blocker is even used in hospitals to drag out drugs such as sedatives. Suffering from a bout of food poisoning can be lessened by consuming a tablespoon of activated charcoal mixed with water. Studies show charcoal can clear toxins from the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and skin. It also soaks up gas like a sponge.

 

Clinical trials suggest charcoal whitens teeth and clears plaque, bacteria, viruses, and fungi from the mouth. Mix with bentonite clay and water or coconut oil for a remineralising, purifying toothpaste. Be careful though as while it won’t stain teeth, it may stain crowns, caps or porcelain veneers. Lowering cholesterol with charcoal works according to a study where participants cholesterol decreased by 25 percent, LDL cholesterol decreased by 41 percent and HDL increased by 8 percent in just four weeks. Charcoal poultices or charcoal bandaids over bites, stings, and rashes helps extract the aggravating agent. Make into a paste with pure water and apply to dermatitis, psoriasis or blemishes.  Try charcoal to remove odours from rooms, shoes, fridges, and cars. Charcoal is considered very safe but it’s advised to take two hours away from medication to prevent interference with supplements or medication. Overconsumption can cause constipation, diarrhea or dehydration.

 

Edible earth

What is diatomaceous earth or DE? This soft, silica-rich sedimentary rock is formed from fossilised remains of single-celled algae or diatoms. It’s valued as a silica supplement and a gastrointestinal tract detoxifier. DE also contains trace minerals of calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. DE’s high silica is beneficial for bones, skin, teeth, nails and hair. It banishes bloat and intestinal toxins. DE evicts gut bacteria, fungi, parasites, pathogens, viruses, and heavy metals through their miniscule pores. A conservative dose is a teaspoon twice daily to detox and five percent in pet food to expel worms. Dusting leaves protects plants from pests and provides nourishment for soils. Food grade DE is considered safe with a caution that inhalation can irritate respiratory channels.

Use ceramic vessels and wooden utensils when preparing activated charcoal, bentonite clay or diatomaceous earth as they can absorb metal or plastic. Consult your health provider before using especially if ill, pregnant or breastfeeding.

DIY charcoal face mask for acne-prone skin

Mix a tablespoon activated charcoal with one to two teaspoons of aloe vera gel (enough to create a paste) and a single drop of tea tree oil, mix in a small bowl and apply to face, avoid areas around eyes and mouth. Leave for ten minutes or until dry, rinse with warm water and then cold to seal the pores ready to tone and moisturise.

 

Image credit: Gold Mountain Beauty

About Caroline Robertson
Caroline Robertson is a Sydney-based naturopath specialising in diet and digestion. For consultations contact www.carolinerobertson.com.au.

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