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 – adsorbing 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.
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, diarrhoea, flatulence, viruses, IBS, nausea, parasites and poisoning. A bit of bentonite regularly improves immunity by lining the gut, preventing leaky gut syndrome. 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. Bentonite is best taken from a reliable source tested for heavy metals. Overdosing on bentonite can deplete nutrients and cause constipation.
You can’t beat the anti-diarrheal, anti-gas gumption of charcoal. A potent and popular product is 100 per cent medical grade, steam activated, coconut shell charcoal powder. It’s odourless, tasteless and free from side effects except 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 as though it won’t stain teeth, it may stain crowns, caps or porcelain veneers. Try charcoal to remove odours from rooms, shoes, fridges and cars. Lowering cholesterol with charcoal works according to a study where participant’s cholesterol decreased by 25 per cent, LDL cholesterol decreased by 41 per cent and HDL increased by 8 per cent 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. 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, diarrhoea or dehydration.
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 per cent 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.
Caroline Robertson is a Sydney-based naturopath and first aid trainer. For consultations or retreats contact www.carolinerobertson.com.au