Bentonite clay is formed from volcanic ash. Cool, huh? I’ve only recently heard of this healing clay and this was one of the cool facts that stuck with me.
Cultures over the years used bentonite clay and other healing clays for their rich supply of nutrients and ability to rid the body of toxins.
Looking at nature, many animals will instinctively eat dirt and clay during times of illness or distress to help remove toxins and poisons from their bodies.
In Dr. Weston A. Price’s book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, he describes how various native cultures, like those from Australia, Central Africa, and those in the Andes, would consume clays in many different ways. One common use was they would carry around balls of the dried clay with them in their bags, and when it came time to eat a meal, they would dissolve a small portion of the clay in some water to have with their food to help prevent poisoning from any toxins that may have been ingested.
Bentonite clay is well-known for its internal and external detoxification abilities, and has risen in popularity over the past years.
What Is Bentonite Clay?
As I mentioned earlier, bentonite clay is formed from aged volcanic ash, known as “Montmorillonite.” It’s grey or cream in colour, odourless, and has a soft, very fine consistency to it. Unlike some other clays, bentonite clay doesn’t stain and is very easy to work with, which is why it is commonly found in beauty products and natural remedies.
Bentonite clay is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium. It also has a wondrous ability to absorb and remove toxins, impurities, heavy metals, and chemicals from the body (similar to that of activated charcoal).
Because of this characteristic, bentonite clay is frequently used in detox and cleansing products. Common external uses for it include skin care recipes, detox baths, poultices, and mud packs.
Bentonite clay can also be used internally. When ingested, its nutrient-rich properties may also help to cleanse the gut and relieve symptoms of indigestion. It has an alkalising effect on the body, and when taken correctly, it may help to balance gut bacteria. When handling the powder, it’s recommended to use wooden utensils rather than metal, as the clay may potentially absorb the properties of the metal!
Benefits of Bentonite Clay & How It Works
What’s fascinating about bentonite clay specifically is its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when water is added to it. When it comes into contact with liquid, its electrical components change. It produces a negative electrical charge which helps to draw out toxins from the body. Since many toxins have a positive charge, the clay bonds to them and draws them out of your body.
When the clay comes into contact with a heavy metal, toxin, chemical, or other impurity, it “gobbles it up” (so it essentially absorbs it) and then releases its minerals for the body to use. Amazing, aye!
What’s more, bentonite clay pulls out excess hydrogen from cells, which allows room for oxygen. This helps with circulation and overall skin tone and health.
Some of the benefits of taking bentonite clay include:
- Provides minerals for the body
- Great for detoxifying
- Relieves digestive discomforts like constipation, gas, acid reflux, bloating, etc.
- Used externally for all types of skin issues to help speed up the healing process
- Helps with allergy and skin problems
- Helps improve oral health.
A study conducted by the Arizona University found that bentonite clay was discovered to be very effective at killing MRSA, Salmonella, E.Coli, and other bacteria. What’s encouraging as research continues to develop in this area is that depending on the means used by the clay to kill the infection, it may not be possible for the MRSA or other bacteria to develop a resistance to it as they can do with antibiotics.
Bentonite Clay Uses
Bentonite clay has become a regular part of my skin care routine. At least once a week I’ll use it in my healing mask that I apply to my skin. I’ve now recently begun to look at how I can use it internally too to reap its amazing health benefits. I usually get the bentonite clay I use from my local health food store or online. It is a great staple to add to your natural remedy collection.
Here are some of the many uses of bentonite clay:
- Face Mask. It is a common ingredient found in many beauty products due to its ability to bind with and remove toxins and impurities. For smooth and healthy skin, I use a bentonite clay mask that I make at home by simply mixing 2 tbsp of bentonite clay, 1 tsp of activated black charcoal, and 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar. I mix all the ingredients together to form a paste, then I apply it all over my face and leave it on for 20 minutes, after which I wash it off with luke warm water (careful not to get it everywhere, as activated charcoal is difficult to clean). Alternatively, you can just use bentonite clay and water, mix them together to form a paste, apply it to your face, and wash it off with warm water after 20 minutes. I generally do this once or twice a week. Another option is to mix 1 tbsp of bentonite clay with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar (add 1-2 tsp of water if need be to get the right kind of paste consistency) and apply to your face.
- For Your Skin. If you have any skin irritations like cuts, blemishes, bug bites, itchy skin, or burns, apply a paste of bentonite clay and water to the affected area. Leave it on until it dries then wash it off. This remedy is supposed to be especially calming for itchy skin caused by eczema, chickenpox, psoriasis, etc.
- Poultice For Cuts, Insect Bites, Burns, or Stings. If the skin problems are more severe, create a poultice by applying a thick layer of clay to the affected area on the skin and place a wet cloth or gauze over the top. Then, wrap the area and leave the poultice on, changing it around every 2 hours. This treatment may also be used to help relive poison ivy.
- Detox Bath. Add about 1/4 cup of bentonite clay for a relaxing detox bath that also helps to soften the skin.
- For Cleansing Internally. Pour 1/2 to 1 tsp of bentonite clay in a jar, add one cup of water, then screw the lid on and shake until well combined. Drink almost every day. Make sure that any clay taken internally is labelled safe for internal use. This one is safe to consume.
- Armpit Detox. Mix together 1 tbsp of bentonite clay and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar (add 1-2 tsp of water if need be to get the right consistency) to use as an armpit detox. For more on why, see this post.
- Homemade Soap. Bentonite clay is wonderful for acne and oily skin. Adding this clay to your homemade soap recipe can help give a silky feel to it.
- Oral Rinse. Bentonite clay can be used to whiten and remineralise teeth! It can help to alkalise the mouth and remove toxins and bacteria. Place 1/2 tsp of bentonite clay and 1/4 cup of water in a small jar with a plastic lid (not metal) and shake until well combined. Then, rinse your mouth with the clay water for 1-2 minutes, and repeat until you’ve used up all the water.
- Oral Health. As bentonite clay is fantastic at binding to heavy metals and toxins, and provides the body with a wide variety of minerals, it’s great to use for brushing as it’s relatively tasteless. Simply dip the bristles of your toothbrush into the powder and scrub your teeth. Swish the bentonite clay around in your mouth, pushing it through all the gaps in your teeth to ensure every nook and cranny gets covered by the powder before spitting it out into the sink and rinsing.
- For Pets. If your pet is throwing up, or showing signs of illness, you can add bentonite clay to their water or mix with water and give it to them orally with a dropper or syringe without the needle.
- Digestive Problems Or Morning Sickness. Before you use it during pregnancy, check with your doctor or medical professional first. If you are given the all-clear, you can take 1/4 -1/2 tsp of bentonite clay in water during the early stages of pregnancy to help relieve morning sickness.
- Relieve Mastitis. Make a poultice of bentonite clay and water and apply to the affected area. Repeat each hour until the infection goes. Wellness Mama also took bentonite clay internally along with supplementing with vitamin C and fish oil.
- Baby Powder. Using bentonite clay by itself can be a very effective baby powder and may help to relieve infection or redness. To help speed up recovery in this area, it can be made into a “mask” or paste.
Precautions When Using Bentonite Clay
- Do not allow the bentonite clay to come into contact with anything metal, as it can absorb the properties within the metal and reduce the clay’s effectiveness. If you need to mix it, use a plastic or wooden spoon, or pour into a glass jar with a plastic lid and shake well.
- When taking bentonite clay internally, for best results do not take it within an hour of food, and avoid taking it within 2 hours of having had medications or supplements, as this may reduce its effectiveness also. Check with your doctor or medical professional before using it if you have any medical/health condition.
- As bentonite clay may contain lead, it’s very important that you get it from a reliable source.
It’s important that you do your own research, especially when looking for a high-quality bentonite clay that doesn’t contain lead. I personally choose to use the one Wellness Mama recommends as I trust her judgement. So, this is the bentonite clay I use.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
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Have you used bentonite clay before? What did you use it for? Share with us in the comments below!
Wells, Katie. (August 24, 2018). Benefits of Bentonite Clay (& How to Use It). Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/5915/bentonite-clay-benefits/
Top 5 Uses of Bentonite Clay. Nourished Life. Retrieved from https://www.nourishedlife.com.au/article/942332/top-uses-of-bentonite-clay.html