Gone are the days when we mere folk thought that clay is only good for growing plants. With constant discoveries of methods for boosting health and wellness, we face no shortage of tips and tricks. One such trend is using bentonite clay for its various benefits—a method that had actually been practiced centuries ago in ancient civilizations. Learn more about bentonite clay uses and benefits in this article.
Bentonite in History
The use of bentonite clay throughout history is not limited to making bricks or earthenware pottery. In fact, some historians believe that Cleopatra herself used clay from the Nile River and the Arabian desert for her royal beauty regime. According to a study in the Journal of Chemical Ecology, even renowned philosopher Aristotle believed in geophagy, which is the consumption of earthy substances to combat mineral deficiency. It is also historically verified that dating back to the prehistoric era, early humans used clay for medical purposes such as treatment of food poisoning, pain, digestive problems, insect bites, and infections.
The name of the clay is first coined by geologist Wilbur Knight in 1898, and it stems from Fort Benton, Wyoming, the largest source of bentonite clay supply. Today, a significant amount is still harvested from the said town. Another term for bentonite is montmorillonite clay, which is derived from Montmorillon, a region in France.
What is in Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is a substance with mud-like consistency that is made of volcanic ash. It is a natural source of minerals that are beneficial to humans for multiple purposes. According to a practitioner of natural health, Galina St. George, minerals are essential for every process in the human body such as stimulating enzyme reactions, expelling toxins, and assimilating nutrients. Considering that bentonite clay is completely organic, usage is generally safe and side effects are not a common worry.
The composition of negative ions in bentonite clay prompts a chemical reaction when the clay is consumed or applied on the skin. Dr. Josh Axe of U.S. News and World Reports explains that Bentonite clay works on a molecular level. When combined with water, the clay expands and attracts heavy metal toxins including benzene, lead, cadmium, and mercury. These harmful substances will stay attached to the clay and will be expelled from the body through regular bowel movements.
Bentonite Clay Uses and Benefits
Bentonite clay’s main ability is to cleanse and detoxify the body. Other wonderful benefits of using this clay are grounded on its main function to absorb toxins. Let’s now discuss how bentonite clay further promotes optimum health.
Beautifies the Skin
All of us are probably already aware that the first step to achieving healthy skin is cleansing. A practicing aesthetician, Biba de Sousa claims that bentonite clay serves as a powerful cleanser by binding to impurities and pulling pollutants off of the skin.
When used as a mask, it regulates excess sebum by absorbing oil without removing the skin’s natural moisture. Bentonite clay is also very rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium which are known for their detoxifying properties.
Another way to use bentonite clay is as a natural exfoliator that sloughs off dead skin cells and evens out texture to make your skin soft and smooth.
Bentonite clay can be an effective acne treatment, considering that it solves skin issues leading to acne, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. These concerns include clogged pores, the build-up of impurities, excessive oil production, and flaky skin texture.
Mixing bentonite clay in a warm bath and soaking for half an hour can soothe skin irritations, redness, and inflammation. It can also strengthen skin and improve the appearance of scars and other blemishes.
Supports Digestion and Weight Loss
Bentonite clay uses don’t stop at skincare. Consuming bentonite either by eating or drinking the clay will flush out toxins from your body and promote healthy digestion. Research shows that bentonite clay has the ability to neutralize gut bacteria and cleanse the digestive tract from viruses that cause gastroenteritis. It can also be a good remedy for constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and morning sickness in pregnant women.
If you wish to consume bentonite clay orally, Dr. Josh Axe provides a simple recipe for a tonic. In a jar, combine water to the clay and dissolve it. You can then drink this mixture once a day.
Ingesting this tonic may also promote healthy weight loss. In fact, a study available on the US National Library of Medicine database found that incorporating bentonite clay in the diet of participants contributed to weight loss and a decrease of cholesterol level.
Works Effectively as a Hair Mask
Some studies assert that bentonite clay is beneficial as a hair mask. In fact, a review from the Iranian Journal of Public Health proved that bentonite clay can speed up the growth of sheep wool. Using bentonite clay on a human hair is also very safe and side effects are almost non-existent due to its natural composition.
Bentonite clay provides extreme moisture which helps in conditions such as hair damage and dryness, itchy scalp, and lack of luster. It also tames down frizzy hair and allows it to be more manageable. Like it does with the skin, bentonite clay attracts dirt and oil from the hair, leaving it light and clean.
To create the mask, combine the clay with water and some apple cider vinegar. Mixed them together and play with the measurements until you achieve your preferred consistency. Apply it on sections of your hair from the scalp to the ends and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing off. You can use this mask several times a week, depending on how damaged your hair is.
Improves Dental Health
There are various harmful toxins that invade the mouth, making it susceptible to infection, gum disease, and tooth decay. Swallowing these substances can also lead to health complications. Bentonite clay attracts toxins in the mouth and expels them.
Its powerful antibacterial properties and ability to bind to substances make it an effective ingredient in some toothpaste and mouthwashes. Bentonite clay can be used as a rinse by gargling some water infused with the clay for 30 to 60 seconds. After spitting out the solution, you can rinse your mouth with clean water.
While there is still room for scientific research to support the health benefits of bentonite clay, its usage in history as a natural treatment is well-documented. If you wish to use bentonite clay, it is important to track the results and adjust the amount and frequency to make the clay work better for your personal needs.