for Selecting a Quality Healing Clay
by Perry A~ Arledge
1998, when I first googled Bentonite Clays, I got 5,000 results.
Today, 14 years later in 2012, I get 3,170,000 results.
That’s quite a significant increase.
What can we
attribute this increase to? With the growing realization of the
dangers of traditional medicines, the search for a natural and
safe alternative has brought man back to this healing element
that has been used for thousands of years by indigenous people
around the globe.
rising popularity and recognition of clays being safe, natural
and inexpensive, clay companies are popping up over night. This
alternative to prescription, side-effect-riddled medicine has
everyone wanting to get in on this opportunity to make money -
and some actually care about sharing this remarkable healing
anything that grows too fast, the lack of education and
knowledge about clays can pose a danger to society. Kitchens and
garages become launch pads for home grown businesses and new
domain names flood the Internet with eager entrepreneurs in
search of financial freedom. Common sense and safety in handling
are ignored in eagerness to capture a corner of the market.
With that in
mind, it is extremely important to know your clays, what the law
requires, and what the clay companies should provide in the way
of service and information.
clays are different, making it complicated to understand the
many differences in clay families. For this article, let’s
focus on the Smectite Family of Clays known commonly as
Bentonites/Montmorillonites. A unique trait of the
Smectite Family of clay is the ability to adsorb, as well as
absorb. In the Smectite Family of clays, there are
predominately Sodium and Calcium Bentonites.
Bentonites are naturally high in salt – some as high as 14%.
They are the swelling or expanding clays, taking on more water
when hydrated. These have been used primarily for
industrial purposes (e.g., liner materials for landfills,
binders for iron ore processing, suspension agents in oil well
drilling, in paints and water-proofing products for building
all Calcium Bentonite Clays are not the same! They differ in
composition of minerals, colors, textures, swelling capacity,
taste, odor, grittiness and purity. The major differences
lie in proportion of the trace minerals that make up clays. All
clays contain from 60 – 70 trace minerals, and most in parts
per million (ppm) and in insignificant amounts. The primary
minerals determine the common names of many clays, as do
Bentonites are more widely known as healing clays for detoxing,
cleansing, drawing our impurities and used in many products such
as toothpaste, antacids, and cosmetics.
are carving a significant niche in the natural health world. One
of the major problems is that industrial clays are not mined
with attention to purity and cleanliness. For industrial
purposes, it is NOT important for the clay to be clean and pure.
For these purposes, clays are dirt cheap (excuse the pun), as
they are only scooped up, bagged, and sold (and usually only
sold by the tonnage or truck load).
The FDA has
given all Bentonite clays a certification as GRAS: Generally
Regarded as Safe. This refers to the exposure to clays during
the milling process and for external uses. This does not mean,
by any stretch of the imagination, that you can make health
claims about clays LEGALLY. A clay company selling clay
cannot legally say it will stop the pain of an insect bite, a
Jellyfish sting, a tooth ache, clear up Acne, accelerate wound
healing, stop Acid Reflux, relieve diarrhea, or detox heavy
metals until it has undergone one of the million dollar tests
performed to FDA specifications and gets the FDA Approval. Since
Clays have been known to help 50- 100 ailments, you would need a
test for each ailment, and I think you can do the math on that
one. Basically, clay has positive effects on so many ailments,
it would take billions to get it approved for all the health
making healing claims are riding on the edge of serious trouble
as clays become more and more popular. It is only a matter of
time before the FDA rears its head and starts investigating the
healing claims and shuts them down and/or issues serious fines.
Today, the FDA has other fish to fry, so they have not messed
with these up-and-coming clay companies.
companies that sell clays for internal use legally, but they
often have had their clay treated or processed to meet FDA
requirements rather than meeting the standards with a natural
unprocessed clay. When clays are processed, whether by
heat, sterilization or irradiation, the efficacy (strength) of
the clay has been greatly reduced.
So if you
can’t make healing claims, what can a company legally say
about the clay they sell? They can legally say clay relieves,
detoxes (can’t say what), soothes, draws impurities (it is a
known fact that clay is used by the wine and beer industry for
drawing out impurities), stimulates, and a few other very safe
generic terms with no real meaning.
Anytime a good
thing comes along, there are those who recognize it as an
opportunity to make money and will jump in and take advantage by
pushing the rules. The misuse of the internet is a good
example. More and more clays are pushing the edge of truth.
Some are copying information verbatim from other sites and
claiming it as their own.
One man claimed
to be selling Dead Sea mud that actually was Illinois dirt laced
with cornstarch. This is another interesting statement:
“Vegetables are not attacked by pests when grown with Brand X
clay in the soil.” I would say to show me some proof. If
you have a concern with a statement made by a clay company,
question it and ask for an explanation.
While clay may
or may not decrease pest attacks on plants, clays added to the
right composition of soil mixes can enhance plant growth.
Agronomy is a chemical study of soil compositions: one mineral
can affect the release of another mineral’s absorption and it
is about finding the right formula for the results you want.
plants have enzymes that are capable of breaking down the trace
minerals in clays to synthesize them and absorb them as
nutrients vital to living plants’ growth.
Clays not only
help plants, but animals, too. For example, the shrimp
study by Louis Kervran, the French scientist, world-famous for
his provocative work on Biological Transmutations, is about a
shrimp that lives in clay:
“It has been
known for a long time that living organisms inhabit clay without
any organic supply of food from the outside…the Niphargus
shrimp… lives in the clay of caves…. Experiments have shown
that it grows normally in pure clay to which nothing has been
added. Research workers therefore thought that the shrimp lived
on clay and nothing but clay, an impossibility according to the
laws of biochemistry. Actually, it cannot live thus in clay
alone, but this clay contains microorganisms which work for the
shrimp, making vitamins, various mineral products, nitrogen,
phosphorous, and calcium, etc.” (Abehsera 1977, 7).
So can you see
if you irradiated or heat processed clays to clean out ALL of
the microorganisms, you are damaging the efficacy of the NATURAL
elements as they are meant to be? Check the clay for dangerous
elements by all means; that means no Escherichia Coli,
Salmonella, Staphylococcus Aureus and/or Pseudomonas Aeruginosa.
Some people are
genuinely excited about their clays. Listening to them, they
think they have found the best clay on the planet. Most go to
great pains with the wording that sets their clay apart and they
take bits and pieces here and there, and suddenly it is all
about their clay.
concern with the influx of new clays is the lack of integrity
and clay knowledge and the harm it will bring to the good
reputation of quality clays.
There are many
confusing and misleading statements to lure you to a particular
clay. KNOW YOUR CLAY. Do your due diligence by asking the
company questions and for a lab test as to the purity,
cleanliness and an analysis of the primary minerals.
selecting a quality clay and a reliable clay source:
- Is it a
Calcium Bentonite Clay from the Smectite family of clays?
- Is it a
Calcium based Bentonite/Montmorillonite Clay?
- Is it a
company provides Mineral Analysis documentation?
- Is it a
company that provides a Quality Control Report to insure the
purity of their product?
- Is it a
company that provides easy access to qualified personnel to
answer your questions?
- Is the clay
milled to at least a 325-screen mesh?
- Is it a
naturally non-gritty clay?
- Is the pH at
least 8.5 or above?
- Is it a
- Is it a clay
with a Cation Exchange Capacity of 80-100 millequivalents
100 g-1, capable of adsorbing and absorbing positive charged
- Is it
considered a green swelling clay?
- Is it
tasteless and odorless?
- Is it a
reliable company that has been in business for several
- Does it come
with Professional Packaging (no Ziploc bags or hand-written
labels) with labels showing directions and ingredients?
- Is it an
all-natural, clean clay, direct from the source mine which
has not been processed or purified in any fashion?
- Is it a clay
from a mine protected from the elements?
Continue to ask
for the proof and do your due diligence. Educate yourself and
use common sense. If you cannot speak to a person from that
company, considerate it a red flag.
anything there are exceptions to the rules. There are some low
sodium Bentonites that are acceptable for internal uses. Though
green clays have long been known for their healing properties
there are some colored clays that have healing properties as
is a good way to determine if the clay you select is right for
you. The proof is in the pudding so try your favorites and
Now go find
your perfect clay!
A~ Arledge is the author of Calcium Bentonite Clay Nature’s
Pathway to Healing (www.TheClayBook.com)
and numerous clay articles (www.BentoniteClayInfo.com).
She is a frequent guest on health talk radio shows. She is
dedicated to spreading the word about clay's healing potential
and putting attention on safe healing with Bentonite Clay.
She is available for lectures, radio interviews, and answering
questions on clay therapy. Perry A~ can be reached at
1-512-262-7187 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2015 Perry A~