The Healing Power of Clay

Clay has been used for thousands of years as both an internal and external purification aid. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese and indigenous cultures used clay to detoxify, heal wounds and used clay in a wide variety of building applications. However, the use of clay for medicinal purposes has been around for generations. Common to Greeks and Romans, clay healed fractures, and the famous Greek doctor Dioscoride noted its “extraordinary strength” for healing.

Clay was used by the Amargosian Indians (who preceded the Aztecs) and the natives of Mexico, and Central and South America. It was also known that Tribes in Africa used clay as a purgative and for diarrhea relief. Dr. Weston A. Price, well known dentist in the ‘30s, found that natives’ knapsacks contained food smothered in a ball shape with clay. This helped prevent what was called “sick stomach”.

Living ClayBefore the coming of Europeans, Native Americans from such tribes as the Crow, Arapahoe, Shoshone, Blackfoot and Sioux were aware of a strange white clay to which they attributed healing power and referred to it as “Ee-Wah-Kee” meaning “The-Mud-That-Heals .”

The valley near the top of the Big Horn Mountains, South Paint Rock Valley, was for a vast period of time a favorite camping ground and arrow-chipping ground for various Indian tribes - the Crows, Arapahos, Shoshones, Blackfoot and Sioux. These tribes knew about healing “Living Clay” and visited the large deposit of calcium Bentonite found by Emil Pascal. North American Indians used clay for food, body purification, healing, in ceremonial events and for trading with other tribes. Some tribes even offered it for bartering purposes at the various rendezvous, such as the Green River Rendezvous, where trappers, traders and Indians all congregated once a year to trade furs.

Somewhere in the 1800s’ clay became known in Europe as a healing agent. The 19th century German naturopath, Sebastian Kneipp, and naturalist Adolph Just, used clay therapy as holistic medicine, and spoke highly of it because of the fantastic results they got with it. Early in the 20th century, Julius Stump, a famous Berlin Physician, used clay therapy to treat Asiatic cholera, with great results. During the same time period Dr. Meyer Camberg, used green clay to neutralize arsenic poisoning.

In the 1st World War, German physicians used clay therapy to counter food poisoning, dysentery, diarrhea, and wound infections on troops for both sides, reducing deaths greatly. In fact, During World War II, Russian and French soldiers partook mandatory rations of clay to avoid wide spread diarrhea reaping havoc on nearby troops. Mahatma Ghandi himself used healing clays in natural medicine for more than 25 years.

Today, osteopaths, naturopaths, and other health professionals using alternative medicine, are recommending Bentonite clay to their patients for detoxification and for illnesses and injuries.

Montmorillonite (pronounced mont-more-ill-o-nite) clay was originally named after the town of Montmorillan in France. Early French culture used clay for nutrition and medicine, and for trading. They used clay because of its healing effect on gum diseases, sore mouths, ulcers, rashes, dysentery, hemorrhoids, infected wounds and bites. French sailors carried clay on their ships and add Montmorillonite clay to their drinking water to prevent sickness from dysentery as living clay is antimicrobial.
This is so because “Living Clay” particles are smaller than many bacteria; when bacteria encounter an environment abundant in clay it becomes surrounded by the clay, and embedded in it. The immediate result is that the bacteria are unable to receive nourishment and cannot survive.

A German scientist once described the bactericidal properties of clay:

"The curative properties of clay are founded in its special physical characteristics, above all in the distribution of its minute particles. Individual clay particles are smaller than many bacteria. If infected mucous membranes are more or less flooded with clay, the bacteria are completely surrounded by clay particles and are thus separated from their source of nourishment and become imbedded in the inorganic material. Growth and the survivability of the bacteria are thus halted almost instantaneously, and from this explained strikingly speedy abatement of the symptoms of infection and/or symptoms of poisoning in acute infectious diseases of the alimentary canal.

-- Julius Stumpf, Bolus fur medizinische Anwenduno Darmstadt, 1916, p. 19

Because of the unusual qualities of this clay, it has proven valuable and recognized in research for its use in the human body. Indeed, high quality Calcium Bentonite clay is the choice for ingesting and other therapeutic applications. Montmorillonite clay also is referred to as Calcium Bentonite clay. This is different than sodium Bentonite clay which has fairly high salt content and is primarily used in commercial and industrial applications. Calcium-based clays are referred to as “living clays” as they principally consist of minerals that contribute to the production of enzymes in all living organisms.

Pascalite clay was named after Emil Pascal who stumbled on a clay deposit by accident in 1930. Emil Pascal filed a mining claim on a deposit of calcium Bentonite located in the Big Horns Mountains of Montana and the clay became known as Pascalite after the discoverer. As a trapper Emil observed that many of the local wildlife would visit this deposit of Montmorillonite clay to lick it, probably because of the high mineral content of calcium Bentonite clay. Many of the local people and beyond attributed this clay to its great curative properties both as a poultice and taken internally.

Montmorillonite is known as “Living Clay” because of research denoting ionic exchange capabilities of of given minerals. The Montmorillonite group of clay minerals belongs to a group called smectite. This group has micro-crystals that are extremely fine grained, irregular, and are thin layed. The layers contain ions (electrons) that are loosely bound and easily exchanged, (ionization). This gives smectites the properties of absorption and adsorption. Adsorption is a process of assimilation of dissolved matter (and molecules and atoms) forming a film on the surface of the clay. This is in part because of clays ability to attract positively charged matter.

Absorption is a slower and more complex process. All absorbent clays have a charge on their inner layers. This means that charged ions sit between the layers of the clay molecule surrounded by water molecules. The expanded clay attracts foreign substances that are absorbed and fill the spaces between the clay molecule’s stacked layers. Absorbent clay will absorb positively charged ions and impurities and ignore negatively charged nutrients.

Microscopic particle of clay On a molecular level, Robert T. Marin, a mineralogist at MIT, points to Bentonite’s minute particle size that creates a large surface area in proportion to the volume used. “The greater the surface area, the greater its power to pick up positively charged particles of ions.” Mr. Marin stated that one gram of clay has a surface area of 800 square meters. That equates to about 8 football fields in size. Thus the greater the surface area, the greater the power to pick up positive charged ions many times its own weight (free radicals are positively charged for example). Swelling clays of the right mineral composition have a great potential for absorption.

Because of its inherent healing properties, clay has long been recognized as a subject worthy of study. It is included as such, in many educational institutions today, which teach pharmacology, herbalogy, and nutrition. “Calcium Montmorillonite Clay” is currently being utilized in hospitals outside of the United States where it has already proven its effectiveness. In recent years clay has become a topic of discussion in numerous publications. Recently more information has become available outlining the important role “Calcium Montmorillonite Clay” can play in the recovery and maintenance of health. It has also been receiving significant recognition by the health care community, as a proven and much overlooked natural alternative remedy in the prevention and cure of disease.

Montmorillonite has a number of unique properties.
  • The right deposits are among of the most powerful detoxifying natural substances on
    earth. It can have a zeta potential or drawing power at high pH.
  • The compound can act as a delivery vehicle for minerals to the skin and body when
  • Hydrated to a paste, it can draw oils and toxins from the skin
  • It is a powerful adsorbent that can attract heavy metal and toxic cations into and onto the
    particles, neutralizing pathogens and toxins.
  • It tends to have a relatively high pH.
  • Its particle size includes very small colloids and electrolytes
  • The right deposits contain a portfolio of macro, micro and trace minerals like calcium,
    magnesium, iron, potassium, silica, copper, chromium, and zinc...all in bio-available form.

Our Premium Montmorillonite Clay is a perfect complement to alkaline and ionized water. Both have a negative ion charge and our Ion-Min clay has an 8.3pH with a strong cationic charge. We believe its pH, its mineral exchange capacity, and its detoxification properties are just right. It also contains a portfolio of 57 macro, micro and trace minerals needed to support strong bodies. Our mineral complex is 100% natural, extremely finely powdered and free of toxins, pathogens and allergens. Our research indicates that ION-MIN is a rare, premium Montmorillonite, preferred by the world’s most selective consumers. It is also important to note that any Bentonite/ Montmorillonite at a pH of 8.0 or higher whether in soil or water or inside your body, is a fully charged anion (negative charged), capable of exchanging all of its cations.(positive charged) Once you exceed pH of 8.0, you don’t need higher alkalinity to activate the compound.

IonMin Logo graphicIon-Min comes from a single dry, desert subsurface mine in the Colorado River basin in southern California. It is an ultra-fine, very pure Calcium Montmorillonite in a high, active, open ionic state. This product is a free flowing powder containing low swelling properties, high thermo stability, high plasticity and tensile strength.

Clay from desert regions, where the temperature is high and water scarce, leeching is minor. Evaporation of the water greatly increases the trace mineral content and leaves the ions negatively charged. The washing away of ions and chemical hydrolysis is minor and the clay preserves its inherent qualities. These desert clays are richer in silica and alkaline good earth minerals.

Commonly asked questions about Montmorillonite Clay

IonMin Spec Sheet PDF

IonMin Chemical Analysis PDF

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The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products or information mentioned on this site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your family doctor.

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