From Lauren: As I’ve mentioned, I’m on vacation right now and I’ve lined up a series of wonderful guest posts from some awesome bloggers. Today, Meagan from Growing Up Herbal is sharing a primer on bentonite clay, as well as a creative list of uses of bentonite clay.
Bentonite clay. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s another one of those “natural remedies” that a lot of people use and have good results with. Althought it’s a very useful tool that’s natural and healthy, not all bentonite clays are created equal, and a lot of people don’t really know what bentonite clay is or even how it works.
Today, I’d like to give you some information on bentonite clay so that you’ll understand what to look for when selecting a good quality clay as well as how it works. Plus, I’m also going to share 15 ways you can use it from head to toe, and hopefully, in the end, you’ll know all about it and be confident in your ability to use it to benefit you and your family’s health!
Understanding Bentonite Clay
What It Is & What It Does
Bentonite clay is a clay that is mined from the earth, and it’s formed after volcanic ash has weathered and aged in the presence of water. It has a strong negative electromagnetic charge, and when activated by water, it acts like a magnet in and on our bodies, pulling metals and toxins to it. It also has an affect on the body’s pH and provides the body with some vital minerals at the same time.
Varieties of Bentonite Clay
This clay comes in different varieties depending upon which elements are most concentrated in it, potassium, sodium, calcium, and aluminum, but the two most commercially available types are sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. The best thing I’ve read on how these different types of clay come to be is from this Bulk Herb Store article that says,
Bentonite clay is a very unique substance, formed primarily of Montmorillonite, which is an extremely flat crystal flake, that carries a relatively strong negative ionic charge. The negative charge is compensated for by adsorbing a cation (either Sodium or Calcium) to the interior of the molecule, this is what makes it either Sodium Bentonite or Calcium Bentonite clay.
To put it another way think of the Montmorillonite crystal flake resembling two pieces of bread, with a strong vacuum pulling the lunch meat in between them, whatever lands there (Sodium or Calcium) determines what kind of sandwich it will be. Now when you activate this clay sandwich it will magnetically grab the junk in your body (heavy metals, toxins, acid, etc.…) and trade them for the” lunch meat” taking the toxins out in your waste. The two different clays although very similar in their inert state (dry) have very different applications when activated (mixed with water).
So to me this says, if I use sodium bentonite clay, then it will exchange the sodium for the toxins it draws from my body… meaning it gives me it’s sodium and takes my toxins. Same goes for the calcium variety too. Pretty cool huh?
The main differences in these two varieties is that the sodium bentonite is best for detoxing purposes as it has a stronger negative charge which causes it to pull more toxins into it whereas the calcium bentonite clay is better at remineralizing the body with calcium and silica.
Quality of Bentonite Clay
First, look into the company you’re buying your clay from. Research them and be sure that they’re active in where they source their clay from and test the quality of it. Remember that this clay acts as a magnet and you don’t want it absorbing toxins from nearby sources and then putting it on or in your body. Each of the companies mentioned here are very particular about their products, and I believe have great, healthy forms of bentonite clays available to use.
Next, ask how it’s mined. I never once thought about this until I read about it in the Bulk Herb Store article above, but since bentonite clay acts as a magnet for positively charged toxins (which the majority of toxins are) the equipment that the clay is mined with matters. You’re never supposed to use metal utensils with your bentonite clay because the metals can leach from the utensil and be pulled into the clay. This fills the clay up with those positively charged metals and means your clay will practically be useless by the time you use it since it’s already full of the metals from the utensil you used. The same goes with when it’s being mined. You want fully active clay… not clay that is already half full of metals from the mining process. Stainless steal mining equipment is supposedly a good option and doesn’t cause heavy metal leaching into the clay.
Bentonite Clay Concerns
I can think of a few concerns when it comes to using bentonite clay… at least internally that is.
First… it’s aluminum content. If you look at this bentonite clay profile by Mountain Rose Herbs, you’ll see that their bentonite clay contains 18.1% aluminum… the highest of all the minerals found in the clay. Now I’m sure this varies depending upon who you buy your clay from and where their clay is mined, but this can be really confusing for a lot of people since we all know that aluminum can be dangerous for our health. Thankfully, Redmond Clay addressed this concern of aluminum in bentonite clay stating,
Aluminum occurs naturally in our bodies, and in Redmond Clay. As with everything else we put in our bodies, the source and form of aluminum makes a big difference in how our bodies use it. The molecular structure of bentonite, especially the high negative charge of the aluminum, makes it impossible for the aluminum to leach into our systems. Instead, the aluminum leaves our bodies the old-fashioned way—along with the positively-charged toxins and impurities that the clay has bonded to. At a chemical level, much of clay’s healing benefit depends on aluminum.
Next, using sodium bentonite internally. Since sodium bentonite is the better detoxifying bentonite, your first thought may be to use it if you want to take it internally for a nice detox. Well, that’s true, but remember how it exchanges it’s sodium for your toxins? Well that could cause your body to get too much sodium and that in itself can cause a good amount of problems. Mountain Rose Herbs sells sodium bentonite and they specify that their clay is for external use only, but Bulk Herb Store and Redmond Clay are a combination of both sodium and calcium bentonite clays so that you can take them internally and get the best of both worlds… just as long as you take the right amount and don’t overdo it.
Lastly, constipation. Yes, bentonite clay can be used internally to detox the body as well as help with pH and remineralization, but if you use too much of it, it’s definitely going to cause constipation issues. Think about it. It’s clay. If you mix bentonite clay with a little water, you’re going to get a seriously thick paste. As you continue to add water to it, the clay continues to thin out and disperse in the water. Same goes in your body. If you take bentonite clay in water or in capsules, you have to continue to drink water throughout the day to help the clay stay thin and not “settle” or “compact” in your colon. No. Fun. Man.
15 Bentonite Clay Uses From Head To Toe
Below is a roundup of 15 different ways you can use bentonite clay to help your families health… from head to toe.
- Detox Your Hair – Wellness Mama
- Homemade Clay Toothpaste – Keeper of the Home
- Bentonite Clay Detox Bath – Homegrown & Healthy
- Bentonite Clay Face Mask – Health Extremist
- Homemade Calamine Lotion – Nourishing Joy
- DIY Mascara – Body Unburdened
- Homemade Deodorant – Oh Lardy
- Diaper Rash Remedy – Mommypotamus
- Bentonite Fruit & Veggie Wash – About Clay
- Bentonite Clay Poultice For Rashes, Burns, & Bites – Everyday Roots
- Bentonite Clay for Eczema – Livestrong on YouTube
- Bentonite Clay in Soap – Yahoo
- Skin Bleaching (Tattoo Lightener) – Ehow
- Heavy Metal Detox – Like A Mustard Seed
- Shaving Soap – Blue Aspen Originals
Where You Can Find Bentonite Clay
Mountain Rose Herbs (sodium bentonite, for the strongest detoxing properties)
Redmond Clay (sodium/calcium bentonite mix)
About the Author
Meagan Visser is the owner of Growing Up Herbal on Etsy where she offers natural, herbal skin care products for children. She also teaches parents how to take charge of their children’s health naturally on her blog,GrowingUpHerbal.com, and she’s enjoys living a simple and healthy life with her husband and 3 little boys in the southern Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee. Connect with her on her on Facebook and Pinterest.