Bentonite clay is a type of absorbent clay that is made up of volcanic ash. This clay is also known as Montmorillonite clay. One of the largest sources of bentonite clay is Fort Benton, Wyoming, which gives the clay its name.
It is also found in the Montmorillon area of France as well as Italy, both large sources of clay mines. The clay can be found all over the world and has many uses and health benefits as well as homestead applications. It is easy to order online or find at health food and farm stores.
There are two main types of bentonite clay: sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. The clay acts like a sponge and absorbs toxins while leaving behind minerals in their place. Sodium bentonite leaves behind traces of sodium, which makes it beneficial for hydration and restoring electrolytes to the body.
Calcium bentonite leaves behind traces of calcium, which can increase bone and tooth density. Redmond bentonite clay combines both types of clay into one product. Although clay is mined, very little processing is required for this naturally occurring substance. It is available in food grade and non-food grade.
This special clay has healing properties and has been used in traditional and modern medicine for centuries by people all over the world. It is also used in skin care, hair care, and for the purpose of detoxification.
The following information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or ailment. However, there are interesting benefits and uses of bentonite clay to consider for its health and wellness properties. Seek the advice of a healthcare professional before attempting these ideas and always use food grade bentonite clay for internal use.
Due to its absorbent properties, bentonite clay aids in the process of detoxification by absorbing and binding toxins to itself. Every day we are exposed to all kinds of toxins that can build up in our system and hamper our bodies’ ability to function well and maintain good health.
Pesticides, plastics, fumes, and poor air quality can all contribute to the buildup of toxins in our bodies. This puts strain on the immune system and other systems in the body. To restore good health, this clay can be taken internally to remove toxins such as heavy metals and bacteria. When the clay is taken internally, it swells and absorbs the toxins, which then pass harmlessly through the system.
Bentonite clay capsules can be purchased to make detoxification a simple and easy process with no unpleasant taste. However, it is also available in loose powder form and can be mixed with water, juice, or smoothies, according to the manufacturer’s directions, to deliver the same results. Always use a food grade brand of the clay for internal use and check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure it is safe for you to do so. Drink plenty of water when taking this supplement internally.
Additionally, the clay can be mixed with water and poured into a warm bath to create a detoxification bath which will remove toxins and impurities through the skin. Soak for the desired period of time and then rinse well with warm water.
2) Balance pH
Unhealthy diets can cause the body’s pH to become unbalanced. The modern American diet, which is heavy on grains, fats, and red meat, typically drives our bodies towards an acidic state. An acidic body is thought to increase the growth of cancer causing cells and suppress the immune system.
In order to bring our pH back into alignment and restore a slightly alkaline environment, use a supplement made of Bentonite clay. The alkaline properties of this clay will reduce the acidity of the body as it pulls out toxins.
3) Increase Intake of Vitamins and Minerals
When used in occurrence with a healthy diet, a bentonite clay supplement can provide additional vitamins and minerals to the body, similar in effect to a multi-vitamin. It is known to contain up to seventy different vitamins and minerals such as silica, calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
These minerals are essential for our bodies to function well. Magnesium can reduce migraines and silica is an important mineral for strong bones and teeth. Internal use of this supplement will increase the intake of these vitamins and minerals for an overall healthier body when taken regularly.
4) Healthy digestion
A healthy gut is a critical component to good health. Bad bacteria in the gut can suppress the immune system, while good bacteria can contribute to a healthier immune system. Studies show that this type of clay can balance the bacteria in the gut, which creates a healthier digestive system. The entire body feels better and functions better when the gut is healthy.
The clay, when taken internally, may reduce the effects of food poisoning and stomach viruses. It may bind bacteria and remove it from the body while also increasing the body’s ability to fight off the bacteria.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation and diarrhea, as well as leaky gut are all signs of a sick digestive system. By dissolving one teaspoon of clay into eight ounces of water, taken internally, this clay can bind to the bad bacteria in the gut and pass it out of the system. Removing the bad bacteria may allow the good bacteria to grow and thrive, which increases healthy digestion.
The binding properties of bentonite clay can reduce or eliminate vomiting and diarrhea from stomach viruses and food poisoning (source). It may also reduce the effects of Celiac’s disease, gluten intolerance, and possibly food allergies as they relate to the digestive system, when taken with a meal.
5) Healthy Teeth
Bentonite clay supports healthy teeth and may restore tooth health in decaying teeth. The mouth is full of good and bad bacteria that can be beneficial or harmful to the teeth and gums, especially when left unchecked.
The clay’s ability to draw out toxins can reduce the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay, while the mineral content of the clay can increase the body’s ability to re-mineralize teeth. Teeth become stronger and healthier with regular use. Bad bacteria in the mouth can contribute to other health issues, such as heart disease and stroke. A healthy mouth promotes a healthier body.
You can purchase commercially-made toothpaste, such as Earth Paste, that already contains the clay or you can create your own by following a simple recipe. Homemade toothpaste does not contain harsh chemicals such as fluoride and preservatives, making it a popular choice for those who are conscious of the toxins they put in their bodies.
Toothpaste is easy to make with a few readily available ingredients such as water, salt, and peppermint essential oils. In a pinch, it is possible to brush teeth with a paste made of only bentonite clay and water.
6) Healthy Gums
Bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum decay, which in turn can become periodontal disease, which further contributes to tooth and bone loss. For a natural remedy, the use of bentonite clay as a toothpaste or mouthwash can reduce the bad bacteria in the mouth, resulting in healthier gums and a reduction in the size of pockets that can form around the gums.
Look for toothpaste and mouthwash that contain the clay or use a recipe, such as the one mentioned above, to create your own. Be sure to see a dentist for advice and best results.
7) Whitening Teeth
The abrasive action of bentonite clay in toothpaste can make teeth look whiter and brighter by removing stains, especially when used in a toothpaste. The minerals in the clay, alongside of a healthy diet and good teeth care, can assist in re-mineralizing teeth when used regularly. Restoring teeth through re-mineralization makes teeth stronger, and appear whiter and healthier.
8) Remove Hair Buildup
Regular use of hair products such as hairspray, shampoo, conditioner, and hair gels can cause buildup to the hair shaft. Product buildup on the hair can leave hair looking and feeling dull, lifeless, and hard to manage. It may alter the color of very light hair, making it look dingy or dirty. Over time, product buildup can even cause damage to the hair. You can remove this type of hair buildup with a hair mask made of bentonite clay. A hair mask can be made with water, apple cider vinegar, and this clay to remove the buildup and leave hair looking clean and shiny.
To make a hair mask, mix together water, bentonite clay, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Mix ingredients until you have a yogurt-like consistency. After creating the hair mask, apply evenly with a brush to damp hair, being sure to cover all of your hair. Do not massage into the scalp, as this can damage fragile hair.
Cover with a plastic shower cap, and allow the mask to sit for approximately thirty minutes. Do not allow the mask to dry out, which would make it difficult to remove. Rinse the hair with warm water to completely remove the mask, and then follow up with shampoo and conditioner as normal. Use this mask once or twice per week. Using the mask on your hair too often may dry out your hair.
9) Condition Hair
Hair that is dry and brittle can benefit from the conditioning properties of bentonite clay. A hair mask for dry hair can be made with coconut oil, clay, and your favorite essential oils to create a deep conditioning mask. Again, apply the mask to damp hair and allow it to sit on the hair for approximately thirty minutes.
Keep your hair covered with a plastic cap to prevent the mask from drying out. Rinse well and shampoo and condition to make sure all of the mask is removed from the hair. This conditioning mask should be used no more than several times per week for best results. Keeping hair soft and conditioned will improve the appearance of curly hair by reducing frizziness.
10) Fight Dandruff
Using a hair mask of bentonite clay will help remove stubborn dandruff from the scalp. It will also reduce sebum on the scalp, the substance that makes hair oily and consequently, more prone to dandruff. A hair mask which contains bentonite clay will also make the scalp inhospitable to the fungus that causes dandruff to occur.
11) Hair Growth
Bentonite clay may contribute to hair growth and thickness. The use of the clay as a hair mask will help to create a healthy scalp and can remove blockages that prevent the hair follicle from growing new hair. It will also add vitamins and minerals to the hair, which will create stronger strands. The vitamins and minerals in the clay, when taken internally, give your body more of what it needs to grow healthy, longer hair.
12) Skin Care
Bentonite clay can easily be added to your skin care routine. It can be used as a facial mask to improve the quality, tone, and condition of your skin.
When used regularly, this clay mask can minimize the look of pores and work to control acne. Acne is caused by dirt and bacteria on the skin that cause infection. As the mask dries, it pulls toxins and bacteria from the skin, thus reducing the root cause of acne. The clay itself has anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce the appearance of acne, help it to heal more quickly, soothe the pain, and reduce redness. It may also reduce the look of oily skin. Continued use will reduce the occurrence of acne.
Store-bought makeup usually features a long list of complicated, hard-to-pronounce ingredients that aren’t necessarily good for your skin and your body. With a few simple ingredients such as arrowroot powder, calcium bentonite clay, and spices from your kitchen, you can create your own custom colored powder makeup foundation.
Costs are minimal and there are no preservatives or chemicals added to the makeup. The addition of clay to your makeup will help to fight acne and accompanying redness, as well as reduce oil. The clay can also be used as a base color for your homemade foundation. See this recipe on Mommypatomus or this recipe on Don’t Waste the Crumbs to learn how you can create your own powder foundation using bentonite clay.
14) Soothe Burns
Bentonite clay is known to reduce the sting of minor burns and promote healing for burns and abrasions. Create a gel from one part clay to two parts water and mix well. Apply the gel generously to the burn and cover with plastic wrap.
It is important to remove the clay before it dries by rinsing thoroughly with water. You can mix your gel and keep it on hand in a plastic container near your first aid kit to be prepared, but be sure to see a doctor or visit the emergency room for severe wounds and burns.
15) To Soothe Bites and Stings
The absorption and detoxification properties of the clay can reduce the effects of insect stings. Create a paste with the clay and water and apply to the affected area. Cover with a breathable cloth that will allow the clay to begin to dry. The drying effects of the clay will ideally pull the venom from the site as well as reduce inflammation in the area and reduce pain.
16) Sooth Skin Irritations
Bentonite clay has been used in creams to soothe painful problems such as poison oak and poison ivy, contact allergies, rashes, eczema, and psoriasis. To soothe the effects of poison ivy, wash the affected area thoroughly. Create a paste from the bentonite clay and water, and apply until it dries and then rinse off.
17) Weight Loss
Weight loss has been observed in people who take bentonite clay internally as a supplement. Although no hard data from scientific studies exists to prove this benefit of bentonite clay, studies on lab rats have shown a reduction in weight over time when fed this supplement.
18) Household Benefits
Sodium bentonite clay is also used around the homestead as a sealant and pond sealer. While this variety of bentonite clay is considerably less expensive than food grade versions, it is not intended for internal use. However, it makes a natural and permanent sealer for ponds which is considered safe to use and environmentally friendly. This clay can also be used to repair and seal cracks in basement walls.
Bentonite clay is also used as a soil additive as it provides vitamins and minerals to the plants. It can improve the water retention of sandy soils, and has the potential to repel diseases and pests in plants. It is often used as an additive to pelletize seed. Lastly, bentonite clay can be added to animal feed to improve digestion and has been shown to increase milk production in cattle.
Bentonite clay is a naturally occurring resource found throughout the world. It is generally regarded as safe because of its longstanding use across cultures and generations. However, one must always take care to research any treatment thoroughly, as well as consult a doctor or health care professional before use.
Also, according to University Health News, care should be taken to properly use bentonite clay. Never use more than one part clay to four parts water to prevent a bowel obstruction or loss of electrolytes in the body. Drink plenty of water when using the clay internally.
Bentonite clay has been shown to have a myriad of benefits and uses for health, wellness, and around the homestead. It has been seen to promote overall health, digestive health, and immune system support. It has served as wound care, treatment for skin issues, and problems related to dermatitis. It has been used to promote healthy teeth and gums.
Bentonite clay has long been used in skin care and hair care products. It may protect against illness such as food poisoning and the stomach flu. In lab rats, it has shown to prevent cancer and promote weight loss. It can be taken internally and used easily externally. This versatile, inexpensive clay makes a great addition to any homestead or household.
The advice in this article is for information purposes only, and is not to be considered medical advice. Before employing any of the advice in this article, please consult your physician. Neither the author nor www.homesteadinghippy.com shall be held liable for any damage, injury, death or any side effects as a direct or indirect advice of applying the advice given in this article.
Amanda is a homesteader and a Jesus-loving, mother of 6 toddlers. She’s raising lots of fancy chickens and goats on her small homestead (among other things).