Detox processes have been hugely popular these past few years. From detox diets and supplements to footpads and clay baths, people have a variety of options to help get rid of toxins leaching into their bodies.
Bentonite clays have been used for ages for their ability to eliminate impurities inside the body. They are all-natural powerful healing substances that have once again gained popularity for their detoxifying effect. Medicinal clays are often used in health spas as mud baths, but what most people don’t know is that these clays can be an effective detoxifying element when taken internally.
One of the most effective healing clays is derived from aged volcanic ash. While it can be sourced from many areas around the world, the biggest deposits can be found in Fort Benton, Wyoming, hence the name – bentonite clay.
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is made from volcanic ash that has aged and weathered. The clay is said to have a strong negative electromagnetic charge that can affect the body’s pH level and provide the body with some essential minerals. When mixed with water, the clay expands and turns into a highly porous substance. One of the most important bentonite clay benefits is that it can pull toxins and metals from the body like a magnet and trap them.
Types of Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay comes in two basic types:
Sodium Bentonite – this type of bentonite has sodium in its crystal framework and is sometimes called Wyoming bentonite. It swells when wet and may expand as much as 15 times the original size when added to water. Due to its high clumping ability and absorbency, sodium bentonite is commonly used as a sealant. It is a natural, non-toxic, safe and cheap treatment for porous soils. Recently, sodium bentonite has been studied as an absorbing agent to remove E. coli bacteria from food.
Calcium bentonite – is also known as ‘living clay’, due to various cultural beliefs of its therapeutic potency. Geophagy or ‘earth eating’ is based on the belief that certain clays can be ingested to absorb or remove toxins. Calcium bentonite has been used for many centuries both externally and internally as a medicine. In modern times, calcium bentonite is used for toxin removal (both internal and external). Calcium bentonite only doubles in size when mixed with water.
Bentonite Clay Benefits – Its Detox Action
A very common misconception of taking bentonite clay internally is that it strips the body of vitamins, minerals and friendly gut bacteria from food and daily supplements.
But the truth about bentonite clay benefits is that the clay has a powerful negative ionic charge – which is the primary reason why it is effective in detoxifying the body.
The negatively charged component of the clay selectively draws out substances with a positive charge – without stripping away any beneficial elements. Examples of positively charged elements include harmful bacteria, heavy metals, pathogens, toxins and even harmful chemicals. Due to the clay’s clumping action, it prevents toxins from getting through the intestinal walls and entering the bloodstream. Toxins will be flushed out together with the clay.
This is the reason why bentonite is one of the key ingredients in most detox and colon cleansing products.
Besides detoxifying, what does it do?
Bentonite is known for its detoxifying benefits, but there are many more ways you can use it. Below are the five bentonite clay benefits you may not know:
Bentonite Clay Benefits #1: Promotes Oral Health
Because it contains high amounts of minerals, bentonite is effective in promoting oral health by helping remineralise slightly decayed teeth. It also offers mild abrasive properties, which can help polish the teeth.
How can you use it? Use it as toothpaste. In a quarter cup of hydrated clay, add a few drops of peppermint oil and tea tree oil.
Bentonite Clay Benefits #2: Supports Immune System
Bentonite clay has been found to protect against harmful agents that affect immune system performance. In an animal study, broiler chickens were given food containing aflatoxins – toxic metabolites from certain species of fungi – to test how they attacked the chickens’ immune systems. In this study, the toxins appeared to suppress the immune systems of animals, making them more predisposed to certain diseases. Bentonite clay was then given, and results revealed that the immune-suppressing effects of aflatoxins were significantly reduced.
Bentonite Clay Benefits #3: Help Reduce Allergies
Because the clay is an immune system-strengthener, it can also help in reducing allergy symptoms. What’s great with bentonite clay is that it supports liver detoxification. When exposed to an allergen, your system releases histamines, which trigger allergy symptoms. If your liver is clogged with fatty tissues and toxins, it cannot produce the necessary antihistamines to counter allergic reactions.
Bentonite Clay Benefits #4: Promote Skin Health
Bentonite clay has been used externally to alleviate or support a variety of skin conditions.
- For acne or oily skin – it can remove excess oil by cleaning and tightening the pores. Its anti-inflammatory properties may reduce pimples. For acne treatment, put a dab of hydrated clay on the affected area and leave it on overnight.
- For skin tightening (clay mask) – bathe in warm water mixed with bentonite powder. Once your pores are open, rub some hydrated clay powder on your skin and keep it on for 20 minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. You’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed, as if you had a relaxing day in a spa. This method is also ideal for those suffering from eczema and psoriasis.
Bentonite Clay Benefits #5: Promotes Healthy Digestion
Due to its highly absorbent nature, bentonite is a must-have for cleansing the stomach, small and large intestines. Because the body cannot digest it, the toxins bound to the clay are excreted out of the body via bowel movement. Bentonite, when taken internally, is said to alleviate heartburn, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcers and promote regularity.
How Does Bentonite Clay Work?
Adsorption vs. Absorption
What is adsorption in the detoxifying power of clay? Adsorption is the process by which charged particles of toxic substances combine with the charged particles on the outer surface of the clay molecules. When the clay has been ‘ripened’ (i.e mixed with water, then left overnight to fully hydrate its internal molecular structure), the clay molecules’ highly charged ionic bonds are able to maximally seek out and attach to oppositely charged substances, such as toxins, contaminants, waste byproducts and other toxic substances.
When a clay molecule and toxin molecule meet, the ions on the outer surface of the clay molecule are exchanged with the ions held on the outside surface of the molecule of the toxic substance, thus neutralising the toxic substance.
Clay molecules carry a negative electrical charge, while toxins and other impurities have a positive charge. When clay is ingested, positively charged toxins (anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract) are attracted to the negatively charged surfaces of the clay molecules.
Then an exchange reaction occurs in which the clay mineral ions are swapped for the ions of the toxic substances. The clay molecules’ charges are now electrically satisfied, but the clay still holds onto the entrapped toxins until the body is able to eliminate both.
How does absorption work in the detoxifying power of clay?
In contrast to adsorption, absorption is a slower and more complex process. Acting like a sponge, the clay molecules are able to draw other substances into their internal structure (not just ionic on its surface). Absorption occurs when the foreign substance has first undergone a chemical change and is then pulled into the clay’s molecular inner structure.
The toxins that were formerly only sticking to the surface of the clay’s outer structure through ionic bonding are now pulled deep inside the clay molecules. As substances are pulled into the clay’s inner structure, the clay’s molecules expand.
All absorbent clays have charged ions in their inner layers. The charged ions sit between the layers of the clay molecules surrounded by water molecules. As the clay absorbs foreign substances, the clay expands and fills the spaces between its molecules’ stacked layers. Absorbent clay absorbs positively charged toxins, waste and other impurities to be cleared from the body while leaving negatively charged nutrients to be used by the body – an elegant arrangement.
How to Use CHI Clay Products for Detox
To use it internally, you can try our CHI Edible Healing Earth that contains 100% Pure Premium Edible Grade Australian Bentonite Clay.
To use, mix the clay in a 150 ml glass of water. Drink this once daily in the morning or during the day, but not before bedtime.
Tip: Sprinkle the clay into the water gradually. Don’t add the water into the clay.
Recommended tip: Prepare CHI Edible Healing Earth overnight by making a 1:10 mixture of earth powder and purified water. (To do this, simply fill any glass container with 9/10 of water, then add the clay powder and stir thoroughly.) Be sure to cap the container tightly. After setting all night the CHI Edible Healing Earth should have a thick, creamy texture at the bottom of the container. Stir well and drink in the morning. The CHI Edible Healing Earth will keep indefinitely until used.
Bentonite clay seems relatively safe, however we recommend you consult your healthcare provider before taking this product internally. If you are breastfeeding, pregnant or have a serious illness, be sure to consult your doctor.
Bentonite clay can be added directly to the water and be used as a clay mask or clay bath. For external use, we recommended CHI Clay Bath Zeolite Minerals & Herbal Blend, a proprietary blend of pure bentonite earth, unheated, volcanic active minerals, zeolites; and specific detoxifying and antioxidant herbs.
To use, add the CHI Clay Bath Zeolite Minerals & Herbal Blend to the water not the water to the earth. It is to sprinkle the earth over the surface of the water with the water running. Avoid tipping it all in at once in the same spot. It will hydrate more evenly and quickly using this method.
To use it for clay bath, start your first couple of baths with 1/2 – 1 cup of earth per bath and wait a few days to a week before taking the next one. You can increase the amount by half a cup at a time up to two cups per bath if needed. As a guide, 15-30 minutes in the bath is adequate. Once you are accustomed to the CHI earth baths you could extend the duration to 45-60 minutes. Be guided by your practitioner as to frequency and duration with specific health conditions.
For children, use 1/3-12 cup maximum. Increase to 1/2 cup over three baths. As a guide, 10-20 minutes. Adjust the water temperature to that which is appropriate for your child’s age and preference.
After the bath, rest, keep warm and moisturize your skin with natural, chemical free moisturizer. Dress warmly until your pores close. Replenishing your electrolytes and minerals post-baths is also highly recommended, and a critical part of any detox regimen. Drink plenty of water or herbal teas, and rest! It can be very beneficial to add Magnesium chloride or Magnesium sulphate flakes to the bath for enhanced detoxification and remineralization.