Clay and mud has been spontaneously used by plants animals and humans since their creation on earth.It is one of the oldest therapeutic elements that naturally exists in abundance on the planet.Clay is most commonly used externally and internally for medicinal,therapeutic,cosmetic or hygienic purposes.
THERAPEUTIC USE OF CLAY IN ANCIENT STATUS:
-The use of clay in folk medicine goes back to prehistoric times. The indigenous people around the world using clay is related to GEOPHAGY.
-Scholars believe that prehistoric ancestors such as Homo Erectus used ochers to cure the wounds as well as paint caves.
-The oldest evidence of geophagy practised by humans comes from the prehistoric site at Kalambo falls on the border between Zambia and Tanzania, here a calcium rich white clay was found alongside the bones of Homo Habilis.
ANCIENT EGYPT AND MESOPOTAMIA:
-The first recorded use of medicinal clay goes back to ancient Mesopotamia in form of tablets. The Pharaohs physicians used the material as anti inflammatory and antiseptics.Egyptians used it to make mummies and also for intestinal and eye problems. Cleopatra used it to preserve her complexion.
-Studies show that the use of volcanic ash clay internally goes back to the indians of the high Andes mountains, tribes in Central Africa and the aborigines of Australia.
-The Native Americans call it Ee-Wah-Kee meaning The mud that heals.
The Amargosians[predecessors to the Aztecs], the aborigines,and natives of Mexico and South America all recognised the benefit of clays.
-According to early writers there was a widespread use of Kanwa[earth from a lick near Lake Chad] for animals and humans in Nigeria.Long journeys were made to obtain a tribal supply of this earth. It was issued as rations to cattle and humans. It was called EATON EARTH.
-The Gweagal Aborigines were the guardians of the sacred white clay pits,it was considered to be sacred among the local and was taken as a medicine for antaacid,Geebungs and other locals berries were mixed with clay and it was eaten as a dietary supplement with zinc.
-The Pomo Indians of Calfornia consume acoms[has tannic acid] with ferruginous[iron rich] clay.This is to remove toxins and to improve the taste.The people from Andes mountains and South America had the clay with potatoes.
-The red clay called massil was called Indian baking powder.
-The Lemnia clay was used in classical antiquity mined on the island of Lemnos till 19th century in form of tablet or cake to apply under eye to moderate the pain and watering of eyes,in case of haemorrhage it was administered with vinegar, used against complaints of spleen and kidneys,copious menstruation, against poisons and wounds of serpents.Its name was terra sigillata.Galen used it for curing injuries and as medicine.
-The clay was also prescribed by the Roman gynecs.and pediatrician Soranus of Ephesus in 100-140 AD.These were Bentonic clay, the clay which didnot stain the hands was known as rubrica.
-In Medieval Persia,Prince of Doctors, Avicenna and an Arabic pharmacist discussed about eight different clays eg.Egyptian earth, Samian earth, earth of Chios etc.he also documented various uses of it.
-A French naturalist did lot of research on Lemnian clay and the sources of its extraction.The clay was similar to modern bentonite.
-Even the animals, wild aswell as domesticated seek out and consume different types of earth in general and clay [present in soil].
-Galen the Greek philosohpher and physician was the first to record the use of clay by sick or injured animals back in second century AD.In species of mammals,birds, reptiles, butterflies and isopods especially among herbivores.
-In Peru, Amazonian rain forest parrots of some 21 species gather at certain sites on cliff faces where bare soil is exposed and eat the clayish soil.
-No clay deposit is the same. Clays are commercially mined for industrial uses like construction and oil drilling.The terms bentonite clay, montmorillonite clay and fullers earth are practically used.
-Clays used for medicinal purposes have been discovered by healers on trial and error basis. Sodium and Calcium bentonite are most commonly used today.Sodium bentonite for external use and Calcium bentonite for internal use.They have wide varieties of properperties.
-In alternate medicine term montmorillonite and bentonite are widely used in different forms.
PREPARATION OF CLAY:
-Clay gathered from its original source is refined and processed [heating or baking to get rid of bacteria].
-Medicinal clays are available in health and food stores as powder,in jars and in its liquid hydrated state.
-In health spa, clays are either added to the baths or prepared in wet packs or poultices or pastes for applications on body.
-According to the tradition of the spas clays are prepared mixed with peat and matured in special pools for a few months or even 2 years.
-The majority of spas use artificial ponds where the natural or virgin clay is mixed with mineral, thermo mineral or seawater that issues near the vicinity of the spa.
WHICH CLAY TO USE:
The clay has unique properties,
- Some clays are naturally very toxic for therapeutic applications but are excellent for industrial applications while others are beneficial for health and beauty applications.
- Clay is a living substance.Like Humans, clay nourishes itself from the energy of the sun light, the outside air and rainwater.The more it is exposed to those natural elements, the more powerful its action becomes.In other hand,the action of clay is negated by any kind of additives,artificial substances,fragrances,fillers,coloring, washing,artificial heat,ionisation,irradiation,etc.
- The color and property of the clay depends upon the mineral composition of the clay,the specific mineral composition will give a specific action to the clay.
They are mostly Bentonite, montmorillonite or fullers earth type.
6 different earth toned clays widely used for therapeutic action all around the world are;
1-Green illite clay
3-Pink Kaolin clay
4-Red illite clay
5-White Kaolin clay
6-Yellow Kaolin clay
7-Black mud clay
-silicium,aluminium,magnesium,calcium,iron,titanium,phosph orus,sodium,potassium,trace elements like copper, selenium,cobalt,manganese, molybden,silver,bore,nickle,lead, chromium,lithium etc.
-The layered platey structure gives plastic properties of clay when hydrated and its ability to cover a surface is the best when wet and warm.
-The mineral composition of the layers will create the specific polarity to the clay ie,the charge on the layers is negetive when the charge in the space between each layer is positive.This balanced property of polarity gives binding properties of the clay.
-The absorption property is like sponge,capturing substances and molecules in its own cellular structure.This explains its power of absorbing liquids and grease and neutralising odors.
-The adsorption property is its capacity to attract molecules or organisms just like magnet.The substances will stick outside of the structure.
-This property explains its capacity in neutralising microbes, bacteria,viruses,dead cells and chemicals.
-Ionic property looses if clay under goes any artificial treatments like heat, aseptization,irradition etc. and therefore living [raw, virgin,sun dried] clay is used.
-The clay should be pharmaceutical and food graded and certified for safety.
Clay Is commonly used externally and internally as therapy.
CLAY AS INTERNAL THERAPY:
-In stomach,the negative charges of tiny clay particles attract positively charged toxins from stomach fluids and form clumps which cannot be absorbed in blood and thrown off by bowels.
-Kaolinite clay in medicines is used as a remedy to soothe stomach upset caused by internal parasitic infection.
-Kaolin is an active substance in liquid anti-diarrhea medicines.
-Clays are effective against candida albicans infections ie.fungal infections and yeast infections causing oral and genital infections.
-Bentonite clay immobilises fungus like candida.
-Clay is a very effective chelating agent to detoxify poisonous metal agents such as mercury,arsenic and lead by converting them to inactive form which can be extracted via bowel.It treat cases of severe heavy metal poisoning.
-Clay is also effective in treating heart diseases and autism.
-Montmorillonite is efficient for treating patients suffering from constipation and irritable bowel syndrome caused by Viral, bacterial organic and nonorganic toxicity.The organism is E.Coli,salmonella,S.aureus, Mycobacterium Ulcerans which are flesh eaters.
-Bentonite clay show very protective effect against Aflatoxicosis caused by a mycotoxin infected diet. Mycotoxin like Aflatoxin produced by Aspergillus,a fungus is toxic and highly carcinogenic.It can affect both humans and animals.Clay also protects liver and kidney.
-Pregnant women in many cultures consume clay to reduce nausea and also for the developement of healthy foetus.
-According to research in Nigeria, pregnant women have clay for calcium need.
-Dr. Benjamin Ershoff Of California demonstrated that consumption of clay counters the effects of weight lessness on human body due to bone depletion.The research done by NASA lead to the use of clay known as Terramin, a red clay.This clay is absorbed more efficiently due to presence of trace minerals in it as calcium supplement.
-Clay acts as a immune system support.[Clay stimulates the bodys elimination system and supports organ function.]
-Fixes free oxygen in the blood stream.
Increases T cell count.
Fights free radicals.
Clay supplements trace minerals to body.
-Clay acts as a alkalizing agent in the body thus effective against cancer cells.
-Neutralises excess of acidity and rebalances the natural pH of different tissues of the body.
-Clay stimulates STEM CELL production, which leads to production of other cells and tissues in the body.According to studies the first cell on earth was made up of clay and water which leads to production of stem cells.
-Clay replenishes and regenerates damaged, aging,and injured tissues of the body [muscle,bone,joint,ligament,skin,liver,colon etc.]
-Clay is known for naturally stimulating collagen production.
-Clay helps to cure Anaemia.Pica is a condition where patient of iron deficiency anaemia will crave for clay.
-Clay also hels to cure Asthenia,Arthrosis and Arthritis.
-Clay milk is used as an electrolyte.
-Clay is very effective as first line of treatment in patient doing Gerson therapy.
-Helps in regularising menstrual cycle as well as lessens bleeding of uterus and piles.
CLAY AS EXTERNAL THERAPY:
-Many types of skin infections are healed by the application of medicinal clay.
Clay can eliminate excess grease and toxins from skin.
-Clays are effective against dermatological diseases such as boils,acne,ulcers,abscess rashes and seborrhoea.
-Clay like kaolin is used in bandages.
-Clay packs are used to alleviate headaches and neck pains.
-Clay packs are used as paste on hot inflammatory pain.
Clay paste is applied on the join where there is pain. It reduces the pain.Reduces tumour inflammation and arthritis inflmmation.
-Clay reduces the swelling on the areas of fluid retention caused by trauma,infection or generalised edema.
-They alleviate congestion and spasm in the deep organs of the liver, gall bladder and kidney as well as muscle spasm by applying the paste externally.
-When applied immediately after injury clay are useful in bone rebuilding, and healing muscle damage due to traumatic injury.The application is in the form of thick cover of paste which is changed as needed.
-Clay paste is also applied in Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Tendonitis in form of thick wraps for hour to 3 days as per the tolerence.
-It helps in rapid healing of injuries like bruises,sprains,burns,cysts etc.Always keep the clay dressing wet on skin.
Liquid bentonite is used to clean the wounds caused by bacteria on the skin followed by the application of clay pack.
-Clay must be used immediately in form of wraps on to key location of the body under radiation. Lymphatic system and primary organs should be targetted.
-According to studies clay is applied externally for treatment of gall stones.
-In special treatment of skin grafting donor site clay is used.[experimental]
-In case of high fever mud or clay packs help to bring down the fever.
-Clay packs soothes over the stimulated nerves and cramps.very effective in form of packs on varicose veins treatment.
-Clay is also used by dentist for cavity treatment.
Helps in treatment of cellulitis.
-Clay packs can be used in treatmant of asthama by applying it on chest.
Clay can be applied on breast tumor and burns to heal.
-Clay can be applied in diseases like psoriasis, leucoderma, leprosy.
CLAY COSMETIC THERAPY:
-Clay helps in skin rejuvenation by adding different forms of bentonite clay to hot baths.
-Hydrated bentonite is used as normal soap and is effective on long run.
-Different colored skin clays are available commercially which can be applied as masks.
-Clay formulations are used in massage treatment.
Clay can be put in baths inthe use of heavy metal detoxification.
-MUD baths or Clay baths have clay of different types and color and it has more cooling effect on the body and that is why widely used all over the globe in spa as body healer as it detoxifies the body.
-Clays ,muds,sands the earth forms, all participate in life giving, health restoring processes.
Technically the absorbing and adsorbing property of clay is the key to its multifaceted healing abilities.
-Most widely used clay is Montmorillonite which bring minerals and elasticity to atone skin.
It also helps in balneotherapy.
-It has power to stimulate the production of chains of protein, which is why it is used for anti ageing treatment.
Clay will stimulate or calm down the function of the body by rebalancing it.
-Unprocessed clay used in spas is loaded with negative ions which is vital energy conservers which is lost by our electronic devices, pollution,synthetic clothes, lack of natural sunlight, outside air etc. by absorbing the radiations emitted by it.Regular use of the baths is an excellent alternative to refill our batteries.
-Green clay is widely used in spas for scalp and all types of skin for purification.The French green illite is widely recommended in European countries.
-Green illite is very good for proper physiological function of body by increasing blood flow and lymphatic system and therefore widely used in spas. beneficial on longer run.It is also a good grease remover.
-White clay give radiance to skin and enlightens it.
It has neutral pH and therefore used in intimate hygiene, talc and baby powder.
-Yellow clay is widely used on skin that needs toning and regeneration specially oily skin.It has great power of oxygenation and relieving pains.
-Red clay is the best for skin which does under daily stress. It gives instant peachy glow to it.
-Black clay is widely used by the people from south Asia for fair complexion.
CLAY AS PLAY THERAPY:
-Clay therapy is an adjunct to play therapy. It is a designed for any professional guiding children in seeking resolution and coping with life issues.This issues include problem solving,self esteem enhancement,decision making and impulse/anger control.Its use enhances the initiation of therapy and ongoing developement of the treatment relationship.
-It supports clinical goals,whether they are short term interviewing, long term relationship building or data collection approaches.It is ideal for children 4 to 12 years and even after.
-Clay therapy relieves a childs fears of counseling,grabs and holds their interest,provides a wide array of clinical connections and establishes an immediate problem solving environment.Children are drawn to its visual apppeal and hands on attraction.They play and talk together,something they take home from school is the ultimate ice breaker.
-Clay therapy provides therapist a new clinical method of using clay as a medium to assist in the treatment of children. The techniques use both direct and nondirective methods in linking the play/talk needs of the child with the clinical/relationship goals of the counselor. The making of different animals and objects facinate them to great extent and gives them lot of pleasure.
-The moulding,squashing, rolling and pounding the clay in diferent forms by just observing the picture makes them boss of clay.The use of clay is very useful in quickly establishing rapport,teaching clinical concepts and engaging children in the treatment process.Counselors use clay because it helps children explore difficult concepts and express fundamental emotions.
The Vedas mentioned clay as mother earth.
-Clay is widely used in Indian sub continent and south east Asia by therapist for various purposes in form of mud and fullers earth.
-Clay is primal from the beginnings of civilisation.
Clay has been a substance associated with people.
We mark our time with its archeological chards.
We fillour museum with its surviving remnants.
We adom our homes with its shapes, its utility and beauty.
-Clay made domestic vessels, made ovens,roof tiles,storage jars,mud coolants,mud wrestling baths, cave painting and wall painting, symbol painting and enchanting animal painting.Painting of elegant frescoes on church like sistine chapel.Used to reduce mortality rate in Balkan war from 65% to 5%.where the soldiers were dying of cholera.
-Today we make cements,paints,adhesives,plumbing,roofingand floor tiles.We also make medicines,chemicals,computers,binding agents, surface of artificial joints, space shuttle,its electrical insulators,filtering components to its protective skin.
-Clay is moulded in making jwellery,in different art and technology form and toys. These is called polymer clay art therapy. It is mainly practised in Singapore.
-Many famous personalities like M.G.Gandhi,V.E.Irons[pioneer/cleansing and supplements],Dr.Teuro Higo, Edgar Cayce,the sleeping prophet,Max Gerson, The Gerson therapy etc. followed and demostrated the value of clay and put forth to world the benefits of clay as therapy.
-Clay find its way into our literature, our religion and our language.
Clay is with mankind more now than ever.
MAN IS MADE FROM THE CLAY OF THE EARTH.
Brief bio of Author : The author is Jigna Chinoy, a medical lab tech.,served a well known Hematology lab and Blood bank for over 14 yrs. Served as a hon. Prof. of general microbiology, practical microbiology and genetics, for 10 yrs at a post graduate level. Volunteered marrow donor registry of India, A yoga trainer and a reader, a student of Adv.Diploma in Counseling and Guidance.