Bentonite clay has been around for centuries as a natural remedy and support, but most people in Western cultures are just learning about everything it can do. Let's learn about the many benefits and uses of bentonite clay and hear about one family's experiences with this very useful natural product!
Nature is just amazing -- and I don't just mean experiencing a walk in the woods.
Every time some ailment pops up (earaches, sore throat, dandruff, etc.), I try to avoid the medicine cabinet and research “old-timey” natural remedies.
One of the first ones we ever learned about was bentonite clay.
How I Discovered Bentonite Clay
How I found out about the many bentonite clay benefits is an interesting story.
We had been trying to get pregnant for 2 years -- with no luck.
So we talked to a holistic medicine doctor about our problem. He told us to kick the garbage out of our diet and start eating fat to help us get pregnant.
He also told us about the many benefits of bentonite clay and told us to immediately buy some Redmond Clay (a brand of bentonite clay) for detox.
So, of ALL the dueling advice and 10,000 health strategies available, our doctor boiled it down to 2:
- Eat bacon and butter
- Eat/drink Bentonite Clay
And it worked! – Little Man was on his way 2 weeks later.
So here’s the scoop:
What is Bentonite Clay?
Sometimes called Montmorillonite, which is a really long and hard to remember name that came about because it was first discovered from an area in France called – you guessed it – Montmorillon.
It’s essentially volcanic ash, which sounds really strange. It’s called “clay” because when added to water, it clumps up and turns into something like what you’d call clay.
Personally, I think it’s more like mud, but that doesn’t work for the marketing big-wigs.
If this all sounds a little strange, realize that cultures have been using this in one form or another for thousands of years. Many European countries regularly consume things similar to bentonite clay to aid digestion. Most animals eat sand or dirt from time to time, and some animals roll around in it for healing.
It's definitely something that's been recently forgotten.
What Does Bentonite Clay Do?
Every day, you’re loading up your body with toxins.
Imagine your body as a wheelbarrow. It starts out beautiful, shiny, and no trace of rust – yet. Every time you come in contact with a toxin, you add a small rock (unless you walk through Chernobyl – then add a boulder).
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap?
Toss in a rock.
Drink tap water?
Eat boxed Mac n Cheese (or other junk foods)?
It’s starting to add up…
A few decades later, you've got a full wheelbarrow that requires a serious deadlift to even get it off the ground. It’s wobbly and hard to keep upright.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably got more rocks in your wheelbarrow than you’d like. You’ll notice things like being sick a lot, easily tired, extra pounds, and even chronic diseases.
But, what if you could start scooping those rocks back out of the wheelbarrow?
That’s bentonite clay.
When added to water, bentonite clay produces a negative electrical charge. That ionic charge attracts heavy metals (have positive charges) and other toxins, binds with them, and then your body expels it all.
How cool is that?!
Sodium Bentonite Clay vs Calcium Bentonite
You might have seen "calcium bentonite" in your search for bentonite clay and wondered what it is.
There are two forms of Bentonite Clay – Sodium Bentonite, and Calcium Bentonite. Calcium Bentonite is used for industrial purposes whereas Sodium Bentonite is used for beauty, body, and topical uses.
Sodium Bentonite (typically known as Bentonite Clay) is extremely absorbent and adsorbent, which means that it swells and draws pollutants into itself (absorbing), while it is also able to attract positively charged substances (such as toxins) to its negatively charged surface (adsorbing). This adsorbing and absorbing are what make Sodium Bentonite (which is also known in some circles as "Swelling Clay" such a popular and powerful substance for so many uses in body care, etc.
Calcium Bentonite, on the other hand, does not have these same properties, so it is not as commonly used in beauty and wellness.
Bentonite Clay Benefits
I’ve mentioned that the greatest of all of the bentonite clay benefits is removing toxins. Here are some other related benefits.
- Balances gut bacteria (friends of our blog know that we consider the state of your gut bacteria to be the #1 indicator of gut health
- Provides minerals that are often lacking in the body such as calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
- Boosts immunity - Kills MRSA, Salmonella, E. Coli, and more.
- Purifies water – Bentonite clay has been shown to truly purify water.
- Supports digestion
- Supports skin – great for sunburns, eczema, rashes, bug bites, cuts, and as is one of many great home remedies for poison ivy, etc. (We know this from personal experience!)
- Overall improvement of health
- Improves oral health - used in a toothpaste, the clay will bind to toxins
- Anti-parasitic - Bentonite removes parasites. Unfortunately pretty much every single living thing on Earth has some sort of parasite living on them. Many of these parasites cause severe health problems. For example the roundworm which is extremely common can cause blindness.
- Removes Oral Toxins - some say that this the case, while others say that there is no evidence for this.
This article talks more about some of the benefits of this amazing substance.
How to Use Bentonite Clay
The best way to take advantage of the many bentonite clay benefits is to drink it. Soak in water for it to gain its electrical charge that turns it into an effective toxin remover. Avoid storing in a metal container or using a metal spoon as that can remove the clay’s ability to produce a charge.
Here’s what we do:
A few times a week, add about 1 tsp of bentonite clay to a small glass of water in the evening. The next morning, drink! There’s a common misconception that you must drink all of the clay – when in fact, the whole glass of water becomes electromagnetically charged. I usually swirl my glass around a few times and drink, but I stop before the sludge comes. It's like the opposite of finishing off a glass of chocolate milk.
Also, don’t eat or take supplements or medications for around 1 hour before or after drinking your concoction.
Another one of many bentonite clay benefits is skin healing! Simply add enough water to make a paste and apply to your skin to heal cuts, eczema, rashes, bug bites, and more.
In our house, it’s been a lifesaver with sunburns. We’ll apply the paste/sludge all over the burned area and then wrap plastic wrap around it so we don’t track it all over. After about an hour, wash it off and be amazed because the redness will be greatly diminished. This has helped us shorten the painful period of a sunburn and remove peeling altogether.
- Take a bath and add about ½ C of clay for overall healthy skin.
- Make a facemask from the clay/water paste and leave for 30 minutes about once per week. I haven't tried this yet but I really should because I do have a little bit of an acne problem.
- Teeth Cleaner: Add a little clay to water and swirl around in your mouth – it remineralizes and whitens teeth.
Warnings About Bentonite Clay
Remember in Lord of the Rings when the elves give the fellowship lembas bread for their travel? (Yeah we're nerdy like that and we're SO EXCITED FOR STAR WARS 7!! Anyway...)
The best part is when they explain that “one small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.”
Then Merry turns to Pippen and asks him how many he’d eaten.
In the same way, bentonite clay actually swells too many times its size, so don't over-consume. Bentonite clay isn't like a Mack Truck that loads up and carries it out. It’s a magnet that attracts things to it… so it gets bigger.
Plus, it’s dense. Sometimes your colon will have a hard time pushing it through (especially if you don’t drink enough water).
This clay is used in sealers, cement, and kitty litter – so the stuff ain't meant for being pushed right out.
In other words, if you start following a plan that tells you to build up to 1/4 cup a day, run away.
- Don't over-consume
- Take 1-2 hours away from foods, medications, and supplements as it might reduce their absorption.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day while taking clay
Please Note: There have been some clay companies that have gotten negative attention due to too much lead in their clay. Technically clay should pull the lead out of the body, but still, it's always best to find a product with less. Also, eating clay can possibly lead to intestinal problems. Please consult with your physician if you have concerns about using clay internally.
Where to Get Bentonite Clay
Now that you know about the many bentonite clay benefits, you'll want to know where to get this amazing product.
Sure, most health stores carry it (Amazon too), but a small bag runs $8 or more (unless you buy in bulk from Amazon). Since you don’t use a lot at a time (except for some topical uses), it’s not emptying your wallet, but…
You can get it waaaaaay cheaper at a farm supply store. They sell it in bulk in different packaging, but it's from the same source and it’s dirt cheap. Farmers often use clay to feed their animals to get rid of parasites inexpensively.
If you plan on any sort of consistent regimen using Bentonite Clay (and you should now that you know about all of the benefits of using bentonite clay), grab the bulk because it’s almost the same price as a teensy bag at Whole Foods Market.
Did you know about these Bentonite Clay Benefits?
What have you used it for?
Erin and Cameron Smith teach people how to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes eating real food,
eliminating toxins, and overcoming chronic illness.