Healing clay benefits backed up by lab study

Muddy Waters

Getting stuck in the mud might actually be therapeutic – if you can just get past that “mud” part.

In the April 2007 HSI Members Alert, Managing Editor Alicia Potee was clearly conflicted in writing about a product called Sacred Healing Clay.

Alicia: “Maybe it’s the name. It just conjures up images of drum circles heavy with incense. Or maybe it’s the idea that rubbing a gooey paste of clay on your body could pull toxins out of your skin not to mention internal organs.”

I have to say, I was a little wary myself. But as Alicia pointed out, the anecdotal records are compelling, with reports of patients who have used clay therapy to lower blood pressure, reduce pain from shingles, overcome sleep problems, boost energy, etc.

Alicia noted that the lack of clinical evidence behind healing clay didn’t exactly relieve her skepticism. “Its own distributor admits he doesn’t understand the clay’s curative properties.”

Researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) might be able to help with that.

Since recorded history

Earlier this month, things got a little down and dirty at the American Chemical Society annual meeting in New Orleans when Shelley E. Haydel and her ASU colleagues presented the results of three clay investigations.

In one of their presentations, Prof. Haydel wrote: “Healing clays have been used for health since recorded history. The method of healing varies from toxin absorption on clay surfaces to supply of nutrients.”

The ASU team collected samples of clay from 20 different locations around the world and analyzed each one to assess its components. Then each clay sample was tested against a variety of bacteria. Results: Three of the samples were shown to kill or significantly inhibit growth of all the bacteria species tested, including salmonella, E. coli, and MSRA.

This success with MSRA is particularly important because MSRA is highly resistant to most antibiotics and easily transmitted by casual contact. It’s also responsible for as much as 20 percent of all infections picked up in hospitals, thousands of which have resulted in deaths.

Prof. Haydel: “Our current research focuses on the potential role of clay metal ions in cell death and the effect of clay minerals on cell membrane integrity. The mechanism of killing is being investigated as a potential design for new antibacterial agents.”

In other words, Haydel and colleagues hope to produce a synthetic drug. Meanwhile, they’ve succeeded in putting some science behind this ancient healing method.

Inside and out

The ASU team didn’t happen to mention the locations where those three antibacterial clay samples were taken. That’s too bad because it would be very helpful to know if one of the samples came from Oregon’s Crater Lake – the source of Sacred Healing Clay.

In Alicia’s HSI report last year, she noted that this clay product contains more than 65 identifiable minerals and trace elements, including iron, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous. Alicia: “These compounds and minerals are essential nutrition for your body’s most basic cellular functions, like collagen repair, cell metabolism, and all of your thoughts and movements.”

When Alicia talked with Michael King, an herbalist who helped launch Sacred Healing Clay, he listed these conditions that clay therapy has been use to treat: fungal overgrowth, food poisoning, poison oak, heavy metal toxicity, skin problems, ulcers, obesity, insect bites, burns, rashes, wounds, bruises, tendonitis, wrinkles, and even broken bones.

Mr. King told Alicia that rubbing a paste made from the clay on a specific part of your body draws out toxins from that area. For instance, Mr. King claims that rubbing it over your liver will eliminate stored toxins, while an application on your jaw can draw infection from your gums. Clay baths (in which a small amount of clay is added to a tub of water) offer mild, full-body detoxification. Eating the clay or drinking a clay and water tonic promotes elimination of toxins and free radicals.

I think I might have to draw the line at actually eating clay. But that’s just me. If you’re interested in giving Sacred Healing Clay a try, you can find more information at pyroclay.com. HSI is not affiliated with this company.

Talk to your doctor before trying clay therapy as a detox method or to address specific health problems.

Every month, HSI members learn about unique alternative health care products in the HSI Members Alert. Find out how you can be among the first to hear about groundbreaking advances that the mainstream media routinely ignores.

“The million-year-old detoxifying miracle dredged up from a prehistoric lava lake” Alicia Potee, HSI Members Alert, April 2007, hsionline.com
“Assessing the Physicochemical Properties of Antibacterial Clay Minerals” Haydel, et al, Paper presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, 4/7/08, acs.org
“Broad-Spectrum Antibacterial Activities of Clay Minerals” Haydel, et al, Paper presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, 4/6/08, acs.org
“Comparing Antibacterial Clay Properties in Search of New Medicinal Applications” Haydel, et al, Paper presented at the American Chemical Society annual meeting, 4/6/08, acs.org
“Mud Harnessed to Fight Infections” HealthDay News, 4/6/08, nlm.nih.gov